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Vikings hang first loss on Saugus

Wright, Hill combine for 44 points as Valencia’s offense overpowers Centurions’ defense in shootout

Posted: January 30, 2009 10:06 p.m.
Updated: January 31, 2009 4:57 a.m.
 
During its run to a perfect first half, Saugus girls basketball built a reputation as a defensive powerhouse.

But the Centurions could not contain Valencia at home Friday.

The Vikings scored at will, posting an 81-70 win as the last undefeated team in the Foothill League fell.

“This is an exciting win for us,” said Valencia sophomore forward Faith Anumba. “We almost got them in our place so it feels really good to get this one.”

Valencia (17-4, 4-2) held a 37-34 lead at the half behind a dozen points from Lindsay Hill and Starla Wright, while Nicole Hicks led Saugus’ push through the first 16 minutes with 19.

“(Valencia) shot the ball extremely well,” said Saugus head coach Kent Eaton. “When they shoot like that they’re gonna win. We knew we were in for a battle, and we got it tonight.”

The second half opened with an 8-1 Valencia run before Saugus (12-9, 5-1) countered with seven straight to pull within three.

However, the Cents could never catch the Vikings in the second half.

The Vikings had their biggest quarter in the fourth, when they outscored Saugus 23-17.

Saugus starters Gabby Conn, Amanda Scholl and Kaylynn Martin all fouled out in the fourth.

“We’ve worked really hard this season,” said Valencia senior forward Kristina Hammel.

“It feels amazing to get a win out of everything this team has put into improving.”

Wright led the way for the Vikings with 26 points, while Hicks poured in 32 for Saugus.

Hill scored 18 points.

“Overall I thought we played solid,” Eaton said. “They just played better than us tonight. They got some easy buckets early, and I think that hurt our defensive psyche.”

Saugus will attempt to revive that psyche at West Ranch on Tuesday, while Valencia takes on Hart.

“We’ve just got to keep what we have going on the court rolling,” Anumba said. “It’s a good win, but we can’t stand still.”

kdamore@the-signal.com

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