Sometimes, on days when there is a softball game happening at the same time as basketball practice, Saugus girls basketball coach Jason Conn will stop practice. He’ll accompany his team to the softball field and together, they’ll watch Libbie McMahan, who plays softball and basketball, and support the softball team in general.
“All levels will go outside and we’ll watch the softball team play,” Conn said. “I want to support other athletes who play not only girls basketball but other sports. We get out there and support them. It’s fun.”
Centurions softball coach Julie Archer echoed that sentiment thinks that the mutual support extends beyond the athletes and into the coaching staff as well.
“Going to football games, basketball games, even softball,” Archer said. “Everybody wants every program to succeed and we do a lot of supporting each other. Same thing with coaches … we all are on the same page and we want our athletic department as a whole to get stronger.”
The result has been a well-rounded athletics program and the 2017-18 prep sports year is evidence of that. Plenty of veterans made their mark as a Centurion and a few fresh faces came crashing into the picture, too.
Saugus distance runner Mariah Castillo turned heads on nearly a weekly basis with accomplishments like placing third at the Nike Cross Nationals or winning the 1,600-meter race at the Brooks PR Invitational. Over the course of the track and field season, she broke program records in the 800; 1,200; 1,600 and 3,200 events.
The boys and girls cross country teams upheld the standard of success. The girls reached the CIF state championship podium for the 12th straight year, placing second. The boys placed seventh at the state level.
The football team charged into the CIF-SS Division 6 playoffs and reached the semifinals. Boys basketball had only three Foothill League losses on the season and earned a postseason bid, but lost in the first round.
Girls soccer finished third in the Foothill League after a league season that ended with a scoreless, quadruple-overtime game against Hart.
First-year head coach Carl Grissom and the Saugus baseball team finished fourth in a competitive Foothill League. The softball team ranked third in league play and went to the Division 1 tournament behind a team that featured just three seniors.
“This last season was probably my hardest working team and I think it’s because we had so much talent,” said Archer. “Everyone was fighting for a spot. But also they’re all really sweet girls. It was one of our best teams chemistry wise.”
Another team that thrived on a youthful roster was girls basketball. The Cents were the last team standing in the Foothill League, making it all the way to the CIF-SS Division 3A semifinals where they fell to Beverly Hills. They also received a bid in the CIF Division 3 state tournament, but lost in the first round.
It was the longest postseason run in Saugus girls basketball history – and the Cents aren’t done yet.
“It just gave us confidence that we’re growing into an elite team,” Conn said of the run. “That’s what it showed. Wow, we defeated these teams and we went on the road and had to beat two really strong teams. The girls gained a lot of confidence that they could really compete.”
With the combination of inspiration from veteran athletes and the determination of upcoming talent, Saugus is willing and ready for the future.
“Everybody is extremely competitive,” Conn said. “The Saugus sports doesn’t take a back seat to anybody. All the teams want to win.”
Female Athlete of the Year (As selected by the school)
Breaking records throughout her senior season, Castillo set new program bests in the 800-meter, 1,200, 1,600 and 3,200 runs. Qualifying for the CIF state finals for the first time in her prep career, Castillo did not finish like she wanted, but used the motivation to set a new Foothill League record at the Brooks PR Invitational with a time of 4:41.40 in the 1,600.
Male Athlete of the Year (As selected by the school)
In his sophomore campaign, McIntyre led the Centurions to a 20-win season, which got them into the CIF Southern Section Division 2A playoffs. Leading the Cents to a second-place finish in the Foothill League, McIntyre averaged 24.5 points per game, 6.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists on during the 2017-2018 season.
Five most memorable teams
In its 2017-18 season, Cent’s boys basketball went 20-8 overall and 8-3 in the Foothill League. The squad racked up 810 league points on the season and clinched a postseason berth. Saugus dropped the first round game to Muir in the playoffs.
The girls basketball team put Saugus on the map with three big wins in the CIF-SS Division 3A tournament. The Cents crushed Rialto, Whittier, and Claremont before falling to Beverly Hills by just four points in the semifinal and later to Sunny Hills in the CIF Division 3 state tournament.
Boys cross country
Saugus Boys XC team grabbed second place behind Canyon in Foothill League meet No. 1 to start the season and finished in second place at the Foothill League cross country finals. Jacob Kaufmann placed in the top 10 in the first meet while Boon Andrews, Albert Serrano and Juan Enciso earned top 10 finishes in the finals.
Girls cross country
Saugus girls took first place at the Foothill League meet No. 1 with Mariah Castillo, Jacqueline Cascione, and Mackenna Park leading the pack for the Cents. The girls also claimed first place in the Foothill League Cross Country Finals, this time with Castillo and Cascione taking first and second.
With strength in sophomores Shaina Berdin and Breeanna San Lucas, just to name a few, Saugus girls soccer earned third place in the Foothill League with a 10-6-5 overall record, 3-3-4 in league.
Centurions softball secured a third-place finish in the Foothill League with a record of 19-10 overall and 6-4 in league. Competing against a tough Camarillo team in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 1 tournament, Saugus was eliminated in a close 9-8 game.
Five most memorable male athletes
The junior Cal State Northridge commit filled roles both at the plate and on the mound for the Cents. He had a 2.48 ERA and recorded 48 strikeouts by the end of the season and had a .329 batting average with nine RBIs.
At the Foothill League finals, Morsch took won titles in both the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle. At the CIF-SS finals he was sixth in the 100 free.
Sayers stopped 81 shots and logged six shutouts as Saugus’ starting goalkeeper in his senior season. He also played defense when called upon and even scored a goal in a game against Canyon.
Sheaffer paced the Centurions on the ground, accumulating 1,334 yards on 235 carries and rushed for five touchdowns.
As a dual-sport athlete, Spring was a consistent performer in basketball and volleyball. His height and vertical gave him a huge advantage in both sports.
Five most memorable female athletes
As a sophomore, Berdin led the Cents in scoring with 11 goals and tied for second with three assists. She sits in second place in the Foothill League with 25 points.
The junior represented Saugus in the Foothill League Finals with a second-place finish in the 3,200-meter race to qualify for the CIF-SS Division 2 Finals, followed by a third-place finish in the 1,600. Cascione was also an important piece in a fourth-place 4×400 girls relay in League Finals.
The sophomore point guard effectively ran the Centurions’ offensive press on a nightly basis and was second on the team with 10.9 points per game.
Although her team fell in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs, the Centurions were once again led offensively by Liebe. She was first on her team with 375 kills and third on the team with 27 digs.
One of Saugus’ most talented underclassmen, McMahan averaged 17.1 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game on the girls basketball team. On the softball team, McMahan tied for second on the team in terms of hits with 27. She had four home runs and 19 RBIs on the season.
Boys Basketball – With only three league losses on the season, Saugus lost in the first round of the CIF-SS tournament.
Girls Basketball – The Centurions made their furthest playoff run in program history, making it all the way to the CIF Division 3 state tournament after losing in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 3A tournament.
Boys cross country – At the CIF state cross country meet, Saugus placed seventh in Division 2.
Girls cross country – Saugus reached the CIF state meet for the 12th consecutive season and placed second at the event.
Football – Beating Sonora and St. Paul in the first and second rounds of the CIF-SS Division 6 playoffs, the Cents lost to Bishop Diego in the semifinals.
Softball – Placing third in the Foothill League, Saugus lost in the first round to Camarillo in the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs.
Girls Volleyball – The team lost to Moorpark 3-1 in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 4 postseason.