Canyon girls’ hoops beats Saugus  

Canyon point guard Isabella Escribano (25) dribbles the ball against Saugus point guard Samantha Cortez on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at Saugus High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Canyon point guard Isabella Escribano (25) dribbles the ball against Saugus point guard Samantha Cortez on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at Saugus High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
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Canyon Cowboys girls’ basketball had a tremendous start and finish to its Foothill League opener on Tuesday.  

The Cowboys exploded early and took over the game late to win, 58-36, over the hosting Saugus Centurions.  

Canyon (3-2, 1-0) exploded early after hitting shot after shot from behind the 3-point line. The Cowboys made just one basket inside in the arc, compared to seven 3-pointers, with scoring coming from all over the starting lineup.  

“We set the tone,” said Canyon head coach Jessica Haayer. “We have a really hard schedule and it only prepares us for things like this. I mean, we had 23 points in the first quarter. That’s insane. We shot the ball well, but we knew we were gonna do that because we always come out shooting.They know what’s expected. They know that I only take hard work, discipline and dedication.” 

Canyon shooting guard Josie Regez (23) dribbles the ball during Tuesday night’s game against Saugus. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Three Cowboys starters hit multiple 3-point baskets but one of the league’s top scorers, Josie Regez, did most of her scoring in the interior. Regez, a two-time first-team all-leaguer, led Canyon with 19 points. 

Saugus (4-2, 0-1) managed to slow the game down and kept the scoring even in the middle quarters of the game. However, Canyon was able to pull away in the fourth quarter with two freshmen playing the near entirety of the game. 

Freshman Taylor Ford has proven she’s a scorer this season but shined in other areas on Tuesday. The scoreless Ford led the Cowboys with nine rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. 

Canyon shooting guard Taylor Ford (5) dribbles the ball against Saugus defense on Tuesday, Nov. 28. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Also making her Foothill League debut was Isabella Escribano, who added 12 points and a handful of assists.  

“I start two freshmen and those two did amazing,” Haayer said. “They did everything I asked of them: rebounds, box out, they took their roles and executed. They can score. You haven’t even seen Taylor score yet. She’s a regular like 15-point girl in the game. They’re only gonna get better. It’s gonna be fun to watch.” 

Cowboys forward Koko Booker added 13 points and seven rebounds, while senior Aneesa Sayan punched in four 3-pointers for a career-high 12 points in the win. 

Canyon power forward Koko Booker (21) attempts to block Saugus center Destiny Onovo (22) as she goes up for a shot during Tuesday’s game at Saugus High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

The Centurions were getting close looks around the basket but Canyon’s defense had Saugus rattled on most of its first-half shots.  

“Today was probably our worst shooting field goal percentage of the season,” said Cents coach Anthony Falasca. “It reminds me of last year; we made a huge focus on trying to make those easy shots and today we missed them. There’s a lot of positives because that means our offense works. Our offense gets us the shots that we want. We put our players in opportunities to be able to succeed and that gives me a lot of hope that all we need to do to win is make shots, right? I wish it was that easy.” 

Senior Destiny Onovo added a double-double for the Cents with 11 points and 10 rebounds along with two blocks. Sophomore point guard EvaMarie Rios matched her teammate with 11 points. 

Saugus center Destiny Onovo (22) dribbles the ball past Canyon power forward Koko Booker (21) during Tuesday’s game at Saugus High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

Saugus is optimistic for its rematch with Canyon as well as its other 10 league games that lie ahead. There are still parts of the Centurions’ game to iron out as Falasca looks to lead his team back into the postseason. 

“I hate that it’s gonna take us a month and a half to see them again, but then again, I like that because then we get a chance to work on some stuff,” Falasca said. “Playing in a league game within five games of the season is tough. We’re still learning plays and I’m still learning some of what the girls can do in a game.” 

The Cowboys have high hopes this season. They’re looking for a three-peat Foothill League championship as well as another deep CIF run. Canyon’s potential playoff run will be another brutal road now that the team moved into Division 1. However, if Haayer’s team continues to grow and stays healthy, more wins are likely to come. 

Saugus point guard EvaMarie Rios (13) dribbles the ball against Canyon shooting guard Josie Regez (23) during Tuesday night’s game at Saugus High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

“We have to keep growing,” Haayer said. “We have to keep getting better each day. This is the first time I’ve had a full healthy squad so that’s why we probably lost our first two games. They weren’t healthy, but they’re ready to go now.” 

Canyon returns home to host West Ranch while Saugus heads to Valencia as both teams return to league action on Friday at 5 p.m.  

Canyon point guard Isabella Escribano (25) dribbles the ball against Saugus defense on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at Saugus High School. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal

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