By Greg Phipps
Behind by 15 points at halftime, the Saugus High School girls’ basketball team fought back to close to within single digits before coming up short, 61-44, against a very good Peabody squad in Northeastern Conference (NEC) action Tuesday night at the Peabody High School gym. The loss dropped the Sachems to 4-5 on the season while Peabody improved to 6-1.
Tuesday’s contest appeared to be firmly in Peabody’s control during the first half, as the Tanners jumped ahead 15-5 in the first quarter and held a comfortable 31-16 advantage at the half. The Sachems came out with more intensity in quarter three and applied more pressure defensively and were more aggressive on offense. That strategy worked as Saugus was able to force several Peabody turnovers and turn them into points.
The visitors outscored the hosts 17-8 in the third quarter and were right back in the game, trailing by just six points, 39-33, entering the final eight minutes. An 8-0 run by Peabody to open the fourth quarter restored the deficit back to double digits, and the Sachems were unable to produce another serious rally, getting outscored 22-11 in the final stanza.
Saugus head coach Mark Schruender was generally pleased with the effort. “I liked our team’s overall energy. The kids on the bench were really into the game,” he told the press after the contest. “Peabody’s a great team. I don’t have any regrets. I just wish we could’ve started out a little better.”
The Sachems were led by Alessia Salzillo with 11 points and seven steals and Marissa Stockwell with 10 points. Forward Molly Granara made her season debut, coming back from an injury.
On the other side, freshman Oluchi Okananwa came up big for Peabody with 21 points and 10 boards, followed by 18 points from Kristina Rossignoll and 13 rebounds by Catherine Manning.
Saugus is back home on Friday, Jan. 11 to play Gloucester.