kaitlyn wechsler

Tech girls clinch tournament berth

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Jamila Constantine and the Tigers are tournament bound. 

By KATIE MORRISON

LYNN — Needing a win in its final game to make the state tournament, the Lynn Tech girls basketball team had its collective back against the wall, down 25-19 to rival Chelsea at halftime Friday.

But the Tigers gave everything they had over the final 16 minutes of the last game of the regular season, outscoring Chelsea 27-12 in the second half to grab the come-from-behind win and clinch a tournament berth for the first time since 2008.

“I think I’m still in shock, but I’m just so, so happy for them,” Tech coach Kaitlyn Wechsler said. “It’s been a lot of hard work, and the team has been with me all along.

“At halftime, we talked, and we didn’t really change anything basketball-wise,” Wechsler added. “This is what we wanted, and if we’re going to get it, we had to do the little things and play with energy. That’s what we did, and turned the momentum around.”

Friday’s win was arguably the biggest victory for the Tech program in years. In fact, this week has been one for the ages for the Tigers. After a loss Tuesday dropped Tech to 8-10, the Tigers needed to win both of their final games to make the playoffs.

Wednesday on the road, the Tigers took on Minuteman, a team they’d already beaten twice. Wechsler knew that third win would be the toughest, and it was. Tech won in an overtime nail-biter, 40-39, to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The situation Friday couldn’t have been more dramatic. Tech hosted Chelsea, a natural rival being the geographically closest team the Tigers play. The two teams had split the season series to this point, with Tech winning the first game and the Red Devils taking the second.

But the game itself, thankfully for Wechsler and company, was less dramatic, though it did feature a huge second-half surge from Tech.

Chelsea jumped out to a 13-4 lead after a quarter. Senior captain Jamila Constantine, who led the Tigers with 18 points, knocked down the Tigers’ only two field goals of the quarter.

In the second, the Red Devils limited Constantine, but Arianna Anaya took over, laying in three 3-pointers and a layup in the quarter to help Tech close the gap to 25-19.

But Chelsea ran out of gas after halftime, and the Tigers began to dictate the pace of the game, opening up scoring opportunities in transition. Tech only scored nine points in the third, with five coming from Constantine, but it was enough to knot the score at 28 by the end of the period.

The fourth quarter is when Constantine really shined. The captain, who scored nine points in the final quarter, gave Tech its first lead at 30-28 early in the fourth, and the Tigers never looked back. Tech outscored Chelsea, 13-5, to close out the game.

Constantine logged a double-double, adding 12 rebounds with 18 points. Freshman Alondra Sanchez only scored two points, but grabbed 13 rebounds. Anaya added 15 points, and Yafreisis Ruiz provided a spark off the bench with eight rebounds and two blocks.

The win is especially sweet for Constantine and the rest of the Tech seniors. Constantine recalled that in years past, Chelsea used to beat the Tigers by 40 points in some games. This year, Tech took two of three in the season series.

“This feels great, this is everything we’ve worked for,” Constantine said. “This has been a hard, long journey, and I think we surprised a lot of people. This year, (the seniors) wanted to go out with a bang, and some people laughed at us. But we play with pride and love for each other, we have great chemistry. I love these girls like my own family.”

The win is pretty sweet for Wechsler, too. This year’s seniors are the first group the fourth-year coach had as freshmen, and making the tournament is a goal that’s been four years in the making.

“We talked about it as something we’d strive for in the future,” Wechsler said. “We were going to have to build toward it and work for it, and they knew that and stuck with me through all of it. This is for them, really.”

 

School Roundup: Spartans fall to BC High

FILE PHOTO
Damon Maribito scored a goal for the Spartans but BC High took the win. 

By STEVE KRAUSE

The St. Mary’s boys hockey team played one of its best games of the season Wednesday night at Connery Rink, giving BC High, one of the top teams in the state, all it could handle. However, the Spartans fell, 2-1.

“I’m so proud of the way we responded to them,” St. Mary’s coach Mark Lee said. “It was a whole team effort and I’m very impressed with the energy and discipline we showed. This was one of our best games.”

