Foothill and Heritage League play is in full swing after an exciting opening two weeks of local basketball.
Several teams are on the rise while others are looking to improve over the holiday break.
All three of last season’s Foothill League champs from both girls and boys’ hoops remain unbeaten while the rest of the standings have flipped drastically.
Here are some highlights from the opening two weeks of league play:
Hart girls win eight straight
The Indians are the hottest team in the valley and are winners of eight straight games.
Hart (9-2, 3-0) has torn through non-league and league action so far, most recently taking down Saugus, 69-53. Junior Morgan Mack nearly finished the day with a triple-double, as she piled in 19 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and three steals. Junior Andrea Aina also added 19 points for Hart.
The two were stellar in Hart’s 69-40 win over Golden Valley last week. The Grizzlies kept it close early but the Indian defense allowed just nine points through the second and third quarters. Mack tallied 26 points, shot 3-for-5 from behind the arc, eight rebounds, six steals and five assists. Aina registered a season-high 25 points in the team’s win over Dos Pueblos.
The Indians return to non-league action on Saturday, in a home contest with the St. Joseph Knights (4-1) at 1:30 p.m.
West Ranch league win streak hits 40
The Wildcats (5-2, 4-0) have won four straight to open up league play this season, pushing the streak up to 40 games. UNLV commit James Evans is still yet to lose a Foothill League game and added 23 points in the team’s win over Valencia on Friday.
Prince Okonkwo has been vital for the team down low while sharpshooters Jaeden Robley and Zach Bauman have thrived on the perimeter.
The Cats will head into the Classic at Damien tournament after Christmas, where they will finally showcase center Tracy Bryden.
For now, West Ranch will have another big non-league test on Friday as the team hosts Village Christian (7-4) at 7 p.m.
Canyon girls rolling through league
While non-league play has been rough for the Canyon Cowboys, the Foothill League is going according to plan.
Canyon has seen numerous players in and out of the lineup to start the year but have still put up a fight with some of the top teams in the section.
Senior Koko Booker has registered double-doubles in her last two outings, including a 21-point, 15-rebound performance in a win over Golden Valley.
Cowboys freshman duo Isabella Escribano and Taylor Ford have repeatedly shown their grit and talent this season, as the team battles through the Division 1 level of play.
Ford scored a career-high 23 points along with eight rebounds in a 60-58 loss to Granada Hills on Friday. Escribano has been a regular 20-point scorer to start her varsity career and finished with 26 points in Canyon’s recent loss to Harvard-Westlake.
The Cowboys will expand their tough schedule onto the national level as they take on teams from all over the country in the Nike Tournament of Champions during their holiday break.
Saugus boys riding high
The Centurions continue to surprise year after year. This season, Saugus (6-2, 2-1) has only dropped games to Crespi and West Ranch, two teams eyeing CIF titles in the Open Division and Division 2AA.
Saugus bested Hart, 81-71, on Friday, behind 25 points, six rebounds and six assists from senior Peter Burton. Junior forward Max Guardado also added 16 points and as many rebounds in the win.
Senior Justin Perez and Burton each dropped 19 points in the loss to West Ranch, while Perez poured in 30 in a win against Canyon.
Saugus will look to keep improving in some tournament action over the winter break and will also be competing at Damien.
The Centurions will head into the Big Valley Winter Classic before Christmas, then head to Damien on Tuesday, Dec. 26.
Valencia girls finding their rhythm
After a 1-5 start to the season, Valencia is on the rise. The Vikings’ win streak hit four games last week before ending against the Camarillo Scorpions.
The Vikes were dropped by 41 points by in their original matchup with the Scorpions but lost, 57-51, on Saturday without senior guard Libby Oxciano. Sophomore Cara McKell scored a career-high 29 points in the loss. McKell has surged as of late and is averaging 22.8 points and 10 rebounds over her last four games.
Valencia still sits at 2-1 in league after wins over West Ranch and Saugus, along with a tough loss to Hart.
The Vikings return to the court on Thursday, Dec. 21 at the La Salle Winter Classic.
Golden Valley boys looking ahead of schedule
The young Grizzly squad have been a surprise out of the gates this season. Golden Valley (6-3, 2-1) has won three of its last four games and currently sits in a tie for third in league.
The Grizzlies were knocked off by Hart, 62-52, on Tuesday and were led by senior point guard Tristan Tiu with 17 points, nine steals and four assists.
Golden Valley bounced back on Friday with a 70-57 win over Canyon. Junior Kenyen Andrews was a force in the interior, where he racked up the majority of his 28 points, 12 rebounds and five steals. Tiu also added 12 points while guard Jameson Torres had a game-high 13 assists.
The Grizzlies will look to keep the hot streak alive over winter break as the team heads into the Faith Baptist hoops tournament and the Hart Holiday Tournament.
Trinity girls lighting it up
The Knights (7-2) have won three straight games after a small two-game skid in tournament play.
Emma Schaaf has been the catalyst for the team’s success this season. Schaaf has surpassed her career high in points twice in the past two weeks, most recently after her 37-point, 12-rebound night against Castaic. Senior Iris Weber nearly added a triple-double in the win as she finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Schaaf most recently led the Knights with 27 points and 19 rebounds in a win over Moorpark.
The Knights will have a little more tournament and non-league action ahead before entering Heritage League play, where they are already champions, in the new year.
Trinity will also welcome transfers Lucy Smith and Cassidy Freude, who will both end their sitout periods on Christmas Eve.
The Knights return to action on Friday in a road non-league matchup at Pilibos High School at 5 p.m.