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The Day After: And the chase begins

Canyon girls, Valencia boys ones to beat in hoops; Hart boys and Saugus girls pace soccer

Posted: January 29, 2011 11:12 p.m.
Updated: January 29, 2011 11:12 p.m.
 

As the second half of Foothill League play opened for the slate of winter sports, a few things can be pointed out.
Canyon girls basketball has established itself as the team to gun for, as has surprising Hart boys soccer.

The not-so-surprising Saugus girls soccer team is also well in front.

As for boys basketball, the race has only just begun.

At this point, usually the playoff hunt begins to take shape, but with key matchups looming in the coming weeks, nothing is certain.

Basketball

Against most teams, the Canyon girls haven’t even struggled, winning its games by an average of 17.5 points thus far in league play.

But there was one close call for 6-0 Canyon, and that came in a 42-39 victory over Saugus on Jan. 14.

On Tuesday, the two teams meet again, and Saugus has all of a sudden found a bit of a groove in its two-game winning streak.

Saugus’ 6-foot power forward Megan Dawe, who continuously creates matchup problems for opponents, led the Centurions with 16 points in a 56-24 win over Golden Valley, and teammate Crystal Makous added 13.

“We’re starting to hit our stride defensively, and I think the offense usually comes along with that,” said Saugus head coach Kent Eaton.

Canyon took care of business in a 56-45 win over Hart Friday thanks largely to a virtual power play in the final minutes.
The Indians had four players foul out, and with only eight players on the roster, they were forced to play at a 5-4 disadvantage.

“It was ridiculous, it was laughable,” said Hart head coach Zach Koebel. “The girls battled. The score might not have shown that, but they played well. You have to play well against Canyon.”

Of the four players that fouled out, three were starters, including leading scorer Christina Falcone and senior guards Mariah Glasshoff and Madyson Stately.

Melissa Boscarino led the Indians with 16 points in the game and Glasshoff had 14, but the Cowboys had the last laugh.
Tuesday’s marquee game is also Saugus and Canyon on the boys side.

With both team’s winning on Friday, the two are now in a dogfight for second place behind Valencia.

The last time out, Saugus beat Canyon on its home floor 82-74, but Canyon seems to be firing on all cylinders after a surprisingly one-sided victory over Hart, 68-47 on Friday.

But both teams are chasing the Vikings, who have grown accustomed to playing in chippy games.

Friday night’s 67-61 win over West Ranch was perhaps the most fiercely competitive game Valencia has played all year, resulting in a fight that broke out in the fourth quarter and led to five player ejections.

Soccer

It just goes to show, one year can make all the difference.

Based on the boys soccer Foothill League standings just a season ago, its unlikely West Ranch vs. Hart would have been pegged as the game of the week.

With the Indians pulling off yet another stunner in a 2-1 win over Canyon on Friday, it sets up a clash between the top two teams in the league on Tuesday at Hart.

Besides the fact that the three-time defending league-champion Cowboys now fall to 2-2-2, the other surprise is West Ranch, which got past Valencia 2-1 on Friday to improve to 4-1-1, just behind Hart’s Foothill-best 5-1-0.

It’s a slightly different look, given that Canyon and Valencia finished first and second, respectively, last year.

“When we took over the program, we told everyone that we were going to change everything,” said third-year Hart head coach Fausto Arana. “We were going to change the midfield and change the defense. We wanted to change the mentality of the boys.”

Whatever changes have been made are apparently working, and helped the Indians completed the season sweep of Canyon on Friday.

Nico Ferrero and Jose Vidrio scored Hart’s goals while Sammy Reyes and Loy Mueller came up with the assists.

West Ranch avenged its loss to Valencia in the league-opener thanks to an unassisted goal by Chris Tumasone in the second half Friday to win it. Lucas Reilly also scored for the Wildcats’ in the first half.

So the stage is set. Tuesday’s matchup will feature two experienced teams in a rematch with possible title implications.
Last time out, West Ranch won 2-1, giving Hart its only loss in Foothill play this season.

“We didn’t really play our game plan that I had in mind for Hart because the guys kind of resisted it,” said West Ranch head coach Mo Burgess of the Jan. 14 matchup. “The result was fine, I just don’t think we can do it twice in a row doing and expect the same thing.”

He also mentioned that Hart was playing without its leading scorer Uriel Rodriguez in the game.

The leader on the girls side isn’t so much of a shock.

Saugus remained a perfect 6-0-0 in league play by shutting out Golden Valley 3-0.

The Centurions were aided by two goals from Nicole Penick and one by Stacy Atwater in the victory.
After the frontrunner though, the fight begins.

Valencia and Hart are separated by just one point in the standings for second place, which is currently held by Valencia.
Hart couldn’t get past a scrappy Canyon team on Friday, settling for a 1-1 draw.

Canyon, on the other hand, feels like it’s ready to make a run in the second half of league play.

“It’s good as far as looking at the second round of games because we’ve proven we can play with all these teams,” said Canyon head coach Andy Pringle. “I don’t think anyone really scares us. It’s just a matter of turning some of those one-goal losses into ties, and turning some of those ties into wins.”

Canyon’s goal was headed in by Allison White in the game, and Devon Goff was in on the assist.

Hart’s first-half goal was scored by Destinney Duron and assisted by Katie Trevino.

“We were playing quite safe and making sure we didn’t have a lot of goals scored on us,” Pringle said of the first half of the Foothill season. “Now, we’ve put ourselves in a situation where we need to get a few wins here in the second half.”

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