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Canyon Is Running for Respect


VALENCIA — There's a standing rule on the Canyon High girls' basketball team: If you want to run the fast break, you first must run cross-country.

Coach Paul Broneer, who also serves as assistant cross-country coach, makes every player run competitively during the fall. He figures a well-conditioned team has a leg up on its competition.

"I don't want any kid of ours to say that another team is better conditioned than us or that they have more heart," Broneer said.

That philosophy has yet to pay off for the basketball team, which has finished with records of 11-16, 11-12 and 12-15 and in the middle of the Foothill League during Broneer's first three years at the school.

The Cowboys, however, may finally be ready to make a run at the league title.

They toppled perennial league bully Hart earlier in the week, then defeated Royal, 36-28, on Friday night in the semifinals of the Santa Clarita Shootout at College of the Canyons.

Canyon advances to the Shootout final tonight at 7:15, when it will face two-time defending champion Crescenta Valley, a 51-32 winner over Notre Dame in the other semifinal.

The Cowboys will be making their first appearance in the Shootout final since 1994.

In past seasons, Broneer says, Canyon's primary goal was to "not get Buena in the first round of the playoffs."

Buena has eliminated the Cowboys in the first round twice in the last three seasons.

Now, there's talk of unseating Hart, which has had a hold on the league title throughout the 1990s.

"We can't wait for the season," senior guard Leanne Suenaka said. "We want it to be right now."

Canyon has won 11 consecutive games, including a 44-35 victory over Hart on Thursday.

Depth has been a key.

Suenaka sat out against Royal after breaking her nose the night before, and guard Justina Kahaku was playing in a softball tournament.

Forward Latricia Fleming, a transfer from Monroe, picked up the slack, scoring 16 points against a Royal team that shared the Marmonte League title last season.

Julianna Diaz scored eight points and Janette Garcia added seven points for the Cowboys.

Kellie Gesell scored 15 points and Melissa Cruz added eight points for Royal, which was without starters Kristen Galbreath and Teresa Russell.

In other tournament games:

Crescenta Valley 51, Notre Dame 32--Kristie Umemoto scored 14 points and Kelly Paige added 12 for Crescenta Valley.

Sierra Hauser-Price scored 12 points for Notre Dame, which will meet Royal at 6 p.m. tonight for third place.

Hart 46, North Hollywood 20--Megan Kopic scored 12 points and Christina Sanchez and Kyli Hourigan each added 10 points for Hart in a consolation game.

The Indians will play Highland for fifth place today at 4:45.

Angelle Hill and Kelly Rogers each scored five points for North Hollywood, which was eliminated.

Highland 30, Santa Paula 20--Highland overcame a 13-4 halftime deficit.

Tiffany Winkfield scored 10 points and Amy Truoung added eight for the Bulldogs.

Sarah Kolbeck scored eight points for Santa Paula, which plays Burbank today at 2:15 in a consolation game.

Valencia 37, Burbank 24--The Vikings outscored Burbank, 25-14, in the second half to defeat their Foothill League rivals and advance to the consolation final.

Valencia will play Saugus, another Foothill League team, today at 3:30.

Tiffany Morgan scored 14 points, Emilie Dearborn had 12 points and Kristan Close added eight for Valencia.

Natalie Avanecy scored 11 points for Burbank.

Saugus 44, Paraclete 40--Ornella Grosz made five three-point shots and scored 15 points, and Lexi Phelps added 15 points to help Saugus reach the consolation final.

Christine Lambert scored 17 points and Jackie Kolesar added 11 for Paraclete.

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