The Spartans held the Eagles scoreless through the first period, but a couple of quick goals in the second, 19 seconds apart, put St. Mary’s in a 2-0 hole.

The home team responded in the third as Damon Maribito cut the lead in half with assists from Nick Napolitano and Mike Desmond. But the Spartans couldn’t find the equalizer.

The shots were even at 22-22, and St. Mary’s didn’t incur a single penalty the entire game. Goalie Andrew LoRusso played very well for St. Mary’s.

The Spartans (12-5-1) will take on Newburyport Friday night at Connery in a makeup game.

Gloucester 4, Lynn 1

John DiFilippo put the Jets on the board in the second period with assists from Steve Patrie and Ryan Clark. The Jets will visit Dracut on Saturday morning, in hopes of getting back on the win column. “We didn’t play well tonight,” Lynn coach Joe Conlon said. “We didn’t have enough jump to stay with them.”

Peabody 7, Beverly 1

The Tanners cruised to a decisive win at home as Ethan LeBlanc led the way with three goals and one assist. Nick Merryman added a goal and three assists, Devin Doucette (1 goal, 1 assist) and Tim January (2 assists) also chipped in, and Jack McKelvey scored his first varsity goal.

Cam Anderson, Zach Rich, Caleb Dollin and Nick Capillo each logged an assist. Aaron McDonnell made 11 saves over two periods, and Connor Christman backstopped Peabody to a scoreless third period, turning away eight shots.

Swampscott 10, Everett 4

Louis Olivieri had three goals and two assists and Mike Johnson and Thomas O’Keefe each added two goals and two assists as the Big Blue routed Everett.

Drew Olivieri also had a big game, recording his first varsity points with a goal and an assist.

Swampscott (16-2) will face off against rival Marblehead Saturday.

North Reading 1, Lynnfield 1

On Senior Night, Lynnfield’s Johnny Percoskie scored on a power play in the third period to tie the game at 1-1. Jaret Simpson and Joey Mack earned the assists on the game-tying goal. “It was definitely one of our best efforts,” Lynnfield coach John Gardner said. “It was Senior Night and that was a big deal because North Reading has kind of been our kryptonite.” Lynnfield (8-7-2) visits Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday. The Pioneers need two points in three games to clinch a spot in the state tournament.  

Danvers 3, Winthrop 2

Conor Purtell scored two goals for the Falcons, who clinched a share of the NEC North with the victory.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Fenwick 73, Gloucester 49

Ryan Veguilla scored 22 points to lead the way for the Crusaders. Fenwick (8-9) visits St. Mary’s on Friday night for a tough CCL matchup.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Tech 40, Minuteman 39 (OT)

The Tigers kept their playoff hopes alive with a nerve-wracking victory on the road.

Up by three with time ticking away, Tech allowed Minuteman to score at the buzzer, but escaped with the one-point win.

“We’ve played them three times, and it’s tough to beat a team three times,” Tech coach Kaitlyn Wechsler said. “We knew coming in that all of the pressure was on us.”

The Tigers fell behind by eight points at the start of the fourth quarter, and changed up their defense to a zone to try and contain Minuteman. It paid off.

Alondra Sanchez contributed half of the Tigers’ points, Arianna Anaya added eight points and Malvelis Hernandez chipped in with seven. Annmarie Teixeira had a strong defensive game, coming up with big rebounds and a timely steal late in the game.

It will come down to the wire for Tech, as it needs one win to clinch a tournament berth. The Tigers host rival Chelsea for the regular-season finale Friday.

Fenwick 53, Spellman 45

At Spellman, the Crusaders moved to 13-6, with senior Sam Gulla leading the way with 17 points and four steals.

Sophomore Jaxson Nadeau had 14 points and two steals. Sam Mancinelli, Fredi DeGuglielmo, and Mary O’Brien also played well.

Fenwick is back in action Friday at home against St. Mary’s.

