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Not so fast Saugus; Canyon spoils bid for title

Canyon delays a Centurions league-title party

Posted: February 11, 2009 2:18 a.m.
Updated: February 11, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 

Hold that thought.

The Saugus girls basketball team was hoping to win the Foothill League title on its home floor Tuesday, but Canyon had other ideas.

The Cowboys (6-19, 5-4) rolled into Saugus and put the defensive clamps on the first-place Centurions (14-11, 7-2) while using an attacking offense to take out the Foothill League leaders 60-53 Tuesday night.

With Valencia’s 72-39 victory over Golden Valley Tuesday, the two teams are now tied for the league lead with one game for each to play on Thursday.

“We wanted to keep them on their heels heading into the game and attack,” said Canyon interim head coach Todd Jackson. “Just attack and get calls and keep attacking.”

With that mentality, the Cowboys’ defense started the attack, while the transition game finished.

In the first quarter, Canyon’s trapping full-court pressure forced seven Saugus turnovers. With the turnovers leading to easy buckets, Canyon jumped out to a 13-8 lead at the end of one period.

“We just came out strong and kept pushing,” said Canyon’s Adrianna Dent. “We wanted to play as if it was our last game, our championship game, and push it all game long.”

The second quarter was more of the same and Canyon went into the break with a 23-19 lead.

After a Layana White layup gave Canyon a 25-19 lead to start the third frame, Saugus’ leading scorer Gabrielle Conn picked up her fourth foul, sending her to the bench and seemingly giving the momentum all to the Cowboys.

However, the Cents fought back and grabbed the lead.

They went up 30-27, but Canyon answered right back with a 10-2 run led by Dent and Kayla Michel that put Canyon up 37-32 with 28 seconds left in the third quarter.

Brooke Lemar would later end the third period with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to put Canyon up 40-33 heading into the final frame.

“We made some dumb fouls and at that point you’re playing catch-up,” said Saugus head coach Kent Eaton. “And trying to do that against a very good Canyon team is hard.”

Saugus got it close in the final quarter, but Canyon salted the game away at the free-throw line.

“They just play hard every game,” Jackson said of his team. “If we have to play spoiler in league then we will play spoiler, but the girls just want to play and have fun every game.”

Eaton pointed back to the first quarter as a turning point.

“It was a good battle and Canyon came out did what they wanted to do,” Eaton said. “We did what we wanted to do, but we had a ton of turnovers in the first quarter and that put us in a hole.”

Saugus was led in scoring by Nicole Hicks with 12 points, while Dent scored 13 to lead the Cowboys.

Saugus will play Hart on Thursday for a second chance at the league title, while Canyon hosts Valencia.

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