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Hart doesn't let up on Saugus

Posted: January 17, 2014 10:41 p.m.
Updated: January 17, 2014 10:41 p.m.
 

Hart High boys basketball head coach Tom Kelly made sure there was no letdown against Saugus.

“All we focused on (at practice) Wednesday, Thursday and at lunch today was to play hard from the get-go,” Kelly said.

And the Hart Indians’ defense dominated the Saugus Centurions from tip-off en route to a 79-56 win at Hart High Friday night.

Hart has started slowly in recent games, including a shaky first quarter in their win over West Ranch Tuesday. But there was nothing slow about the 16-2 run Hart used to pull away from Saugus in the first quarter.

Hart’s full-court press — spearheaded by Myles Franklin — made crossing half court a task for the Centurions, who turned the ball over on their first six possessions.

Hart defenders scrambled all over the court — deflecting passes and stealing others.

Franklin took one such steal the other way for a two-handed slam dunk.

“We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball,” said Saugus head coach Derek Ballard. “We’d work so hard on defense and then give the ball right back.”

When Saugus did get into their offensive sets, Jacob Tobon and Amir Mirtabatabaie were effective, combining for 31 points.

But they couldn’t overcome Saugus’ 20 turnovers and Franklin’s hot shooting.

The junior scored 17 of his game-high 21 points before halftime on 7-for-8 shooting. Saugus forced him into a bigger offensive role by limiting Lewis Stallworth to two shot attempts in the first half.

“I stayed confident, knowing the next shot was going to go in,” Franklin said.

Despite falling behind early, Saugus stayed within striking distance for most of the first half, trailing 43-28 at the break. But after Hart’s first two possessions of the second half, the Centurions were down 20 and Hart led by as many as 30 early in the fourth.

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