Facing a program that won 17 games last season appeared to be a major challenge for the Saugus High School boys’ basketball team entering its 2022-23 season opener at Swampscott Tuesday night. As it turned out, the Sachems were up to the task and ended up pulling off an impressive come-from-behind 59-54 victory.
Saugus trailed by four entering the fourth quarter before outscoring the host Big Blue by nine points over the final eight minutes to come out on top. Cam Soroko produced a strong effort, connecting on four three-pointers and finishing with a team-high 16 points. Saugus hit some key shots down the stretch, led by Soroko, Isaiah Rodriguez (10 points), Ben Tapia-Gately (eight points), and Isaiah Garcia (eight).
Saugus got off to a fast start and led 18-9 at one stage of the first quarter. Swampscott then went on a 13-0 surge to take a 22-18 lead early in the second period. But a basket from beyond the arc by Soroko and a hoop from Braden Faiella helped stem the Swampscott run and kept Saugus within a point at 27-26 at halftime.
Four points from Max Anajjar, Tapia-Gately, and Soroko keyed the strong start for the Sachems, who led 18-14 after the first quarter. Doing solid work on the boards were Tapia-Gately with eight rebounds, Anajjar with six, and Garcia with five.
Tapia-Gately also dished out nine assists while Anajjar finished with four assists and seven steals, to go along with his seven points. The 1-0 Sachems are scheduled to host Winthrop this Friday at 7 p.m. at the Saugus High gym. They are then back on the road Monday for a contest at Lynn Tech.
Tuesday’s win had to be a confidence-booster for head coach Joe Bertrand and the Sachems, who defeated a Swampscott team that scored 17 victories, advanced in the playoffs and were a highly-rated squad last season. Saugus did not qualify for the postseason in 2021-22.
Saugus girls hold on to win season opener
The Saugus High School girls’ basketball team under head coach Mark Schruender held on to win its season opener at home Tuesday night. The Sachems stormed out to a big 26-9 lead after the first half but had to weather a strong comeback by Swampscott to come away with a close 36-33 triumph.
The 1-0 girls travel to play Winthrop this Friday and resume action next week when they host Triton Regional on Monday (scheduled 7 p.m. tipoff).