Saugus boys hoops survives late scare

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GRANADA HILLS — The ball stopped moving. The shots stopped falling. Saugus High boys basketball looked little like the team that ran out to a 17-point lead after one quarter.

Then three plays lifted the Centurions to a 47-43 overtime win over Kennedy High of Granada Hills on Wednesday at Kennedy.

With less than a minute left in overtime, Luke Bodeau hit a layup for a two-point Saugus lead. He was fouled on the play and missed the free throw. But teammate Zach Phipps flew to the rebound and threw it off a Cougar defender as he fell out of bounds.

“That was a huge hustle play,” said Saugus coach Bill Bedgood.

On the extra possession, Phipps knocked down a jumper from the free throw line to finally put away Kennedy and propel Saugus to a 2-2 finish at the annual San Fernando Valley Invitational.

The Centurions (6-2) led by as many as 20 points in the first half, but made just one field goal in the fourth quarter, where Cougar Anthony Simone’s three-point play with 17 second left sent the game into overtime.

“We have to play better in close games,” Bedgood said.

Most of Wednesday’s game wasn’t close. But Kennedy closed the third quarter on a 9-0 run, and climbed within three points of the Centurions on Jonathan Herrera’s 3-pointer with 2:40 left in the fourth.

Then Simone, a 6-foot-6 senior who finished with 19 points, scored deep in the paint, was fouled and made the ensuing free throw to tie the score 39-39.

After a Saugus turnover at midcourt, Simone put up a shot that bounced twice on the rim before falling off at the buzzer.

Saugus survived, then made the most of it.

Phipps made 4-of-4 free throw attempts in overtime, scoring six of Saugus’ eight points in the extra period. He finished with a team-high 19 points.

Saugus’ Anthony McIntyre scored 13 points and was named to the all-tournament team. Bodeau finished with 10 points for Saugus, which built a 21-4 lead after the first quarter.

As the advantage slipped away, Phipps said the key was sticking together.

“We knew adversity was going to catch up to us,” he said. “We’re not going to make shots, all these fouls (are going to happen) and all that. We just bounced back really well.”

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