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Summer girls hoops: A new look for the summer

Valencia beats Saugus in its own tourney

Posted: June 25, 2010 9:52 p.m.
Updated: June 26, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Saugus’ Kim Smither (22) shoots as Valencia’s Kalie Summerlin (23) and Aman Bilg (21) defend at Saugus High School on Friday during the Saugus Sensation tournament.

A new-look Valencia girls basketball team dealt Saugus a 46-41 loss in its own Saugus Sensation girls basketball tournament on Friday.

Missing their top two players, seniors-to-be Faith Anumba and Lauren Spargo, and after graduating seven seniors the Vikings used an 11-0 second-half run to put Saugus away.

"Losing so many seniors, we're still having girls try out for the varsity team," said Valencia head coach Jerry Mike. "We're still figuring things out. We want to win, but that's not the most important thing."

The Vikings got nine points each from junior-to-be Ashley Pinsker and sophomore-to-be Kalia Summerlin. Mike saw the balance as a good thing.

"That's how we need to be successful," Mike said. "It's kind of a good thing and a bad thing, because when we're missing key players like Faith and Lauren, people have to step up."

Anumba and Spargo were unavailable for the game.

Saugus trailed 20-18 at the first half and tied the game early in the second, but could not recover from the Viking run midway through the final half.

"Valencia shot incredibly well and played good defense," said Saugus head coach Kent Eaton. "I think they played better team basketball than when they have their best players."

Even in the loss, Saugus showed signs of turning around last season's 3-7 Foothill League record.

After struggling through the first half, failing to convert a field goal, Saugus junior forward Megan Dawe exploded for 12 points in the second half, keeping the Cents in the game. Dawe finished with a game-high 14 points.

"She's played six games in the past 24 hours so she was having a little bit of trouble," Eaton said of Dawe. "But she's going to be tough. Megan and Kim (Smither), are the top centers in the Foothill League and I have them both."

Smither had a rough game offensively, with only two points, but the pair of 6-footers were a force on the defensive end and on the boards.

"It's hard dealing with both of them," Mike said. "Megan is strong and they're both tall. When they're in the zone, it's not easy."

Saugus also got a lift from incoming freshman Natalie Valenzuela, who had seven points and appeared to be ready to play at the varsity level, with the shooting touch and ball-handling of a guard, to go along with the length of a forward.

"She's coming on strong and is playing really well," Eaton said. "She's breaking into a pretty much intact team and may break into a starting spot. But she's going to have to earn it."




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