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Guards get Canyon going

Dent and LeMar combine to score 36 points and fluster Saugus offense

Posted: January 19, 2010 10:10 p.m.
Updated: January 20, 2010 4:30 a.m.
Canyon’s Alexus Bryant (3) drives to the basket in the first half Tuesday as Saugus’ Jordan Oster guards. Canyon’s Alexus Bryant (3) drives to the basket in the first half Tuesday as Saugus’ Jordan Oster guards.
Canyon’s Alexus Bryant (3) drives to the basket in the first half Tuesday as Saugus’ Jordan Oster guards.

Facing one of the Foothill League’s best frontcourts, the Canyon girls basketball team needed everything its backcourt could muster.

Canyon guards Adriana Dent and Brooke LeMar combined for 36 points and 13 steals in a 58-49 win at Saugus High on Tuesday.

More importantly, the pair were a factor in Saugus’ 25 turnovers in a game that seemed dictated by the Cowboys’ defense.

Canyon (14-5, 3-0) held Saugus (6-14, 1-2) to 18 points in the first half, 12 on free throws, before a third-quarter surge put the Centurions back in the picture.

“It seemed to work in the first half,” said Canyon head coach Chuck Johns of his team’s defense. “I don’t know what happened in the second.”

Dent’s fourth steal led to a LeMar layup and then a timeout by Saugus head coach Kent Eaton four minutes into the first quarter with Saugus trailing 9-0.

The Cowboys never looked back and constantly pressured the Centurions into passes they couldn’t make and shots they didn’t want to take. Saugus only managed one field goal in the first frame.

“We always want to start off with a lot of pressure on the ball,” LeMar says, “That’s what we do.”

Ten consecutive fastbreak points by Canyon left Eaton calling another timeout with two minutes left in the first quarter trailing 15-4 to Canyon.

“We made a few mistakes in the backcourt and it cost us,” Eaton said. “We didn’t keep our composure, and they’re talented athletes.”

Saugus was able to compete with the Cowboys in a halfcourt set, thanks to the rebounding dominance of Saugus center Megan Dawe and forward Kim Smither. Dawe scored six points and grabbed nine rebounds, and Smither added 13 rebounds.

However, Canyon’s pressure was making it difficult for the Centurions to push the ball past halfcourt.

Senior forward Kaylynn Martin led the Centurions in scoring with 17 points and Smither added 15 more.

The Centurions’ defense also earned several turnovers of its own, including three separate shot-clock violations.

“We did a much better job defensively in the second half,” Eaton said. “We were able to do what we needed to. Once we calmed down we were in good shape.”

But by then, it was almost too late.

Saugus’ 20-point outburst in the third quarter brought the Centurions to within 40-38 at the start of the fourth.

Yet everything Saugus’ defense accomplished was undone by inefficiency at the other end.

After a missed free throw by LeMar, Canyon’s Alexus Bryant got a big rebound and putback to put Canyon up by three. A LeMar steal led to another Bryant layup that pushed Canyon’s lead back to 49-40 before Eaton called a timeout halfway through the fourth quarter.

Bryant scored eight in the fourth quarter to help quell the Centurions’ momentum.

“(Bryant) did a great job,” Johns said. “That’s what we needed — good players to step up and make big plays.”

LeMar helped seal the win by hitting five out of six free throws in the final 40 seconds to make the final score.



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