Beginning the game trying to figure out each other’s style of play, Saugus boys basketball and Campbell Hall met in The Warrior Classic at Bishop Alemany on Thursday.
Going down to the wire, Saugus boys fought hard throughout the game getting key contributions from role players to escape with a 68-67 win.
”We didn’t let them convert in the second half,” Saugus head coach Alfredo Manzano said. “We preached all week to work hard and be smart against this team and it worked in our favor.”
Down 34-30 at halftime, Saugus (5-4) knew they had to get something going as the Vikings were face-guarding and double-teaming their two most potent scorers: Adrian McIntyre and Nate Perez.
Going on a 9-6 run to begin the third, Perez looked more confident in his shot as the Centurions tried to vary things up by running multiple back screens to get him open.
With Perez hitting his shots from outside, Saugus was able to get more players involved with Justin Espinoza battling down low, allowing McIntyre do his thing and score.
McIntyre ended the night scoring 16 point and grabbing nine rebounds.
“That’s what Justin does,” Manzano said. “We talked about roles before the season and his role is to get every offensive and defensive rebound and do the dirty work. Stuff that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but stuff that we know we appreciate.”
Stephen Tampus also contributed by breaking down Campbell Hall’s defense and with his shooting ability.
Scoring the last four points of the third quarter, Saugus overtook the Vikings for a 50-46 lead.
Trading basket-for-basket, both teams left it all out on the court in the fourth quarter. Perez and McIntyre came out on fire hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to keep the Vikings at bay.
Perez finished with 22 points.
Going back-and-forth, Saugus held a slim 66-65 lead with under 30 seconds to go in the game. After Campbell Hall’s Jabari Walker got fouled and sunk both free-throws, Saugus held on for one last possession with 12.1 seconds to go.
After a Saugus timeout, McIntyre inbounded the ball to Tampus. Tampus dribbled to the top of the key, driving to his left with just seconds remaining, Tampus put up a floater that flushed in to give Saugus the 68-67 lead.
“I just knew I had to pick it up because my two scorers were getting face-guarded and I had to pick it up,” Tampus said.
The Vikings would get one more chance with .5 seconds left, but didn’t even get up a shot attempt, falling to the Centurions.
“That was huge, but we train for those moment and he hit it at the right time,” Espinoza said. “It might not have been falling the whole game but he hit it when it was big.”
Saugus plays Granada Hills Charter at 7 p.m. at Heritage Christian on Saturday to finish up The Warrior Classic.