Valencia holds off Saugus 62-59 in Foothill League opener

Junior point guard Noah Veluzant’s scoring and passing propelled Valencia to a 62-59 victory over Saugus on Tuesday night in an entertaining Foothill League opener at Valencia.

Veluzat finished with 24 points to help Valencia (12-4), which had a hard time putting away the Centurions (12-6). Valencia held a lead as large as 11 points in the second half, but Saugus found itself in position to tie the game. The Centurions had the ball with 9.7 seconds left. Valencia, however, did not let the Centurions get a good look at the basket, and the game ended with a steal.

Nate Perez finished with 19 points for Saugus and Adrian McIntrye had 14. Veluzat was given room to maneuver because Saugus was focused on stopping leading scorer Jake Hlywiak, who started the game one for eight shooting and finished with 10 points. Junior Camacho connected on a key three for Valencia in the final minute and finished with 13 points.

9.7 seconds left. Saugus down by three to Valencia.

“It was no surprise they were able to stay close,” Veluzat said of Saugus, whose players wore “Saugus Strong” T-shirts in warmups.

Both schools’ student sections were loud and enthusiastic in an intense neighborhood matchup.

“Great atmosphere,” Veluzat said.

Camacho three for Valencia. But then Perez three for Saugus. 22 seconds left. Valencia by three.

21 points for Noah Veluzat of Valencia. In right spot.

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