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It doesn’t get easier for Canyon

The Cowboys boys basketball team hangs on for its third straight close victory in Foothill League pl

Posted: January 19, 2010 10:12 p.m.
Updated: January 20, 2010 4:30 a.m.

The Centurions played two halves of pounding, physical basketball with the Canyon boys basketball team.

In the end, the Cowboys were just too strong in a 57-48 win Tuesday at Saugus.

“We got it done with good old-fashioned defense,” said Canyon head coach Chad Phillips. “We struggled there at the beginning and give credit to Saugus for that. They played tough.”

But the Cowboys seemed to wear down the Centurions, and in the second half, the Cowboys’ edge on the boards was too much for Saugus to overcome.

Canyon forward Wesley Bartole led the charge by scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, as Canyon (14-5, 3-0) stayed perfect in Foothill League play.

Both teams got off to slow starts offensively, and the score was tied 7-7 after the first quarter.

A pair of baskets by Bartole gave Canyon a 14-12 lead with five minutes left in the second quarter, but he got plenty of help from his teammates.

“I’ve been telling everybody that we’re 14-deep,” Bartole said. “Everyone on this team can score and contribute.”

The scoring came all over for the Cowboys. Tere Adams finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Brian Nnaoji added 10 points, eight rebounds and three steals.

But it was Canyon’s size that seemed to give Saugus serious problems on the boards, and eventually it was something the Centurions couldn’t overcome.

In the second quarter, Saugus turned to its 3-point arsenal to neutralize Canyon, but the Cowboys were able to follow suit.

Saugus’ Jeremy Gatewood hit a pair of 3-pointers, but Canyon guard Kris Quant answered with two of his own from beyond the arc.

The Centurions (13-6, 1-2) managed to keep pace for a half, but Canyon started to force turnovers that led to easy points for Bartole and Adams.

When the 3-pointers stopped falling for Saugus, the trouble began.

“We just did not do a good job of boxing out,” said Saugus head coach Derek Ballard. “And when you don’t do that against Canyon, that’s a loss. That was the game we wanted to play, they just did a little better job than us.”

Saugus junior Brad Buchignani converted a Cowboy turnover into a clutch 3-pointer at the other end to cut Canyon’s lead to 34-28 with three minutes left in the third. He finished the game with 11 points.

But the Cowboys were able to push their lead to 42-33 heading into the fourth quarter before Buchignani led his team on another run.

Saugus and Canyon traded baskets before Gatewood hit another clutch shot from distance to close the gap to within 49-45 with three minutes left in the fourth.

Adams answered with a free throw and Saugus guard Jawhar Purdy came back with two more at the charity stripe as the Centurions trailed 51-48. But it was as close as Saugus would get.

While Saugus’ defense managed a turnover to get the ball back with an opportunity to tie with 90 seconds left, the Cowboys forced an ill-advised shot on the next possession and managed to hang on for the win.

“If we get the stops, then we like to think we’ll get enough opportunities to score points in transition,” Phillips said.



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