Saugus High guard Rick Bilek's two free throws with eight seconds left finally extinguished Hart's late comeback bid and preserved a 79-78 nonleague victory Friday at Hart.
"There was no way I was going to miss those free throws. No way," said Bilek, who led the Centurions with 21 points, 16 in the second half. Bilek converted four three-point shots and was 7 of 8 from the line as Saugus, the Southern Section 3-A Division champion a season ago, improved its record to 2-6.
The Centurions appeared to have the game clinched when they built a 77-69 lead with a minute to play. But a three-point basket by Darren Hinman and a three-point play by Curt Marzinzik cut the Saugus lead to 77-75 with 13 seconds to play.
Bilek was fouled on the inbounds play and sank both free throws, then Hinman converted a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Guard Steve Valenzuela, who led Hart with 27 points, hit 6 of 11 from three-point range. Hinman (15 points), Brian Allen (12) and Marzinzik (11) also scored in double figures. Marzinzik led all rebounders with 13.