At halftime, Canyon High girls basketball’s focus was singular: defense. The Cowboys needed to clamp down on a hot-shooting Hart team that turned open looks into a competitive game through two quarters.
Then Canyon ratcheted up the pressure, holding Hart scoreless for the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter en route to a 59-40 Foothill League win at Hart on Friday.
“They were hitting everything so we couldn’t give them space,” said Canyon coach Jessica Haayer. “We just had to tighten up everywhere.”
Canyon (11-7 overall, 2-0 in Foothill) played with greater intensity after the break, and Hart went ice cold.
The Indians (6-11, 1-1) made 5-of-11 three-point attempts in the first half. They made 1-of-12 after that.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, went on an 8-0 run to build a 40-30 lead midway through the third quarter.
Then they held Hart without a field goal in the fourth to pull out a second straight comfortable win to open league play.
Canyon beat Golden Valley 80-40 earlier this week.
Friday’s difficult first half, in which the Cowboys led by three after one quarter and by two at half, might have been a blessing.
Tuesday won’t be easy. Canyon hosts Valencia.
“We know that we have to prepare ourselves for that game,” said Canyon guard Daisy Cardenas, “so I guess we can use these games to help us get better for Valencia.”
Cardenas finished with 13 points, while Rachel Bowers led the way with 14 points, seven coming in the first quarter.
Canyon’s Talia Taufaasau scored eight.
Nicole Benz led Hart with 13 points, all in the first half.
Sharpshooter Annie Christofferson made back-to-back 3-pointers to give Hart a lead in the first quarter, but she didn’t attempt a shot in the fourth.
Haayer attributed that to the defense of Angelina Puno and praised her team’s collective effort.
Hart coach Terra Palmer was proud of the Indians’ defensive effort in the first half.
“Then the dam broke a little bit,” she said.
Saugus 54, West Ranch 40
Libbie McMahan scored 12 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for the Centurions (9-11, 1-1). Monique Febles added 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Izzy Singer scored 17 points for West Ranch (5-14, 0-2).
Valencia 62, Golden Valley 20
Kayla Konrad had 19 points for Valencia (15-4, 2-0). Serene Tyus led Golden Valley (8-10, 0-2) with 12 points.