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Foothill boys basketball: Cents stave off Hart rally

Defense helps Saugus hold on to beat the Indians

Posted: February 5, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 5, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Saugus boys basketball applied just enough pressure.

In a game where it led by as many as 13 points, Saugus brought the defense up higher and higher, and Hart couldn't make enough plays in the half-court.

The Centurions survived Hart's second-half run to win 49-46 Friday night at Saugus High.

Saugus led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, but the Indians crept back into the game and took a late lead of their own.

But Jeremy Gatewood's layup with 16 seconds left helped Saugus seal it to remain in third place in the Foothill League.

"We planned on winning. We felt like we were the better team," said Saugus head coach Derek Ballard. "It was interesting because Hart wanted to play a slow-it-down game, but we were able to pressure them and force them to run."

Neither team shot well in the game, with the Centurions (18-7, 5-3) holding a modest advantage of 34 percent compared to Hart's 32 percent from the field.

After nearly five minutes where neither team scored a point in the fourth quarter, Saugus guard Brad Buchignani broke the drought with a layup at the 1:11 mark to put his team up 46-41.

In Saugus' next possession, it milked the clock down while leading 46-43. With the shot clock winding down, Gatewood dribbled through the lane and sunk the shot off the glass to virtually put it away.

"All I heard was the crowd counting down so I knew I had to go," Gatewood said.

He finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Buchignani had 14 points.

It was the third loss in four games for the Indians (12-11, 4-4), who fell out of a tie for third place in the standings.

"Every game is a rivalry in this league, and everybody's knocking off everybody," said Hart head coach Tom Kelly. "You've got to be prepared every game."

In the first minute of the game, it looked like Hart was plenty prepared, making two quick shots to go up 4-0.

That was followed by 12 straight missed shots, which allowed Saugus to get into a rhythm.

In the second quarter, the Centurions went on a 14-0 run to take a 25-12 lead. Most of their shots were set up by a defense that forced 14 turnovers and blocked eight shots on the night.

Forward Mitch Davis blocked six shots alone for Saugus, which led 31-21 at halftime.

"What we did tonight, believe it or not, takes a lot of discipline," Ballard said. "To be able to keep your pressure up and switch to the double teams, that's not easy."

But Saugus had its own scoring drought in the third quarter, and Delgado took advantage, scoring nine consecutive points to pull Hart within 36-34 at the 3:00 mark.

The senior point guard would end up with a game-high 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Hart eventually retook the lead at the 6:49 mark of the fourth quarter, going up 41-39, but the lead lasted less than a minute.

The shots stopped falling for the Indians, and this time, they couldn't survive the scoring slump.

"Their defense didn't do anything," Kelly said. "We missed some wide-open looks."



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