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Foothill League boys basketball: Canyon splits from Saugus

Cowboys now alone in second place, set to battle Valencia

Posted: February 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 2, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Canyon’s Clay Kasdorf (55) shoots between Saugus defenders Mitch Davis, left, and David Reynoso on Tuesday at Saugus.

Canyon boys basketball hadn’t forgotten what happened just over two weeks ago.

It had to watch Saugus celebrate after beating Canyon on its home floor.

In a reversal of fortune, it was a jubilant group of Cowboys fans filling center court after a convincing 67-45 win over the Centurions Tuesday night at Saugus High.

Canyon moved into second place outright in the Foothill League with the win, breaking a tie with Saugus.

Yet Cowboys head coach Chad Phillips said his thoughts were on his team’s 82-74 loss to Saugus back on Jan. 14, and the difference this time around was defense.

“We executed very well,” Phillips said. “I have to give credit to my defensive coordinator Sean DeLong. He put in an excellent defensive game plan, and the difference was, the boys sold out to it this time.”

Saugus was held to its lowest point total of the season and was limited to 24 percent shooting.

All this despite the Centurions (17-7, 4-3) leading 14-11 after one quarter of play thanks to a faster pace which appeared to catch Canyon (17-6, 5-2) off guard.

Before long, Canyon made the adjustment, and began to beat Saugus at its own game.

“What it comes down to is Canyon played tough, physical defense, and it got us out of our rhythm,” said Saugus head coach Derek Ballard. “And we decided not to fight back I guess.”

By the midpoint of the second quarter, Saugus’ lead had vanished and Canyon forward Clay Kasdorf was having his way with the Centurions defense, scoring 11 of his game-high 25 points in the frame.

Many of the points were scored as a result of forced turnovers.

“We didn’t want to play a transition game, but we were able to get a few transition points,” Phillips said.

The Cowboys finished the quarter on a 13-4 run to go into halftime up 29-22.

From there, it was just a matter of wearing away at Saugus with strong rebounding and forcing tough shots.

“We press the ball very well,” said Canyon center Jarrett Roberts, who finished with 10 points and was a force on the glass. “That’s what we do. We always stress defense.”

As the Centurions continued to miss shots, the Cowboys built up a 52-32 lead by the end of the third quarter.

Saugus guard Brad Buchignani scored a team-high 15 points, but struggled in the second half, scoring just two after the break.

Centurion Jeremy Gatewood also had a tough night, going 3-for-13 on his way to eight points.

“We got caught up in ourselves,” Ballard said. “We thought we were better than we were, and we decided not to box out.”

Coley Apsay added 16 points for the Cowboys, who have set up a meeting between the league’s top two teams when they host Valencia on Friday.

“We’re going to play just as hard as we always do,” Roberts said. “We play every team the same way.”


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