SAUGUS — The Saugus girls basketball team earned a 44-29 victory over Northeastern Conference opponent English at John W. Towers Gymnasium Thursday night.
Sachems coach Mark Schruender was happy to see his team execute its game plan against the Bulldogs.
“We rebounded really well,” Schruender said. “Also, we talked about going into the game that English is a good transition team. We really wanted to control transition on both ends. I thought we did a great job getting back and pushing the pace ahead. Rebounding and transition was something we emphasized and executed tonight.”
Senior Alessia Salzillo led all scorers with 13 points. She also swiped four steals and hauled in three rebounds.
“She’s a tough kid,” Schruender said. “We took her out early in the game just to get her settled. She wasn’t rattled at all, she was totally calm. We put her back in a minute later and she played great tonight. We’ve gotten used to that. We’re a little bit spoiled and she’s a great player.”
English struggled to execute offensively, scoring just 15 points through the first three quarters.
“I was happy with the effort but we just can’t put the ball in the hoop,” Bulldogs coach Mackenzie Charles said. “That’s two games in a row against good teams. Our league’s good and we’re on a tough stretch playing the top teams in our league but it’s good for us. I got some more girls some minutes and it’s good for them.
“We’re figuring it out as a team,” Charles added. “I’m seeing individuals grow but we have to grow as a team and that’s just the process of it. We have some young girls and older girls that are trying to learn. We learned a lot tonight.”
Early baskets by Taylor Bogdanski (six points) and Kiley Ronan (five points) helped the Sachems run out to a 5-1 lead, but English was able to rally back. Lay-ups by Mashayla Johnson (four points, four rebounds) and Maylin Echevarria (five points) helped the Bulldogs tie the game at 7-7. Saugus’ Marissa Stockwell responded on the next possession with a key 3-pointer and the Sachems never looked back.
Salzillo helped the Sachems extend their lead with eight points in the second quarter, including a steal and lay-up to put Saugus well ahead 31-11 at the half.
Saugus was able to rotate in several different groups with a late lead in the second half. English outscored the Sachems 14-6 in the final quarter thanks to six points from freshman Kylia Reynoso but it was too little too late.
“We just wanted to play hard,” Charles said of the Bulldog’s late effort. “That’s what we were looking for. I was trying to find five girls that were just going to sell out and leave it on the court. I give them credit, in the second half they played hard.”
The Bulldogs will host Revere next Wednesday (7) while the Sachems (7-6) will hope to keep their winning streak at Medford next Tuesday (7).
“The kids have bought into the idea that when you come to practice we need to get better and we need to block out the idea of what happened the day before whether it was bad or good,” Schruender said. “They really do a great job of focusing in on that moment and recognizing the team they’re about to play, their strengths and weaknesses and getting ready for that team. We’ve had tough games, we’ve had great games, but we’ve stayed humble. That’s a credit to their character.”