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Valencia slashes Saugus

• Eaton steps forward as new head coach of Centurions

Posted: June 29, 2008 12:11 a.m.
Updated: August 30, 2008 5:02 a.m.

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With the fall season just a few months away, Saugus and Valencia girls varsity basketball teams are already making preparations for what could be a very competitive season in the Foothill League.

The Vikings and the Centurions squads battled it out in the Saugus Summer Tournament on Saturday.

Valencia defeated Saugus in the consolation semifinals, 73-47.

The Centurions squad, which finished atop the league last season (21-7, 8-2), are under new leadership.

Kent Eaton, who is stepping in as first year coach of the girls varsity team, is the successor to Eric Olsson.

Eaton has been with the Saugus program for 12 years, having coached freshman and junior varsity boys basketball and most recently assisting Jeff Hallman with the boys varsity team last season.

Despite Saturday's 26-point loss, Eaton said come fall Saugus will be contenders for league title again.

Currently the Centurions are without starting center and All-Foothill League player Gabby Conn.

Conn is out until October recovering from knee surgery.

"When we get all of our players back and healthy it will be a different game out there," Eaton said. "The league's going to be good, we're tight all the way around."

Ventura beat Oxnard, 51-43, to advance to today's 5:30 p.m. championship game against Inglewood, who was a 48-34 winner over Buena on Saturday.

Saugus will be led by senior-to-be Nicole Hicks.

Hicks scored 11 points for the Centurions in Saturday's game and along with Conn, was named an All-Foothill League player. Along with Hicks in the front court will be Amanda Scholl and Kaylynn Martin. Scholl led Saugus scorers on Saturday with 18 points.

Conn and Kaitlyn Smither will hold down the Centurions' back court.

The Vikings team, on the other hand, have nine returning players from last season.

Valencia finished tied for third in league with Canyon last year and come fall Vikings head coach Jerry Mike said he is expecting a lot from his seasoned varsity squad.

"There's a lot of talent and a lot of experience so we have high expectations," he said.

In Saturday's game the Vikings were led by junior-to-be Jenny Lentz.

The 5-foot-9 guard scored a team high 23 points, bringing down four boards.

Returning junior-to-be point guard Lindsey Hill had 12 points and six assists.

The tandem of Lentz and Hill will be a considerable part of the Centurions team this fall.

"Jenny's a pull-up jump shooter and Lindsey's been getting her the ball," Mike said. They ‘re doing a good job at getting each other the ball in open spots."

The Vikings were led by a cast of underclassmen in the backcourt.

Sophomores-to-be Lauren Spargo had a team high seven rebounds and four points while Starla Wright finished with six points.

The Vikings will face Vista Point in the consolation finals today.

Meanwhile, Eaton said he is anxious for his debut season. He said his toughest challenge will be the the change in dynamic of coaching a girls squad, nonetheless, he welcomes it.

"It's going to be a fun year."

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