For the past three seasons, the winner of the biannual Swampscott-Saugus matchup has been the home team. And on Tuesday night, the tradition continued.
In their last home game, the Swampscott Big Blue seniors combined for 57 points, taking down the Saugus Sachems, 62-52, in what some considered Swampscott’s best performance of the year. Captain Stephen Bowers led the way with a strong 30 point performance, while Val Temin added 17.
Swampscott took the lead early, and never gave it up. The Big Blue began the game on a seven minute, 11-4 run led by Bowers, and never gave Saugus another chance to come back. Swampscott outscored the Sachems, 19-10, in the second quarter, which opened up a 32-20 lead at halftime.
Although Saugus came out strong to begin the third quarter, Swampscott was able to maintain its composure and prevail. Saugus opened up the second half with an 8-3 run that lasted 2:42, but Bowers’ eight third quarter points prevented the Sachems from taking the lead. Bowers scored another eight in the third quarter to seal the victory.
The Big Blue played their strongest defense in the first half. Instead of its regular 2-3 zone on defense, Swampscott played man-to-man, and was successful in limiting the Sachems’ ability on the perimeter and down low. Temin was able to lock down Saugus forward Shane Ripley. Ripley, who averages 16 points and 12 rebounds per game, was limited to ten points and did not score in the fourth quarter, thanks to the Swampscott defense. Joe Bertrand, who killed the Big Blue earlier in the year with his three-point shooting, only went 1-6 from behind the three-point-line. Coach Fucile placed Captain Dan Trentsch on Bertrand defensively, who stayed close to Bertrand throughout the night.
On offense, the Big Blue looked energized and versatile. Instead of one man trying to do it by himself, Swampscott was able to effectively move the ball through the Saugus 2-3 zone. Fast break points were rare for the Big Blue, but bad shot selection was even rarer. Swampscott’s offense against the Sachems could have been compared to the Boston Celtics’ current offense without Rajon Rondo, which has been very successful recently. Although Bowers scored a game-high 30 points, all of his shots came off strong passes and picks set by teammates, most notably Josh Joseph and Temin.
The Big Blue head up north on Wednesday to take on the Gloucester Fishermen, while they travel to Marblehead on Thursday to finish the season against the Magicians. Swampscott was forced to play three games in a row this week due to the blizzard, which postponed Swampscott’s matchup against Gloucester.