THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – Friday, March 1, 2019 Page 9 Saugus boys make Spartans earn 1st-round win By Greg Phipps T he Saugus boys’ basketball team wasn’t given much of a chance to pull off a mighty upset against No. 1 seed St. Mary’s on Tuesday night in the first round of the Div. 3 North playoffs at the Tony Conigliaro Gymnasium in Lynn. The result was as expected. The Spartans came away with a 74-56 victory, but the underdog Sachems acquitted themselves well and made the hosts work for it. Sporting just four regularseason wins coming into the contest, 16th-seeded Saugus was a surprise qualifier for the tournament, and it looked as if the game might become an overwhelmingly one-sided affair when the Spartans, who had 20 victories in the regular season, built up a 21-8 lead after one quarter. Saugus quickly flipped that script by producing an 11-3 run to open the second quarter and pulling within five at 24-19. St. Mary’s regrouped (going on a 15-2 tear) and reestablished a comfortable 39-21 advantage by halftime. That margin increased to more than 20 points early in the third before the resilient Sachems once again fought back and climbed within 50-34 by outscoring the Spartans 13-11 in the quarter. Sophomore guard Joe Lusso was the biggest offensive force for Saugus, constantly putting pressure on the St. Mary’s defense by penetrating to the basket. He finished with 16 points. Christian Correia added nine points and five boards, and Kenny Okoye collected five points and five rebounds. “Obviously, St. Mary’s is the number one team for a reason, and they showed it tonight,” Saugus head coach Mark Bertrand told the press after the game. “Our guys played really hard and never gave up. No one gave us a chance in this one, but we earned the right to be here, and we went out and showed everyone that we can compete out here.” In the end, the Spartans, with their clear size advantage, were just too much to overcome. The game got heated at times, as the Sachems were willing to play physical, make the hosts work for their points and not give up easy baskets. Saugus finished with a 4-17 record but that could be seen as misleading. The 2019-20 season does look promising, with just about all of the team’s regulars returning next year. Jake Morgante, Kyle Cocorochio and James Moise are the three departing seniors. “I couldn’t be happier with how things went this year,” Bertrand said. “We have a very young team and the future is very bright. We’re getting there, and having an experience like this is only going to help our guys going forward.” Saugus guard Joe Lusso goes for this shot attempt against two St. Mary’s defenders on Tuesday night. Lusso scored 16 points in the Sachems’ first-round playoff loss to the top-seeded Spartans. Christian Correia tries to beat Spartan guard Sammy Batista off the dribble in Tuesday’s playoff tilt. Fully Licensed & Insured Emergency Service Available 24/7 SPECIALIZING IN KITCHEN & BATHROOM REMODELING Saugus’s Jake Morgante goes to the floor for a loose ball with teammate Nicholas Israelson hovering in the background. (Advocate photos by Greg Phipps) * Heating * Cooling * Electric * Tile All Estimates Done By Owner * Drain Cleaning 781-FIX-PIPE (349-7473) • crnplumbing@gmail.com WE WORK FOR YOU! * Have your car repaired by Real Manufacturer Certiified Technicians * An I-CAR GOLD CLASS SHOP Highest Certificate in the Repair Industry * Premier Insurance Co. Collision Repair Shop for Geico, Liberty Mutual, Metlife, Progressive and more! * Over 30 Years of putting families back on the Road Safe & Fast! * ATLAS Stands Behind All Repairs with a Limited Lifetime Warranty 1605 North Shore Road, Revere * 781-284-1200 Visit us at: www.AtlasAutobody.com or call (781) 284-1200 to schedule your appointment today!

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