By Sara DiNatale
Most high school students are just starting to send out their college applications, but that stress is off of Sarah Saba. The Lancaster High School girl’s basketball player committed to Daemen College on Nov. 19.
“I like that I don’t have to worry about who is watching me when I play,” Saba admitted; she’s glad to have scouts off her mind.
She may have her future planned out, but the senior is focused on the upcoming season with Lancaster and a list of records she wants to break.
Saba, one of the best returning players in Western New York, came into this season with 817 points scored in her career; two games into the season, she’s at 853 with intentions of being the first player at Lancaster to reach 1,000.
Last season, Saba, who is 6 feet tall, was named the ECIC Division I player of the Year, First-Team All-ECIC, Second-Team All-Western New York and Seventh-Team All New York State Class AA.
Saba, a guard and forward, said she will attend Daemen on a full-ride through mostly athletic, but also academic, scholarships. She plans on studying in the school’s athletic training program.
Marisa Gallo, Lancaster’s new head coach, described Saba as being “quietly intent.”
“That’s the one thing that stands out with Sarah, is that she may not say much but the game is really important to her and you can see that. Her drive and her intensity are always there.”
That intensity is following Saba as she maneuvers through the season, aiming to beat some of her last season’s bests. She’s currently ranked No. 3 in most points scored in one season and No. 2 in most points scored in one game at 33 points.
Currently, Samantha Wozniak – who Saba will be playing with at Daemen next year – holds Lancaster’s leading scorer record at 973 points.
“I really want to break the point record,” Saba said. “I want to hit 1,000 points this year – there’s a lot of records to break.”
She has her mind set to beat as many as she can. Gallo considers Saba one of the “more talented players” she’s had the opportunity to coach.
Gallo said she will play Saba primarily as a guard this season – a position she expects coach David Skolen to play her at when she arrives at Daemen. But Saba will play all over the court this season and she is one of the best “basketball minds” on team, according to Gallo.
Skolen said Sabra does “everything well” and that “it’s rare for someone to have her combination of skill and athleticism while being six-feet tall,” according to a Daemen press release.
Saba is a one-sport athlete, who started dribbling a ball in the second grade, and she works in the off-season with the Western New York Lady Cougars.
Gallo is still getting familiar with the team and is optimistic about its season. She’s making a lot of changes, according to Saba, who said there are a lot of new plays the team is still learning and adjusting to.
“We have the athleticism to get better throughout the season,” Gallo said. “I’m hoping we do well in playoffs and we maybe make it through a round or two.”
The team may have a “rocky road to start,” Gallo said, but she’s excited to see the team’s growth by the end of the season.
Saba helped lead the team to an 11-8 record last season and scored an average of 19.9 points per game.
Saba will hit the court alongside her team at Cheektowaga on Dec. 4. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.