GIRLS HOCKEY

St. Mary’s 2, Quincy/N. Quincy 2

Mady Hentosh and Adara Nazarian had the goals as the Spartans scored their second straight tie, having played Arlington Catholic to a 1-1 deadlock Saturday.

The tie makes St. Mary’s record 12-2-3. The Spartans are back in action Saturday at Austin Prep, and conclude their regular season next week in the Hingham Showcase with games against Acton-Boxborough Tuesday and Braintree a week from tonight.

Fenwick 6, Shawsheen 1

The Crusaders featured six different scorers in Meghan Carney, Caitlin Carney, Jesse Adkinson, Maggie Williams and Allie Giguere. Freshman goaltenders Cailyn Wesley and Daphne Jalbert teamed up for the win. Fenwick hosts Wilmington on Sunday morning.

 

Tech girls fall to Notre Dame

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Malvelis Hernandez looks to make a shot past the Notre Dame defense.

By KATIE MORRISON

LYNN — The rest of this week is going to be a little stressful for the Lynn Tech girls basketball team.

The Tigers have hovered around the .500 mark all season and have had their goal of 10 wins and a tournament berth within reach. After a 47-40 loss to Notre Dame at home Tuesday, that goal is still attainable, but it’s going to take two wins in the team’s final two games to get it done.

Tuesday’s loss stings for Tech, but there were plenty of positives coach Kaitlyn Wechsler could take away from a close game against a team that the Tigers have had trouble even competing with in the past.

“We’re still working on how to pull away in these close games,” Wechsler said. “That’s a team from the upper division (in the Commonwealth Conference). The girls have fire, they’re working hard on defense, and when we can get out in transition that’s a big spark for us.”

The Tigers were in this one for the entire 32 minutes, but a third-quarter offensive slump allowed Notre Dame to build a lead the Tigers couldn’t overcome.

Tech fell behind early as the Lancers jumped out to a 6-2 lead, but the Tigers rallied to gain the 7-6 edge. Jamila Constantine pulled down a rebound on a missed free throw for a second chance and put it back to make it 10-6 Tech. Arianna Anaya gave the Tigers a 13-9 lead at the end of the quarter, hitting a three from deep.

In the second, turnovers were a problem for both teams. The Tigers squandered a few scoring opportunities by turning the ball over, but Notre Dame struggled to capitalize and couldn’t build any kind of sizable lead. Solid defense and rebounding kept the turnovers from stinging Tech too much, but the steals finally caught up to the Tigers as the Lancers caused a turnover and ended the half with an easy layup to take a 23-20 lead into the break.

Notre Dame turned up the heat on defense in the third and took away the Tigers’ bread and butter: baskets in transition. The Lancers forced Tech to find open shots through the defense, and when the Tigers struggled to score, Notre Dame took advantage. The Lancers ended the third with their biggest lead of the night, 34-26.

“We couldn’t find our flow,” Wechsler said. “They upped the pressure a bit, and we couldn’t figure out how to break it and it threw us off.”

Anaya opened the final quarter with a quick three, and the Tigers clawed their way back to make it a 6-point game, thanks in part to some big defensive rebounds from Constantine to take away second chances from the Lancers. But the offense stalled again midway through the period as the Tigers struggled to hit shots while Notre Dame built the lead back up to 43-32 with 4:06 to play. Anaya, who led Tech with 11 points, did her best to get the Tigers back in the game, but the effort came up short.

Constantine had a solid game with nine points, as did Alondra Sanchez (9 points) and Malvelis Hernandez (7 points).

Now Tech turns its attention to tonight, when it takes on Minuteman on the road. The Tigers have already beaten Minuteman twice this season.

If the Tigers can win tonight, it’s on to Friday, when they play rival Chelsea. Not only will the game determine Tech’s playoff fate, but will also be the rubber match between the two teams in the three-game season series.

“They know the pressure is on, it’s been on for a while now,” Wechsler said. “We need to come out and take care of business (tonight) and Friday’s a big game, and we’re looking forward to it.”

