By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The Canyon Cowboys (20-9, 9-1) were neck-and-neck with the Hart Indians entering Friday’s contest against the Saugus Centurions (15-11, 6-4). The Cowboys just needed to win in order to clinch a share of the Foothill League title.
The Cowboys played the spoilers of senior night as they took down the Centurions, 65-49. The players rushed onto the court with a Foothill League champions banner.
Moments later, they received the news the Indians lost their matchup against the Valencia Vikings and immediately claimed sole possession of the Foothill League title. The Cowboys immediately burst into a frenzy.
“It feels great to be the outright winner,” said Cowboys’ head coach Jessica Haayer. “It’s always the question of whether we are sharing the title. It’s so hard to win league. I have been here eight years and there’s only been a handful of times teams have won without a share.”
The Centurions were able to keep it close in the first half despite being without their senior guard Victoria Phan, who was seen on the bench with a cast on her leg. Ruth Kempler led her team with 11 first-half points while Aaliyah Garcia led the Cowboys with 15 points.
The Cowboys would soon turn it up and show what their defense has been capable of all season long, outscoring the Centurions 16-8 in the third quarter. The Cowboys would produce 20 steals as a team.
After hitting the game winner against the Indians on Tuesday to tie up first place in the Foothill League, Josie Regez finished with a game-high 20 points while also accumulating three assists and three steals.
“It feels so good to be the Foothill League champs,” said Regez. “I don’t think any of us expected to be solo champions until right now. It’s almost too much. I’m really proud of how this team played this season. It feels good to be the only one on top.”
Genesis Gonzalez finished with 17 points and three assists and Garcia ended her night with 17 points while also leading her team in assists (6) and steals (7).
“I’m just glad we got the win today,” said Garcia. “Hopefully we can keep the high level of shots and ball movement as we head into the playoffs.”
The Centurions end their season finishing third place in the Foothill League after winning at least a share of the league title in back-to-back seasons.
Kempler ended her night with 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five blocks. Kristen Kai led her team with 19 points and four rebounds and Destiny Onovo finished with a double-double with 10 points and 16 rebounds.
“We have a group of girls with a lot of determination that play incredibly hard,” said Centurions’ head coach Jason Conn. “They truly wanted to end the season on a high note. We feel that we’re in a very good place going into the playoffs. We just got to keep the great things we did tonight and fix issues on defense as we head into the playoffs.”