Since returning from the COVID-induced three-week layoff in January, the Saugus High School girls basketball team has made a significant turn for the better. Having lost three of their first four games prior to the onset of the COVID surge in late December, the Sachems went on to go 11-5 to finish 12-8 overall and earn a spot in the postseason tournament.
The regular season ended on a high note when Saugus rolled to a 55-39 home win over Swampscott on Tuesday. As she has done on numerous occasions this season, senior co-captain Fallon Millerick produced a double-digit scoring effort with 18 points. More than 50 points is a high-scoring game for the Sachems, as the team has been involved in its share of low-scoring, defensive battles this winter.
Also contributing to the scoresheet in Tuesday’s victory were Peytom DiBiasio and Ashleen Escobar with nine points each. Millerick was the lone Sachem in double figures, as Saugus put forth a balanced attack on offense. The Sachems now await to find out their playoff seed and who and where they will play in the opening round.
Saugus could also have ended up with a better overall record had it not fallen on the short side of some close games. A three-point loss at Beverly (a contest they led for a good portion) two weeks ago and last Thursday’s two-point defeat at Lynn Classical are prime examples.
In the loss to Lynn Classical, which improved to 15-4, the contest was a back-and-forth affair. It would go down to the wire and into overtime before the Rams held off the Sachems for a 53-51 win. Saugus got the best of Lynn Classical back on Jan. 24 when it beat the Rams 51-40 at home.
A heroic comeback by the Sachems forced the game into overtime. Trailing 47-41 with just over two minutes left in regulation, Saugus scored six unanswered points. A free throw from Samantha Shea, a basket from Escobar and three-pointer by co-captain April Aldred with a little more than 20 seconds on the clock tied it up, and eventually forced the extra period.
Head coach Mark Schruender told the press afterward that it was a game of runs that concluded with the other team producing the final and decisive surge. “Unfortunately for us, they made the last [run],” he said.