Having dropped its seventh straight contest against Salem last Friday, the Saugus High School boys’ basketball team was in desperate need of a victory when it traveled to face the Essex Tech Hawks on Monday night. The Sachems got what they needed but it wasn’t easy.
Tyrone Manderson, who has established himself as the team’s number one go-to player on offense, finished with a team-high 14 points. But it was his stellar performance in the late stages of the game that was the biggest factor, as the Sachems pulled out a 44-41 overtime win. Manderson saved Saugus from, perhaps, losing for the eighth straight time by knocking down a clutch three-pointer with just 14 seconds remaining in the overtime session. That basket gave the Sachems a 42-41 lead. Saugus added two more points to secure its first win since back on Jan. 25 at Danvers.
The game was a nip-and-tuck affair from the start. It was a tie game, 19-19, at halftime. The Sachems then built a five-point edge after three quarters, 31-26, before the host Hawks battled back to tie it at 35.
Saugus managed just four points in the fourth period. But Manderson’s big shot in OT helped the Sachems escape with the victory, which improved their record to 7-9 overall with four games to go in the regular season. Other players who contributed offensively in Monday’s win were Ryan Anderson with nine points and Ryan Mabee with eight.
In last Friday’s 56-38 home loss to Salem, Manderson netted 16 points, followed by Mark MacEachern with six. The Sachems still have an outside shot at a playoff berth. But they will likely need to go at least 3-1 the rest of the way if they hope to accomplish that.
The final stretch of games began with a contest at Peabody on Thursday (after press deadline). The Sachems then travel to Masconomet on Friday and host Manchester-Essex next Monday, Feb. 21. They finish the regular season on the road against Swampscott next Wednesday, Feb. 23.