The Saugus High School boys’ basketball team was riding a sturdy winning streak heading into Tuesday night’s home contest against the Top-25 state-ranked Beverly Panthers. As it turned out, Sachems battled hard but couldn’t keep up with the visitors in an eventual 68-41 setback.
As of this week, Beverly was ranked 24th in the state with four losses on its record. It’s not as dominating as the Panthers were last season when they went undefeated until their 20th regular season game. They finished 21-3 overall last winter after being eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.
On the other side, Saugus is a much-improved squad from the team that missed the postseason in 2021-22. The Sachems got a double-digit scoring effort from Ben Tapia-Gately with 14 points. Chris Flynn also had a solid outing with nine points.
Prior to Tuesday’s loss, the Sachems had won four straight, including a come-from-behind 59-50 victory over the Swampscott Big Blue last Friday at home. Much like the season opener the two teams played at Swampscott, which Saugus won by a 59-54 score, the game was a back-and-forth affair.
But it was the Sachems who executed and finished better in the final quarter. Saugus trailed by five late in the third when back-to-back three-pointers by Tapia-Gately and Flynn helped make it a 37-36 Swampscott edge entering the final eight minutes.
Saugus went on to outscore the Big Blue 23-13 in the final quarter to secure its ninth victory of the season. Three Sachems – Tapia-Gately, Isaiah Rodriguez, and Josh Osawe – ended up with 15-point nights. Contributing seven points each to the cause were Max Anajjar and Flynn.
The Sachems sit at 9-4 overall on the season with a home contest against Lynn Tech on tap for Monday (scheduled 7 p.m. start). Saugus lost a close one-point overtime game to the Tigers when the two teams met back in December.