Libbie McMahan scored half the points for her team in Saugus High School girls basketball’s 56-51 tournament win over Glendora at Sierra Canyon on Thursday night.
But with a team brimming with experience, McMahan found it difficult not to give credit to her teammates for her 31 points.
“If I’m being quite honest,” McMahan said, “it’s really all my teammates. They’re getting me open, moving the ball well and Monique (Febles) does a good job of moving the ball so when she finds someone open, she does a good job of getting the ball to them.”
McMahan and Febles, the Centurions’ point guard, have been playing together since their first year on varsity as freshmen.
“I think they work real well together,” said Saugus coach Jason Conn. “They know each other now for the last four years and Mo does a great job of moving the ball and getting it to the right people and seeing the floor. She just seems to find the open person.”
Although McMahan’s numbers on the stat sheet are staggering, Conn’s focus for the game against the Tartans (6-2) was defense. Saugus (3-2) gave up a 3-pointer with 5:22 left in the first quarter and allowed Glendora to take an 11-8 lead going into the second quarter.
The Cents buckled down in the next frame, scoring 22 points to regain the lead. McMahan sank a 3-pointer to pull Saugus ahead 18-15 and Eden MacKenzie made a 3 of her own with 2:23 left until halftime to increase the lead to 24-15.
“I think it was just effort,” McMahan said. “We all had a lot of fight and we wanted to win after losing to El Camino and we wanted to get the win for each other and move on to 3-2.”
Saugus kept the pace when it came to both scoring and defense through the third quarter. MacKenzie nailed a corner 3 for her second 3-pointer of the game with 3:55 to go in the stanza for a 50-44 lead.
MacKenzie finished second on the team with 12 points in the contest.
“I need Eden to score 12-15 points every game and tonight she came through with 12 points,” Conn said. “She had two big 3’s, she had a lot of deflections, she had a lot of steals, her defense is very good. She anticipates. She knows where the ball is going to be. Her scoring is invaluable.”
Glendora made a final push in the fourth quarter as the Centurions relaxed on defense and gave up a few 3’s, but never sacrificed their lead.
“You have to guard them tight,” Conn said. “They’re not going to take a 2 down by 13, they can only take 3’s and we allowed those. I was just furious.”
Saugus gave up 13 points in the final quarter, but will be back on the court tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. against Ribet Academy at Sierra Canyon High School.