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Prep boys hoops: Saugus finds option No. 2

Centurions make the right adjustments to top Grizzlies

Posted: January 23, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 23, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

The Saugus Centurions boys basketball team knows its backs are up against the wall after a slow start to the Foothill League season.

So, with the team bought into the concept of winning out in its final six league games, it was no surprise that whenever scoring option No. 1 was stopped, the Centurions had someone else ready to step up in a 62-53 victory over the Golden Valley Grizzlies on Tuesday at Golden Valley High School.

Amir Mirtabatabaie opened up strong for Saugus (12-10 overall, 2-4 Foothill League), scoring eight of his team’s 10 first quarter points on 4-of-5 shooting in the frame.

“We’ve got to win every game,” Mirtabatabaie said. “Nothing is going to stop us. We know how good we are, and we’ve got to come out strong in every game.”

But on an emotional night at Golden Valley — in which a moment of silence was held in honor of Golden Valley student Eliyah Linell, who died suddenly on Saturday — the Grizzlies (5-16, 0-5) weren’t making anything easy for the Centurions.

Senior Leon Jacobs came into the game in the second quarter, shutting down Mirtabatabaie and providing Golden Valley with a dominating presence on the boards.

“(Mirtabatabaie) is very active on the boards,” Jacobs said. “I wanted to be more active on the boards. I just play my game — nothing changes.”

What did change, though, was simply who came through for Saugus.

With Mirtabatabaie accounted for, Saugus received scoring from five other players in the second to take a 32-25 halftime lead.

“It makes it tough to guard when you can’t key on one guy,” Ballard said of his team.

Saugus stretched the lead to 10 after the third, 45-35, but Golden Valley, led by Jacobs’ 16 points and 10 rebounds in three quarters of play, kept itself in the game until the end.

With under three minutes to play, Golden Valley pulled within 51-50, but the Grizzlies were outscored 11-3 from that point on.

Mirtabatabaie led Saugus with 19 points and 13 rebounds, Jacob Tobon added 13 points and Chris Lockwood had 10.
Golden Valley plays at Canyon on Friday, while Saugus hosts Valencia, with both games scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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