Saugus High boys basketball was ready to finish out its Foothill League season on a dominant note against Canyon, but the Cowboys weren’t going to personally roll out the welcome mat and hold the door open to playoffs.
The Cents defeated the Cowboys 67-61 Friday night at Saugus after a tightly contested first half.
With the win, Saugus finished tied with West Ranch at 6-4 in the Foothill League but earned the league’s third automatic playoff bid due to a head-to-head tiebreaker.
“I was kind of surprised by it,” said Saugus’ Anthony McIntyre. “They came out battling. They had everything to play for. It was their last game, they just wanted to come out balling. They played pretty good, they had us for a second. We just fought through and finished the game out.”
At the half, Canyon (5-21 overall, 0-10 in Foothill) only trailed Saugus by three points, a performance bolstered by three-point shooting.
The Saugus defense continued to push Cowboy shooters to the outside, but that only meant more trey attempts on offense.
“The plan was to go inside, but they just shot threes,” said Canyon coach Alex Dunwoody. “I think just the moment, them just wanting a victory and not (necessarily) wanting to put it on their shoulders, but just do it for their teammates and just get one win before the season ended.”
The Cowboys made eight three’s for a total of 24 points. But the more long shots the Cowboys attempted, the more rebounding opportunities and possessions the Cents (17-9, 6-4) had.
Those opportunities translated to a second-half burst in the form of 43 points.
“It was too close,” said Bedgood. “(We) just (had) to be more fundamentally sound. We were turning the ball over and we took some bad shots and we gave up a ton of offensive rebounds. We were focused on doing the little things right.”
McIntyre had a game-high 22 points on the night. Zach Phipps followed with 19, and Canyon’s Josue Valencia had 14.