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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL HART TOURNAMENT : Hinrichs Lifts Sluggish Saugus With Clutch Shots

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Some games you just don’t deserve to win. And Saugus High did not appear deserving Thursday against Arroyo Grande in the opening round of the Hart basketball tournament.

Yet Christmas came late for the Centurions. Senior guard Josh Hinrichs made two clutch baskets and a free throw in the final 70 seconds to lift Saugus (8-2) to a 48-45 come-from-behind victory.

“We were careless, lethargic . . . we missed layups,” Saugus Coach John Clark said. “If ever there was a case where a team didn’t deserve to win, this is it.”

Hinrichs’ three-point basket from the corner, coupled with a basket and foul shot with 43 seconds to play, erased an ugly fourth-quarter performance by the Centurions who trailed most of the game and appeared finished with 1 minute 25 seconds to play and Arroyo Grande ahead, 45-40.

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In the final five minutes, the Centurions missed two easy layups and guard Steve Tampus was whistled for a backcourt traveling violation with no one near him.

Finally, forward Chris Hernandez was well off the mark on two free throws with Saugus trailing by two points.

Meanwhile, Arroyo Grande (6-3), which made eight of 10 shots from the field in the third quarter, made only two of nine in the final period.

Hinrichs, Saugus’ three-point specialist, spent most of the game with a hand in his face. His first shot was blocked and he made only one field goal in the first half.

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Hinrichs finished with 12 points, including two of the team’s four three-point baskets.

Arroyo Grande still had a chance to win with 11 seconds to play and Saugus ahead, 46-45. But guard Melvin Boykin, who matched Tampus’ 15 points for game-high honors, missed a hurried short jump shot in the lane.

Tampus, who scored seven points in the fourth quarter, grabbed the rebound and dribbled the length of the floor for a layup that beat the buzzer.

Arroyo Grande, which fell to Saugus, 59-51, in the first round of last season’s Southern Section playoffs, overpowered the smaller Centurions inside and began the fourth quarter with a 37-31 lead.

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In other first-round games:

Hart 78, Palmdale 57--Senior forward Erik Stephens scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Indians (5-6), the defending tournament champions.

Hart center Ali Peek added 17 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

Erick Stone and Zurick Sellers each scored 16 points for Palmdale.

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Canyon 57, Fresno Roosevelt 55--Canyon’s Joe Ferguson, who scored a game-high 25 points, made a layup with 50 seconds to play to give the Cowboys (6-4) a 55-53 lead in a seesaw battle.

Brent Stout followed with another layup with 22 seconds to play to give the Cowboys a four-point lead.

Cabrillo 67, Antelope Valley 65 (OT)--Andy Pike scored 17 points to lead Cabrillo. Carlton Williams and Dale Shell each contributed 14 points for the Conquistadores.

For Antelope Valley, Kevin Kirkland scored 26 points, Matt Carrier scored 11 and Troy Couttee added 10.

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Culver City 69, Glendale 64--Shani Kennedy scored 26 points to lead Culver City. Tremaine Fowlkes contributed 19 and Louie Bailey scored 11 for Culver City.

For Glendale, David Sofro and Mike Wright each scored 18 points and Hai Tran added 10.

San Fernando 43, Quartz Hill 39--Dan Prince, a senior guard, scored 19 points to lead Quartz Hill.

San Fernando sophomore guard Javier Ramos scored 12 and Jerome Elliot scored 11.

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St. Francis 48, Beverly Hills 45--Paul Silva, a senior guard, scored 16 points to lead St. Francis.

Brett Christoffersen scored 11 and Tony Carruthers scored 10 for St. Francis. David Shumsky led Beverly Hills with 12 points and Luke Buffum scored 11.

West Bakersfield 83, Fresno Central 58--Eleven players scored for West Bakersfield--three in double figures--as the Vikings improved to 10-0.

Six-foot-five, 260-pound junior center Makuel Williams scored a game-high 23 points.

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