The departure of a head coach will impact a team immensely. The departure of a coach a couple weeks before the season seemingly could derail everything the team has worked for.
Saugus girls’ basketball has hired a new head coach from within and will likely still be ready to contend for a Foothill League title. Former girls’ basketball assistant Anthony Falasca has been named the Saugus girls’ head coach.
Falasca has spent the past three seasons as an assistant for the Centurion girls’ hoops team. The first-year head coach has played and coached all over the Foothill League. Falasca graduated from Canyon High School in 1999 and works as a personal shooting coach on top of his long assistant coaching resume.
“I’m bleeding navy blue,” said Falasca. “I never thought I’d say that because I’m a Canyon guy.”
Once the news got out that Saugus was in the market for a new head coach, Falasca’s phone was flooded with calls and messages.
“Some of the girls I’ve coached for the last few years reached out, the seniors reached out, former players and parents reached out,” said Falasca. “My phone went crazy when the word got out and it was the perfect storm.”
The Centurion coach plans to keep all three levels in the gym together during practice to get them better acclimated with one another. Falasca will also aim to create the ideal culture for the team but not necessarily change up much.
“[We’re] creating our culture, not changing it,” said Falasca. “As the game progresses from the female side of it we have to give these girls a voice. It’s a little different than the old-fashioned style of my way or the highway.”
Falasca inherited a young but talented Centurion team this season. Saugus will feature just two seniors and five freshmen on its squad. The freshmen’s poise has impressed Falasca so far as they don’t play or act like freshmen he’s seen.
Even with a bulk of talented individuals, the team-first mentality is everything to the first-year head coach.
“My philosophy is teamwork,” said Falasca. “So, we strive to be the best rebounding and defensive team. We can have three or four girls that can average 15-plus. We’re looking for one or two to have 15 [points per game], one or two to have eight and spread the love around.”
Falasca will be joined on the sidelines by assistant coaches Michelle Lewitt and Megan Reck.
Reck was the interim coach for about two weeks. Falasca praised her work for being the glue that kept the team together through a tough period.
Saugus is off to an 0-3 start but Falasca has loved what he’s seen from his team so far in their short time together. The team has been in good positions in every game but will work on closing out in the fourth quarter to start racking up wins.
“We’ve had four days of practice,” said Falasca. “We threw so much at them and I’ve been impressed with what they’ve been able to grasp so quickly.”
Saugus will have two more non-league games before the Foothill League debut on Nov. 29, when Saugus opens up league play at home with Valencia.