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Prep boys hoops: Cents come through in the clutch

Saugus closes strong in 59-56 overtime victory

Posted: February 9, 2013 1:55 a.m.
Updated: February 9, 2013 1:55 a.m.
 

Saugus has been plagued by its inability to close games out, but the Centurions finally found some answers on the finale of the Foothill League season.

With 1:07 to play in overtime, Jeff Ashburn took the ball strong to the rack and finished with his left hand to put the game out of reach, as the Saugus boys basketball team outlasted the Golden Valley Grizzlies 59-56 Friday at Saugus High School.

“Jeff was great for us, and he had that big drive in overtime,” said Saugus head coach Derek Ballard. “He was fearless, sacrificed his body, and took the ball hard to rack.”

Ashburn, along with his supporting cast, helped Saugus (14-13 Overall, 4-6 Foothill) secure the victory in overtime.

Chris Lockwood and Jacob Tobon hit clutch free-throws down the stretch, while Jacob Dawe added his only bucket of the night in the extra period.

“We had an off night shooting the ball, which got us into trouble,” said Saugus head coach Derek Ballard. “We had guys step up and finish in the clutch tonight, something we hadn’t been able to do all season.”

The Grizzlies (5-21, 0-10) kept the game close, forcing Saugus into committing 17 turnovers, while limiting the Centurions to just 17-of-60 shooting on the night.

Ashburn finished with a game-high 17 points, while Lockwood scored 12 for Saugus.

Kourbine Lee led the Grizzlies with 13 points.

Leon Jacobs and CJ Jacobs added 11 and 10, respectively.

Golden Valley had a chance to win in regulation, but the James Chevious’ long-range 3-point attempt at the buzzer came up short.

The Grizzlies had a chance to tie at the end of overtime.

With seven seconds left in overtime, a 3-pointer by Lee from the left wing rimmed in-and-out, sealing the game.

“We played our butts off tonight,” said Golden Valley coach Al Vanhook. “We never gave up, and fought tooth and nail in every game. The No. 1 thing we did this year is gain respect.”

With the victory, the Centurions wait to find out if they qualify for the CIF-Southern Section Division IIA postseason.

“For the seniors, they worked so hard that I didn’t want them to end with a loss,” Ballard said. “We felt the pressure, but I’m just proud for our kids.”

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