Saugus basketball team sails to 11th victory on senior night
By Julian Cardillo
Senior night turned out to be a banner affair for the Saugus girls’ basketball team, who celebrated the evening with a 60-44 victory over Salem. The Sachems took an 18-10 lead after one quarter and hardly looked back, though Salem hovered around by keeping it a seven-point game at some points.
“They’re pesky, very scrappy,” said Saugus coach Mark Schruender of Salem. “I thought we controlled the game in the second half to put it out of reach for them.”
Alessia Salzillo led Sachems’ scoring with 21 points. Marissa Stockwell had nine, as did Allie Kotkowski. In addition, Saugus had 10 different players record at least one point.
“Kotkowski has been putting in great performances for us as of late,” Schruender said. “With Alessia, scoring only tells one part of her story. Her best attribute is on defense because she ignites the offense in transition. I also can’t leave out Rachel Nazzaro, who has been an instrumental leader.”
Saugus is now 11-7 on the season and trying to improve on seeding for the state tournament. For Schruender, the record is a mixed bag. “It’s kind of up and down,” he said. “We’re playing some of our best basketball now, and I like the way we’ve been warming up for games. It’s little things like that that make a huge difference.”
Saugus – on a three-game winning streak – is getting set for a competitive tournament at St. Mary’s on Sunday and Monday. They open with Arlington Catholic and, depending on that result, will play either Groton-Dunstable or Pentucket. “We’ll have our hands full,” said Schruender. “But it’ll be a fun challenge.”
Saugus boys’ basketball team clinches state tournament berth
By Julian Cardillo
The Saugus basketball team may have more losses than wins this season, but it nevertheless has secured a spot in the state tournament via the Sullivan rule as the best division three team in the Northeastern Conference (NEC). Saugus’s fourth victory of the season, which came on Friday against Swampscott, was enough to propel the Sachems into the post-season.
That said, the Sachems had to do their fair share of battling, as they entered the final quarter down by 10. “We were actually down before the fourth quarter started,” said Saugus coach Mark Bertrand. “I just told them that this was a must-win. This isn’t how we wanted to end. It’s time to lay it on the line and sacrifice body and everything to get stops and make plays.”
Bertrand’s players clearly listened to his pleas. Joe Lusso led the way with 19 points, 10 of which came in the fourth quarter, to turn the tables. Mike Mabee and Vincent Cirame both pitched in 12, while Mason Nickolas had 11, Christian Correia had eight and Jake Morgante had seven.
“We were solid on offense,” Bertrand said. “We really responded in the fourth. I thought Mabee’s leadership was excellent, and Cirame, Correia and Nickolas helped us on both sides of the court with the way they rebounded.”
“With two freshmen and a sophomore out there, it’s not easy,” Bertrand added. “The seniors get it, but that competitive setting is new to younger players.”
Saugus has a couple of games left in the regular season to try and improve their state tournament seeding. They’re 4-14, which is modest, though Bertrand believes the entire season has been a learning experience for his team. “In a lot of games, we’ve taken series off or plays off, and you just can’t do that,” said Bertrand. “Slowly the younger guys are learning that. The seniors have done a great job leading by example on staying focused and always competing.”
Saugus sports round-up
By Julian Cardillo
The Saugus girls’ hockey team are padding their stats as they improved to 10-4-1 on the season last Saturday by beating Marblehead, 3-2. Goals from Sophia Kennedy, Caitie O’Shea and McKayla Norris propelled the Sachems to victory.
Saugus have three games left in the season, and coach Anthony Martucci believes two more wins will secure them home advantage in their first post-season game. “We want that home game,” Martucci said. “But I’m pretty happy. I think we need to sharpen a few things, but if we tighten up we’ll be in good shape.”
Track & Field
Six Saugus trackletes have qualified for the Division 5 state championship. Ava Fiorino qualified in the 600, and Serena Cacciola qualified in the 55; Cacciola also qualified for the 4 x 200 relay with Jenni Costa, Jada Okoye and Ava Fiorino.