With a young team once again, Saugus High girls basketball knows that in-game experience is valuable.
Summer tournaments like the Burroughs summer league are essential.
“They prepare you physically and mentally for what’s going on,” said Saugus coach Jason Conn.
“A lot of these games you’re playing in the super heat in the gyms, and you have so much more that you have to worry about rather than just playing basketball. You have to be mentally ready to play, and the more games (we play), the better the girls are getting.”
The Centurions are building momentum defensively, but need their offense to catch up. Fundamentals are emphasized at practices and players often organize shooting sessions outside of the gym that double as team-bonding activities.
“There’s some times where we practice or even we’ll go out and scrimmage against each other at like the park or whatever,” said Monique Febles after a summer game at Burroughs High last Tuesday. “And play other people, too, that happen to be there.”
Saugus went 13-16 last season with a 4-6 Foothill League record.
Conn said that his team will be mostly sophomores this season with one senior.
Although facing Foothill League players with high-level playoff experience in addition to a variety of other teams in the Burroughs summer league may seem daunting, Febles says she embraces the opportunity to compete.
“I think it’s cool,” said Febles, a rising sophomore. “It’s fun playing with these other older teams. I think it’s a good experience for me. They challenge me and I just learn.”
A drawback of summer tournaments for teams is that due to vacations and other conflicts, the complete team is rarely at a game.
But like Febles, Conn sees opportunity rather than disadvantages.
“You play with what you’ve got, which is good,” he said. “And the girls who are on the lower end get more playing time and that’s what I look forward to.”