Head Coach Joe Bertrand was hoping his Saugus High School basketball team could earn a first-round home game in the Div. 3 state playoff tournament. But the Sachems had to settle for a spot one number below what would have made them a host team in the Round of 32.
As it turns out, 17th-seeded Saugus (13-7) is scheduled to face the No. 16 Seekonk Warriors on the road Friday at 7 p.m. The Warriors (12-8) play in the South Coast Conference and, in the time leading up to the game, the Sachems are trying to discover as much as possible about their upcoming opponent.
“We are using this week to prepare ourselves and find out as much information on them as we can,” said Bertrand of his squad’s lengthy time off following the regular-season finale nearly two weeks ago. He added that the long trip to Seekonk will provide a challenge.
“We’re working on being mentally prepared for the hour-and-a-half bus ride, with it potentially taking two hours on Friday afternoon,” Bertrand pointed out. “I want the kids to sit back and enjoy the moment. A lot of teams had their season come to an end over February break and throughout this week.”
After missing the postseason last year, Saugus has scored some significant achievements this winter. The Sachems captured the first-place trophy at the David Green Memorial Tournament at Winthrop back in December and finished first in the Northeastern Conference’s Lynch Division.
Led by senior players Ben Tapia-Gately, Max Anajjar, Josh Osawe, Chris Flynn and Isaiah Garcia, the Sachems are looking to advance to the final 16. “We’re lucky enough to still be playing basketball,” said Bertrand. “Our focus is to play together and stick together in the tough road environment [at Seekonk].”
Pressure basketball should not be an issue for Saugus, as the Sachems have played in several close, down-to-the-wire contests this season. They have come out on top in a number of them, including overtime wins against Lynn Tech and KIPP Academy and a one-point OT loss at Lynn Tech.