Saugus Centurion boys basketball is on track to reach its goal of a 10-2 league record after a Tuesday home victory over the Canyon Cowboys.
The Centurions won the game 72-57, behind 29 points from senior guard Max Tengan.
“I definitely could’ve had more,” Tengan said. “I missed some easy shots that I should be making. But I’m happy with our performance.”
Saugus (12-8, 5-1) would start off with an 11-0 run with three different Centurions hitting 3-point shots to pull away early.
Canyon (11-10, 2-4) was able to settle in and get back into the game right away. Senior Lincoln Phillips scored 10 of his 19 points in the opening quarter to keep the Cowboys close.
The Cowboys also got a huge boost from senior Daniel Goshen, who caught fire with four straight 3-pointers to close the gap. A 3-ball from Carson Rodi would give Canyon its first lead since going up 3-0 and the Cowboys were rolling.
Rodi racked up six points, five rebounds and four blocks.
Both teams had simple game plans of taking the other team’s focal point out of the equation on offense. Tengan and Phillips were both met with some fierce defense and dozens of double teams.
“Our game plan was to take Max away and that didn’t happen tonight,” said Canyon head coach Ali Monfared. “He made a couple threes from the volleyball line that were contested that we’ll live with, but then he also came off on ball screens and handoffs that we didn’t hedge. He was too comfortable.”
The Centurion point guard still had a great game but the team received a solid boost from forward Justin Perez, who finished his night with 17 points and nine rebounds.
“It’s been a year so far,” Perez said. “We’ve had ups and downs at times, but we pulled through today.”
Canyon flirted with the lead again in the third quarter but another 3-point barrage from Saugus would be enough for Saugus to pull away.
The Cowboys kept fighting to score throughout the game but the Centurions dominated the rebound game with 14 offensive boards to come out on top.
“I think it was rebounding,” Perez said on the difference maker in Tuesday’s contest. “I think we did a good job of rebounding at times. And then I think we pulled through on defense. We could talk more at times but I think we did an amazing job on the boards and on the screens. So, we did a good job.”
Canyon won’t be satisfied with the loss but after last week’s 40-28 loss at Hart, the team took a positive step on Tuesday.
“Ever since the game again on Friday against Hart, we just talked about being more together and communicating more,” Monfared said. “And I thought tonight was a step in the right direction. I thought we battled and played really, really hard. Unfortunately, we didn’t rebound enough in the second half to finish the job. But it was a step in the right direction and we’re always preaching getting better and I thought tonight, overall, we did that.”
Saugus’ goal at the beginning of the season was to finish 10-2 in league and the team is right on track for the mark. The Centurions headed to Valencia on Friday to begin the second round of league play. The Vikings and Centurions were scheduled to take the floor at 6:30 p.m.
Canyon returned home for another matchup with the West Ranch Wildcats. West Ranch would be playing for its 30th consecutive Foothill League win while the Cowboys need a big win to get back on track. Canyon was scheduled to host the Cats Friday at 6:30 p.m.
“We still quote-unquote control our own destiny if we win the games we need to win,” Monfared said after Tuesday’s game. “We’re not looking past Friday. We’re looking forward to Friday. We’re looking forward to playing at home and they’re a great team but we believe we’re a great team as well. We’re gonna just stay together and play team basketball and see where that takes us.”