Coming off a long layoff due the current COVID-19 surge, the Saugus High School boys’ basketball team was probably a bit rusty after having not played a game in three weeks. The Sachems finally resumed their season on Tuesday night at Beverly, and the result was a sizable loss at the hands of the unbeaten Panthers. Saugus had not taken to the court since a 60-55 home win over Winthrop back on Dec. 20. The Sachems entered Tuesday’s contest with a 3-0 record, but host Beverly proved to be a little more than the Sachems could deal with – at least on this night – as the Panthers rolled to a convincing 90-44 Northeastern Conference win.
The Sachems actually scored the first five points of the game before Beverly stormed back and built up a 21-12 lead after one quarter. Saugus was still in the game, but not for long, as the Panthers unleashed a suffocating defense to go along with a relentless transition attack that led to numerous breakaway baskets and open shots from the perimeter.
A noticeable size advantage for the home team didn’t hurt either. The Panthers outscored Saugus, 24-9, in the second period to go into the half ahead 45-21. The hosts added 45 more points over the final two quarters to run away with it. The duo of Dylan Crowley and Rook Landman led Beverly with 17 points each by the end of the contest.
For the Sachems, Tyrone Manderson managed a team-high 16 points but found it difficult in the paint, as the Panthers continuously converged on Manderson every time he received the ball. The Sachems also struggled with their outside shooting, as their misses often led to fast breakouts the other way by Beverly.
The only other Saugus player in double figures was Ben Tapia-Gately, who netted 10 points, including an early three-pointer. In all, the Sachems had no answer for Beverly’s offensive onslaught. The Panthers improved to 6-0 with the win.
Meanwhile, the 3-1 Sachems will have another week in between games. They host Greater Lawrence Tech next Tuesday night (scheduled 7 p.m. tipoff). Saugus notched an 18-point victory at Greater Lawrence in the season opener.
Head Coach Joe Bertrand hopes his squad can repeat that season-opening effort next Tuesday and get the Sachems back on the winning track.