Saugus boys hoops falters in first round for second consecutive year

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ROSEMEAD –– The Saugus boys basketball team 2019-20 season came to an end in the first round of the playoffs for the second year in a row after falling to San Gabriel Academy 59-49 in a CIF-Southern Section Division 2AA playoff game at Rosemead High School on Wednesday.

Senior Adrian McIntyre led the Centurions with 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists and his partner in crime Nathan Perez chipped in with 13 points and three steals.

“It was a tough team,” McIntyre said. “They are big, strong, physical and we gave it everything we had. But you know, we just came up a little short with the height disadvantage.”

San Gabriel Academy (22-6 overall) began the game going to their strengths, inside scoring, and their 6-foot-10 star forward/center Boubacar Coulibaly, who scored four straight points, all inside the paint.

Couilbaly finished with 12 points and was a nightmare on both ends of the boards.

Saugus (19-9) knew that their game plan was to dump the ball inside, but just couldn’t get position and gave up easy layups and putbacks throughout the first quarter and into the second quarter, trailing 19-8 after one quarter.

“I can’t fault their effort,” said Saugus head coach Alfredo Manzano. “We played our tails off, we just couldn’t make shots and we couldn’t get rebounds in the first half. You never know, you start seeing two or three shots going in and we might be right there. I think in the first half we gave up a lot of offensive rebound and put backs. We played a really tough preseason so this isn’t new for us. Shots just didn’t fall for us.”

Camron Nale used his 6-foot-9 frame to try and get position on the Eagles roster that features three players 6-foot-7 or taller and got the Cents scoring in the second quarter.

But halfway through the quarter, two questionable foul calls on Nale, who appeared to cleanly block the two shot attempts, made the team switch up tactics.

McIntyre closed out the half with two 3-pointers, but the Cents still trailed 40-22 at the half.

“When we got down so much, we had to do something different,” Alfredo Manzano said. “We gave up size for speed, pressing and quicker defense.”

Saugus employed their new defense to begin the second half and it initially looked like it would work as Kyle Santiago and Christian Manzano forced two San Gabriel Academy turnovers on their first two possessions.

“We made little runs, there was a point where we got five stops in a row and we didn’t score at all. That was part of the defense, trying to create chaos, we just couldn’t hit our shots.”

McIntyre was relied on heavily on both ends of the floor guarding the much bigger Coulibaly, and finished the third quarter scoring seven of the team’s nine points in the frame.

“I knew it could be my last one, so i wanted to give it all I had,” McIntyre said. “I wanted to go out knowing that I had no regrets in the last game, I wanted to do everything I could to get the win, but we came up short.”

Saugus sophomore Davis White was a good spark off the bench for the Cents in the second half scoring all seven of his points in the fourth. He added four rebounds.

White’s 6-foot-5 frame gave McIntyre a break from guarding Coulibaly and it paid off as he forced him to turn the ball over on the first two possessions after the switch. 

In the end, San Gabriel Academy used their length and size to their advantage and held off the Saugus run to advance to the CIF-SS Division 2AA second round where they will play St. Francis. Day and time to be determined.

Hart 75, Covina 71 (OT)

The Indians (17-12 overall) got huge contributions from freshman Brady Dunlap with 28 points, Ty Penberthy with 21 points and Dillon Barrientos with 12 points in the win over Covina (19-10).

Hart plays Laguna Beach in the CIF-SS Division 3AA second round at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Trinity Classical Academy 80, Garden Street Academy 22

The Knights (17-6 overall) were led by John-Cervantes King with 21 points and Peyton Frazier had 19 points.

Kyle Fields chipped in 13 and Ryan Hand had 10 points off the bench.

Trinity plays the winner of River Springs/Lake Arrowhead Christian in the CIF-SS Division 5A second round at 7 p.m. on Friday.

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