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Prep basketball: Adapting early

Defending co-league champions lose to Royal in tourney

Posted: November 29, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 29, 2012 2:00 a.m.

There is no Santa Clarita Valley girls basketball team this season that has to change things up more from the last than Saugus.

So far the results are mixed — an 0-2 record, but improvement made on Wednesday.

The Centurions lost 52-47 Wednesday night at Valencia High in the Valencia High Five Classic to another team adapting to change, Royal of Simi Valley.

“We have to have more even shooters (this season),” said Saugus senior Rachel Eaton. “Last year we had Megan. Now we’re a more even team, more evenly skilled.”

Megan Dawe was last year’s Foothill League and The Signal’s All-Santa Clarita Valley player of the year in leading the Centurions to a co-Foothill League championship.

The 6-foot center was also Saugus’ all-time leading scorer and along with fellow 6-footer Kim Smither, controlled the boards for the Centurions.

Size is now gone at Saugus and the Centurions are learning how to create offense.

It was shortcoming for a while Wednesday, but the Cents started hitting shots in the fourth quarter and turned a contest that was mostly in the Highlanders’ advantage to anybody’s game.

Saugus trailed 47-40 midway through the fourth period, but cut the lead down to two at 48-46 with 1:57 to play on a jumper by newcomer Justice Bennett.

But the next seven possessions ended in turnovers from both sides.

Royal (1-0) eventually changed the flow with two free throws by junior Brooke Zamora to take a 50-46 lead with 33 seconds to play.

Saugus was still in it, but Bennett was blocked from behind by senior Sabrina Wiseman, leading to two more free throws by Zamora.

“I’d like to say we draw it up like that, but it’s good when they get creative,” said Royal first-year head coach Blair Galbreath of the key block.

Galbreath pointed out Wiseman and Zamora for their contributions in the game.

Both players missed last season due to ACL injuries.

Wiseman scored 14 points and made four 3-pointers in the game, despite shooting 5-for-13, and Zamora added 12 points.

Royal graduated its top three scorers from last season’s team.

Saugus has the same story, as its third leading scorer Jordan Oster is now on the bench helping out head coach Kent Eaton.

Early on, Saugus’ defense and effort made up for its lack of ball movement and scoring.

That kept the game tight in each quarter with Royal leading 14-12 after a quarter, 21-20 after two and 35-30 after three.

The Centurions showed promise in a lot of areas — eight different players scored, senior point guard Alexa Ferrante had six steals, Faye Osburn scored 11 points, Rachel Eaton added nine and Bennett, who transferred in from Missouri, led the offensive charge in the fourth with six of her eight points.

“We’re not functioning yet as a unit,” Kent Eaton said. “The defense is aggressive, but not working together. ... (But) we’ve got some ability.”

Saugus lost its opener on Tuesday 60-43 to Knight of Palmdale.

It plays Fairview on Friday in the tournament.


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