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The Day After hoops: Stage set for an upset?

Many teams still looking to shuffle up the standings

Posted: January 22, 2011 11:19 p.m.
Updated: January 22, 2011 11:19 p.m.
 

So far, Canyon girls basketball has only had one close call.

Oddly enough, that was against Saugus, which sits at fifth place in the Foothill League for the time being.
Perhaps it’s not as odd as it seems.

After falling 57-49 to Valencia on Friday, the Centurions dropped to 1-3 in the league, but all three losses have been by single digits.

That includes a 42-39 loss to league-leading Canyon a week earlier.

“We’re just forgetting how to finish, and we’ve got to find a way to put points on the board in the fourth quarter,” said Saugus head coach Kent Eaton.

Centurions power forward Megan Dawe posted 16 points and 10 rebounds in Friday’s loss, which was nothing unusual for the 6-foot junior.

The difference is that teams have been heavily favoring Dawe on defense, especially down the stretch, which puts the brunt of the pressure on the rest of the team.

“We have some youth still,” Eaton said. “I start four juniors and a senior. I bring a freshman and sophomore off the bench. As that youth gains confidence and experience, we’re going to get better and better.”

The Centurions will get a good chance to get back in the thick of things in Tuesday’s meeting with West Ranch.
Another reason Saugus had trouble holding off Valencia in the second half was the play of Lauren Spargo and Kalia Summerlin, who combined for 34 points in the game.

Spargo had 22 of her own along with six rebounds to help the Vikings in crunch time.

Valencia could have its hands full on Tuesday against the suddenly-streaking Hart.

After two tough losses to open league play, the Indians have evened things out with back-to-back wins, the most recent being an 86-23 rout of Golden Valley on Friday.

“We’ve been starting to focus a lot more on the defensive end,” said Hart head coach Zach Koebel of the turnaround. “I felt like our defense let us down a little bit in the Canyon and West Ranch games (last week).”

Christina Falcone led the Indians with 21 points in the game, and was one of four players on the team to reach double figures.

But the key as the season goes on won’t be on the offensive end.

“We’ve been able to go on some big scoring runs at the end of games to kind of put teams away,” Koebel said. “And even though that’s a more exciting way to win games, that’s just not the way to compete in the Foothill League or the playoffs or beyond.”

The cluster of boys teams, on the other hand, was just given a nice shake-up on Friday.

Coming off an emotional 50-47 win at Valencia on Tuesday, Canyon was turned around in a 60-59 loss to West Ranch.
The Wildcats, who couldn’t buy a win in their first two games, have found themselves right in the middle of a bunch of evenly-matched Foothill teams.

The Cowboys are right there with them, having had tough time matching up with West Ranch’s 6-foot-6 forward Ako Kaluna.

In addition to sinking the game-winning free throws in the final seconds, Kaluna put up 21 points and 11 rebounds.

But it’s Valencia and Hart which have emerged at the top of the standings for the time being.

A big reason for the Vikings’ ascent is the fact that its top player, Lonnie Jackson, is returning to full health from his ankle injury.

Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, is the team tied with Valencia at 3-1 in the league — Hart.

The Indians didn’t win a single league game last season, but are off to a hot start thanks to a balanced attack.

That attack was led by center John Green, who had 17 points and eight rebounds in Friday night’s 58-45 win over Golden Valley. Hart is also getting plenty of production from guard Roman Delgado, who had 11 points in the game, and forward Cole Preston, who had 14 points.

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