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The Day After: Intrigue on opening day

Canyon boys hoops, among other teams, stole headlines in league openers

Posted: January 13, 2010 9:30 p.m.
Updated: January 14, 2010 4:30 a.m.
Golden Valley forward Jake Martin (21) and Canyon forward Paul Nnaoji have to be separated following a scrum Tuesday evening at Canyon. Golden Valley forward Jake Martin (21) and Canyon forward Paul Nnaoji have to be separated following a scrum Tuesday evening at Canyon.
Golden Valley forward Jake Martin (21) and Canyon forward Paul Nnaoji have to be separated following a scrum Tuesday evening at Canyon.

Judgments shouldn’t be made by just one game, but the opening day of the Foothill League winter season definitely had its share of interesting moments.

At the top has to be Canyon boys basketball’s win over defending Foothill League champion Golden Valley.

The 77-70 Cowboys victory was a surprise.

But to who?

Canyon showed in the pre-league season that it has depth and proved on Tuesday night that it has multiple scoring options with its share of slashers and shooters.

Though the bulk of the points, actually 73 of 77 points, came from Brian Nnaoji, Wesley Bartole, Kris Quant and Tere Adams, Canyon had solid performances all around.

Golden Valley is just not as deep as it was last season.

It wasn’t just woes at the free-throw line that did in the Grizzlies. It was also woes from all over the court as Golden Valley had spurts of ineffective shooting.

Nonetheless, the Grizzlies are still contenders for the Foothill League title.

One team that has had little preseason mention was Saugus.

Should the Centurions be mentioned with the league’s elite?

“They should be,” said Saugus head coach Derek Ballard of his team. “But I’m fine with the way it is.”

The Centurions have jumped out to a 13-4 start and defeated West Ranch 57-54 on Tuesday night.

Saugus got double-figure scoring from three players — Jeremy Gatewood’s 19, Brad Buchignani’s 14 and Jawhar Purdy’s 10.  

Ballard said a size advantage inside with 6-foot-6-inch Joey Fredrick and 6-foot-5-inch Jon Grisanti helped clog the middle for Saugus on Tuesday.

Saugus meets Golden Valley at Golden Valley on Friday, so that game could give us a better gauge of both teams.

“It’s a game that’s probably the toughest one,” Ballard said.

Canyon, meanwhile, will play at Hart, which lost 65-47 to Valencia on Tuesday.

Valencia will host West Ranch.

Boys Soccer
There were two scores that stuck out in boys soccer from Tuesday.

West Ranch defeated Saugus 2-0 and Valencia beat Hart 4-1.

The intriguing things about those scores? It was the first time West Ranch’s boys soccer team had ever beaten Saugus and how Valencia blew out Hart.

The Wildcats (5-6), based off of injuries and record, were the underdog going in against the Centurions (9-3-3), but goals from Evan Stevens and Matt Duben proved to be the difference in a 2-0 win.

Valencia and Hart usually play close games, but two goals from Valencia’s Adam Eisen and scores from Andrew Fowble and Jason Kent gave the Vikings a big cushion.

“It’s interesting because we played really well as a team and imposed our will on Hart,” said Valencia head coach Tony Scalercio. “My star players didn’t necessarily have their best game, but as a team we had a great game. It showed a lot how the boys pulled together. Even the guys off the bench. There was no letdown.”

Scalercio described his team as being up and down during the pre-league season, as winning games wasn’t as much of an emphasis.

It was Tuesday and Valencia responded.

Valencia travels to West Ranch for a game on Friday.

Canyon, which beat Golden Valley 4-1 on Tuesday (thanks to two goals from Sipriano Vigil and one each by Martin Cornelis and Jorge Navarro), will play at Hart on Friday.

Golden Valley hosts Saugus.

Girls Basketball
On paper, it appeared that Tuesday’s matchup between Hart and Valencia would be an easy game to call.

After all, the Indians are inexperienced compared to the Vikings.

In fact, late in the game Hart featured a lineup of three juniors, a sophomore and a freshman, while had fielded four seniors.

Through three quarters, however, Hart turned the tables and appeared poised to upset Valencia.

But that’s when the Vikings cashed in on their returning talent.

Valencia won thanks to 23 fourth quarter-points, including 11 from Jenny Lentz and six from Faith Anumba, and stellar defense from Lindsey Hill.

The victory keeps the Vikings firmly in the discussion of league title contenders, alongside Canyon and West Ranch, which both scored wins on Tuesday.

Canyon, led by the duo of Brooke LeMar and Adriana Dent, routed Golden Valley 93-16.

LeMar had 21 points and Dent finished with 19.

The Wildcats got another good performance from Kaylyn Tarver and a solid 11 points from Erin Ruiz to beat Saugus 53-46.

Tarver did everything imaginable in the team’s league opener, racking up 14 points, six rebounds, five steals and five blocks.
But no other team has been more hurt by graduating talent than Saugus, which lost Gabrielle Conn and Nicole Hicks.

It was evident on Tuesday as the team was unable to pull out a win despite 13 points apiece from Kaylynn Martin and Bayley Mizelle and 12 from Megan Dawe.

With only three rostered seniors and one junior, Saugus is very young and will play at Golden Valley on Friday, while Valencia hosts West Ranch and Canyon plays at Hart.

Girls Soccer
Saugus showed why it is the reigning CIF-Southern Section Division II champion on Tuesday.

With a dynamic display of offensive creativity, the Centurions earned a 2-0 win over a West Ranch team that appeared much improved from a year ago.

The Wildcats’ defense was able to contain Saugus’ stars in the first half, but found itself down 1-0 at halftime after a penalty-kick goal.

In the second half, the Centurions began to solve West Ranch’s back line and Jamie Molacek scored the second and final goal.

But don’t discredit the Wildcats’ play as the team hung with their heavily favored opponent.

At the end of the day, though, Saugus’ depth, experience and onslaught of shots was simply too much.

However, Hart may have made even more waves on opening day.

Four place a year ago, the Indians dismantled Valencia, last season’s co-Foothill League champions, with a 4-1 outburst at Hart High, led by two goals from junior Katie Trevino.

“We hope we are sending out a message,” said Indians head coach Mike Gomez. “We are here and we are ready to go.”

Gomez stressed creativity early in the season, and Tuesday the team made sure to put it into action.

But that creativity wasn’t limited to the players. Gomez himself shuffled the lineup, moving Trevino from forward to midfield and defender Vanessa Souisa from the back to the midfield.

Given Valencia’s potent offense, the play of Hart’s defense should not go unnoticed.

Led by senior Megan Indermill and the goalkeeping of Kayce Perkins, the Indians held the Vikings at bay until late in the game.

Gomez said that Indermill, his lone captain, addressed the team at halftime.

“I like that Megan stood up and basically talked to the team as whole and said, ‘I don’t want to come in second place. I want to come out and be first. I want to win league,’” Gomez said.

Hart gets a crack at the other defending co-league champion on Friday when the Indians travel to play Canyon.

The Cowboys also got off to a hot start with a 3-1 victory over Golden Valley, thanks to two goals from Katie Dillon and a goal and an assist from Malaya Cabrera.

Saugus will host Golden Valley and West Ranch will play at Valencia on Friday.



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