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Maybe Next Time

Posted: February 2, 2008 6:59 a.m.
Updated: April 4, 2008 2:02 a.m.
It probably feels like a curse.

Fifty-seconds away from its student-section joining them for a midcourt celebration Fridaya, the Cowboys of the Canyon High girls basketball team were on the cusp of their first win over league rival Hart in what is believed to be 35 years.
But the streak lives on.
Hart center Megan Ford rebounded a Hart miss and put it back for the game-tying score with 38 seconds to play and then senior Kelli Lewis hit a free throw with 7.6 seconds remaining as the Indians survived blowing a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and 35 turnovers to win 46-45.
Hart (16-8, 7-1) is now one win or one Saugus loss away from claiming at least a share of its seventh straight Foothill League title -something Canyon (13-11, 4-3) was trying to get its first of since its last win over Hart.
Ford's 27 points and 13 rebounds made it possible. Lewis' free throw, sunk against the wishes of a howling, foot-stomping Cowboys crowd, was the deal-sealer.
"All I kept thinking is that if I didn't hit at least one free throw, I'd be letting so many people down," said Lewis, who has been playing out her senior season through a torn ACL. "I'd be letting myself down, my teammates, the fans, Hart. We'd be in tears right now. This is Hart basketball. I don't want to be the one who blows that."
Canyon couldn't get off a rebuttal.
After Lewis missed her second attempt, the Cowboys pulled down the rebound and sent an outlet a pass to guard Angelica Sahagun, who led the Cowboys with 17 points.
She drove the baseline, forced contact, and fell with the ball squirting lose without Canyon getting off a shot.
Cowboys coach Stan Delus stood at midcourt arguing with a referee over what he thought was a foul.
The call never came.
"I kept waiting for the buzzer," Lewis said. "'Come on, buzz, buzz, buzz!' When it finally did, I just grabbed Megan and we had the longest hug in the history of all hugs."
Delus declined to talk about the play after the game.
"Hart is a very good team and they closed out the game the way champions know how to finish," was his lone comment.
What hurt Canyon more than anything was Ford.
The center outscored the Cowboys 17-16 all by herself in the game's opening first half. Despite double teams and foul trouble against her, she was dominant.
"I don't know what else to say about her anymore - she's Megan," said Hart first-year head coach Zach Koebel. "That's what she does for us. This year, I think she's proven she belongs in the same exact category with the Taylor Lilleys, the Ashlee Trebilcocks, all of them."
It could have been a comfortable win if Hart had the ability to find the center in the post more consistently.
The Indians had 35 turnovers including 14 in the first quarter as setting up a half-court offense was an issue.
"We got frazzled by them," Ford said.
In the fourth quarter, the Cowboys' full-court press willed them back into the game. Having trailed by 13 points at halftime and by 10 heading into the final frame, Canyon started the quarter with a 9-0 turnover-induced surge.
"My girls almost put me in my grave," Koebel said.
A layup by Cowboys freshman Layana White, who scored 12 points with 6:05 remaining cut Hart's lead to 40-39. With 3:52 to play another White basket gave Canyon its first lead since the opening quarter, at 43-42.
Momentum was Canyon's.
"I was very, very worried," Ford said.
On a layup by Brooke Lemar with 1:26 remaining, the Cowboys had a two-point lead at 45-43 and after a miss by Hart's Haley Hammond on Hart's ensuing possession, Canyon pushed ahead for a fastbreak attempt.
Then in swooped Ford with the steal.
The rest is part of 35 years and counting of history.


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