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Foothill League boys basketball: Indians draw from earlier lessons

Experience in close games helps lift Hart past Saugus on Frida

Posted: January 14, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 14, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

In the past two weeks, Hart boys basketball has lost two games that came down to the final minutes.

It appears that was all the motivation the Indians needed to avoid dropping their first two Foothill League contests of the season.

Hart escaped Saugus 57-53 in come-from-behind fashion on Friday night at Saugus High School.

The shots weren’t falling for either team in the game, but Hart (11-7, 1-1) made enough buckets in the most crucial situations to outlast its league counterpart.

“It’s nice to bounce back on the road with a young team,” said Hart sophomore Lewis Stallworth, who netted a game-high 19 points and added seven rebounds.

The win comes after a 74-71 loss to West Ranch in Tuesday’s league opener and a 79-77 defeat at the hands of Culver City on Jan. 3.

Instead, it’s Saugus which falls to 0-2 in Foothill play and 10-8 overall despite leading by as many as 10 points in the game.
Down the stretch, the Centurions missed too many shots and couldn’t come up with the defensive stops that they did in the first three quarters.

“Lots of missed layups. We shot 5-of-23 from (three-point range),” said Saugus head coach Derek Ballard. “Make a couple of those and it’s a different game.”

After nursing a single-digit lead for most of the game, Saugus finally saw its advantage disappear when Hart’s Austin Maly knocked down two foul shots to put the Indians in front 50-49 with 4:20 to play.

It was Hart’s first lead since late in the first quarter.

“Keep competing,” said Hart head coach Tom Kelly of the comeback. “We learned from Culver City and West Ranch. Just keep competing and give ourselves a chance to win.”

Though Hart didn’t give up the lead again, Saugus guard Jeremy Gatewood kept the game in doubt by frequently driving the basket and either making buckets or drawing contact.

Gatewood ended up with 16 points and fellow guard Chris Lockwood scored 12, but it was a tough night for the Centurions as a whole, shooting just 31 percent.

The Centurions also took a hit defensively when center Mitch Davis fouled out with 1:46 remaining when he collided with a Hart player near midcourt.

A Stallworth layup on the ensuing possession gave the Indians a 56-53 lead, which was too much for the cold-shooting Centurions to overcome.

Maly scored 14 points, including five key free throws in the final four minutes.

“We got a few stops, which we converted on offense,” Stallworth said. “We got some runaway shots.”

In the first half, Saugus used a 7-0 run to build a 29-19 lead late in the second quarter and carry a 29-22 lead into halftime.

Saugus used zone defense early and switched to pressure later on, which disrupted Hart and gave the Saugus shooters scoring opportunities in transition.

As far as a solution to the Centurions’ 0-2 problem? Nothing complicated.

“We’ve just got to make outside shots and tighten up on defense,” Gatewood said.

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