It's only December and it's just a preseason tournament, but the Saugus High basketball team was in midseason form at Beverly Hills High on Tuesday.
Clutch free throws, good defense, intelligent play--all were in evidence as Saugus beat Buena, 66-60, in a first-round game of the 50th Beverly Hills tournament.
Saugus (4-0), fresh off the championship of its own tournament last week, will face Loyola in a second-round game today at 3:30 p.m.
Senior guard Josh Hinrichs scored a team-high 24 points for Saugus and made eight of nine free throws. Saugus made 28 of 35 free throws.
Senior guard Steve Tampus added 19 points and was nine for nine from the free-throw line. And Tampus was hot went it counted, scoring eight points in the final two minutes to help Saugus pull away from a 55-55 tie.
Even senior forward Chris Hernandez got into the act. An erratic free-throw shooter, Hernandez made five of six free throws in the fourth quarter and finished with 15 points.
Buena (2-2) couldn't match that consistency, despite a splendid effort from senior guard Lance Fay. Fay carried the Bulldogs with a game-high 28 points before fouling out with a minute to play.
But Fay missed all five of his free throws, including three in the second half.
"They shot free throws very well and they controlled the tempo," Buena Coach Glen Hannah said. "We'd rather play in the 80s and they held it to the 60s."
Buena will play Redondo Beach in a consolation-round game today at 2 p.m.
In other tournament games:
Long Beach Wilson 67, Rio Mesa 62--Jason MacLean scored a team-high 17 points, but missed a potential game-tying, three-point basket with 17 seconds remaining in a first-round game.
Jade Peterson added 13 points for Rio Mesa (0-1).
St. Bernard 69, Westlake 53--Joey Leavitt scored 19 points to lead St. Bernard (3-2) in a first-round game.
Marcus McCoy's 19 points and 12 points from Chris Keldorf led the way for Westlake (1-3), which will play Rio Mesa today at 3:30 p.m. in a consolation game.