Reaching the semifinals of the 2018 Saugus Summer Sensation Tournament, the Centurions girls basketball team looked revamped to take on Brentwood at Saugus on Friday night.
Adding some much-needed height, the Centurions dominated the boards early in the contest by getting better position down low and boxing out, until Brentwood decided to press and play much more spirited defense to win 39-35.
“They started to press and put us in certain situations where I couldn’t use my bigs,” head coach Jason Conn said. “We had to have more guard play and it changed the flow of the game.”
WIthout being able to establish a low-post game, Conn opted to switch tactics and leaned on Monique Febles and Alexis Jimenez to bring up the ball and run the offense.
“They are both going to get a lot of minutes because they are my point guards,” Conn said. “This way we don’t get one person tired out there throughout the game. I think both are getting a lot of experience and doing a great job.”
Trading baskets back and forth the whole first half, neither team’s lead was more than five points.
At halftime, Brentwood led 17-14.
Coming out of halftime determined to change things around Saugus’ Maliah Sourgose dove on the floor time after time to try and ignite the Saugus offense by playing spirited and tough defense.
Libbie McMahan followed her lead hitting perimeter shots and driving into the lane for the easy layup or dumping it off to another teammate for the quick bucket.
Tied at 20-20 with under 14 minutes to play in the game, Brentwood went on a run 14-6 run to all but end the night for the Centurions.
Imploring a full-court press with under 3 minutes to go, Saugus was able to climb back into the game going on a 7-2 run, but after some late-game free throws, Brentwood pulled away and got the win.
“We need to know what our roles on the team are,” Conn said. “Once they know their roles on the team and what I expect of them, we are going to dominate.”