Hart girls’ basketball beats Saugus, 48-29

Teammates Kayla Hourigan (32) and Arleigh Eav (2) of Hart steal the ball from Ruth Kempler (44) of Saugus at Hart High School on Friday, 012122. Dan Watson/The Signal

When a team struggles to put points on the board it becomes a recipe for disaster. For the Saugus Centurions girls’ basketball team, that was the story of the game Friday against Hart High.  

The Centurions (14-8, 5-2) struggled to put points up against the bigger Hart Indians (14-4, 4-0) on Friday and succumbed to the turnover margin in a 48-29 loss to the Indians.  

The Centurions were without their head coach Jason Conn, who was out due to COVID-19 and at one point had to be hospitalized.  

“We just couldn’t put the ball in the basket,” said Centurions interim head coach Anthony Falasca. “I wanted to get them better shots. We had good opportunities in the first half but the shots just didn’t fall. I’ve known (Conn) for 20 years. He’s like a father to me and we’re happy he’s home and healthy now.”  

The Indians came out strong, ending the first quarter up 10-7 on the way to a 19-11 first-half lead. Kayla Hourigan led the charge with 10 points and six rebounds in the first half alone.  

The Centurions were able to keep it competitive with Ruth Kempler stuffing the stat sheet in the first half, finishing with four points, four rebounds, two steals and two blocks, but the Indians’ relentless effort remained unmatched.  

Hourigan continued her dominance in the second half and finished the game with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Elyse Mitchell finished the game with 10 points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists.  

Morgan Mack finished with two points, four rebounds and five assists. Laney Grider had an all-around game with six points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks.  

“It feels good to do it all for my team. I just wanted to win,” said Grider. “The more I can do for my team the better. Saugus is a pretty good team so I know when our team moves the ball and passes quickly it creates opportunities for others and we’ve also got good defense on our side.”   

The Centurions tried to claw their way back in the game, but midway through the fourth quarter Victoria Phan would exit the game with an ankle injury and not return for the rest of the game.  

Kempler finished the game with 12 points, eight rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Destiny Onovo finished with two points, eight rebounds and three assists and Phan finished with three points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals.  

“I thought we were pretty strong defensively and we were moving fast,” said Indians head coach Jerry Mike. “We rebounded well against a good rebounding team. It was good hustle and teamwork and they looked strong.” 

Victoria Phan (4) of Saugus and Vanessa Zavala (33) of Hart go up for a rebound at Hart High School on Friday, 012122. Dan Watson/The Signal
Elyse Mitchell (3) shoots against Saugus defender Kristen Kai (40) at Hart High School on Friday, 012122. Dan Watson/The Signal
Ruth Kempler (44) of Saugus and Kayla Hourigan (32) of Hart go up for the opening tip off at Hart High School on Friday, 012122. Dan Watson/The Signal

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