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CIF basketball: Saugus coasts

Cents pick up offense to beat Claremont

Posted: February 19, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 19, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Saugus High’s McKayla Cook (21) pulls down a rebound against Claremont High School defenders Sharon Stannislaus, left, and Reena Williams at Saugus High on Saturday.

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The simplest plan can often be the most effective.

In the case of Saugus girls basketball, that meant relying on its usual go-to players and cashing in on a clear height advantage over the opposing Claremont Wolfpack.

The strategy went off without a hitch, and the Centurions beat Claremont 57-29 in Saturday night’s first-round CIF-Southern Section Division IIA playoff game on Saturday night.

“It’s nice to get an easy first-round game,” said Saugus head coach Kent Eaton. “It helps them build confidence and it lets them know what it’s like.”

Megan Dawe dropped in 24 points to lead Saugus (19-9), which led the entire way despite a somewhat slow start offensively.

Claremont’s start was even slower.

The Wolfpack (7-19) scored one point in the first quarter and shot 0-for-12 from the floor, resulting an a 13-1 Saugus lead.
At the 3:14 mark of the first, Saugus led 3-1, but Jordan Oster sparked the offense by sinking 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions late in the frame.

She buried three shots from long range in the opening quarter, which represented nine of her 13 points in the contest.

“We definitely wanted to come out strong,” Dawe said. “We wanted to come out quick in the first quarter and make it — I don’t want to say easier on us — but it helped us relax.”

The Centurions led 15-1 before Claremont’s Reena Williams made her team’s first basket of the night at the 6:38 mark of the second.

From there, Claremont tried to speed up the tempo and drive the ball inside to put pressure on Saugus’ defense.

Though they did get to the foul line a lot, the Wolfpack made just 12-of-27 free-throw attempts.

“They shot well coming out of the gate and really negated what we were trying to do to them,” said Claremont head coach Darryl Kennedy.

A comeback attempt was made even more difficult by Dawe’s post play, both as a scorer and a rebounder.

She scored 12 of her points in the second quarter as Claremont simply couldn’t match up with the 6-foot center.

“We were trying to pick up the pace on them, but that big, tall girl was too good,” Kennedy said of Dawe.

The lead was up to 29-11 at halftime, and it didn’t get much closer after that.

Saugus dominated the rebounding and played stifling defense that limited Claremont to 15 percent shooting.

“There was nothing unexpected,” Eaton said. “(Claremont) was a scrappy team, they came out and wanted to play. They were young and hats off to them.”

Kayleigh Lau scored six points off bench for the Centurions in the second half.

In the second round, Saugus will travel to play either Citrus Hill or Norco.

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