Canyon, Saugus pick up wins in second night of Foothill League play

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Canyon girls basketball picked up its second straight win to open up Foothill League play on Friday night by beating Golden Valley 49-42, but it wasn’t without its difficulties.

By the third quarter, the Cowboys held a 20-point lead over the Grizzlies.

“We really came out strong and took control of the tempo of the game, and because of this, we were able to score more and create a gap between us and Golden Valley,” said senior Lucy Collins via text message. “When we execute our plays and play aggressive defense like we did in the third quarter, there really is no stopping us.”

But shortly after they gained the massive lead, foul trouble followed. The Grizzlies (6-9 overall, 0-2 in Foothill League) took advantage of the free throw opportunities and came within striking distance of a lead. With a few key players fouled out, Canyon (15-5, 2-0) had to adjust and play with discipline.

“As my team started getting into foul trouble I noticed a lot of frustration,” Collins said. “But as the game went on, my team and I just learned to accept that the calls weren’t going our way and that we can’t let that stop us from playing our game. I saw my teammates start to calm down and trust each other more so that we were not making some of the mistakes and fouls that we were previously.”

MORE: Valencia girls hoops beats Hart to get back in win column

The Cowboys were able to escape with the win and Collins led her team with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Collins has been having a transformative year in her second season on varsity after transferring in from Colorado.

Coach Jessica Haayer said that Collins is “probably the most improved player from last year” and she has been scoring more frequently rather than sticking to defensive play as she has previously.

“I had to realize that, as a senior, the most important thing I can do is to have fun and be confident in how I play,” Collins said. “In the past few games I have struggled with pregame anxiety but tonight I really just decided to trust myself, trust my team, and play to the best of my ability.”

Golden Valley plays at Saugus on Tuesday at 5 p.m. Canyon hosts Hart on the same day at the same time.

Saugus 80, West Ranch 11

Eden MacKenzie led the Centurions (14-4, 2-0) with 23 points. Libbie McMahan added 13, Ruth Kempler scored eight and Maliah Sourgose chipped in seven.

Saugus plays Westlake Saturday in the Burroughs Extravaganza and gets back into league play on Tuesday at home against Golden Valley at 5 p.m. The Wildcats (1-9, 0-2) play Valencia on Tuesday at 5 p.m.

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