School Roundup: Falayi hits the game-winner for St. Mary’s

FILE PHOTO
Temi Falayi hit the game-winner for the Spartans on Friday night. 

By MIKE ALONGI 

The St. Mary’s girls basketball team was able to avenge an early-season loss to Catholic Central League foe Arlington Catholic on Friday night, scoring the final nine points of the game to squeeze out a thrilling win, 38-35, on the road in Arlington.

Trailing 35-29 with 1:17 left in the game, Mashayla Johnson hit a three-pointer to make it 35-32. After a few unsuccessful trips down the court, the Spartans got the ball back and Mia Nowicki (17 points) hit a three to tie the game at 35-35 with 17 seconds left. Arlington Catholic had a chance to ice the game but missed, and St. Mary’s grabbed the rebound and quickly called timeout to draw up a play. With 4.7 seconds left, the Spartans got the ball in to Temi Falayi, who put up a prayer of a three-pointer to go for the win. The ball bounced off the back rim, off the top of the backboard and then fell through the net, and after a quick conference by the referees the basket was called good and the Spartans (9-5) took home the win.

“Arlington is a very difficult place to play, and obviously they’re the top-ranked Division 2 team right now, so we knew this would be tough,” said St. Mary’s coach Jeff Newhall. “But I think the key for us tonight was the fact that we stayed together even though we struggled on offense and we played incredible defense. That kept us in the game and gave us a chance at the end.”

The Spartans are back in action on Monday night when they host Chelmsford.

Chelsea 46, Tech 37

The Tigers (7-7) struggled in the first half, but a second-half surge made it a close game in the end. Arianna Anaya led Tech with 14 points, Jamila Constantine added nine and Alondra Sanchez added seven.

Tech has some time to regroup as it doesn’t play until Thursday.

“We’re going to regroup and refocus,” Tech coach Kaitlyn Wechsler said.

Classical 48, Beverly 35

The Rams improved to 13-3 behind big nights from Paris Wilkey, who led all scorers with 23 points, and Irianis Delgado, who added 12. Classical is back in action Tuesday as it hosts Peabody.

Revere 52, Danvers 36

Valentina Pepic had a huge night, putting up 23 points for Revere in the victory. Tatianna Iacoviello contributed 11 points for the Patriots.

Bishop Fenwick 55, Cathedral 45

Senior captain Sam Mancinelli had 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals to help Fenwick to a big win in a conference matchup on Friday. Sophomore Jaxson Nadeau had 13 points, while sophomore Sammi Gallant contributed 12 points.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Bishop Fenwick 58, Cathedral 53

The Crusaders had three players finish in double-figures to help take down Cathedral in a Catholic Central League matchup on Friday night in Peabody. Nick Pignone led the way for Fenwick with 19 points, while senior captain Ryan Veguilla had 17 points and junior captain Isaiah Cashwell-Doe had 16 points.

Fenwick (5-8) will continue its CCL schedule with another conference game against Cardinal Spellman on Tuesday night.

Lynn Classical 68, Beverly 65

Classical had four players in double-figures as the Rams grabbed a Northeastern Conference win and improved to 12-4.

Erick Solis led the way with 19 points, while Deontae Plouffe contributed 16 points off the bench. Dyrrell Rucker and Edwin Solis each had 13 points.

The Rams have another NEC game on Tuesday when they travel to Peabody to face the Tanners.

Pat Gavin led the way for Beverly (8-3), notching a double-double with 30 points and 10 rebounds. Luigi Derrane had 17 points.

Lynnfield 52, Triton 46

Junior guard William Arsenault scored a game-high 22 points, including a pair of three-pointers, as the Pioneers (11-1) picked up a road victory and extended their winning streak to eight games.
Senior captain forward Louis Ellis dropped 15 points, with six coming from beyond the arc, while senior captain forward Michael Carangelo also reached double figures with 11 points.
Junior Colin Brennan led the Vikings with a team-high 16 points and drilled a game-high four three-pointers.

Marblehead 68, Salem 62

Patrick Bugler scored 13 points in the fourth quarter alone to help lift the Magicians to a big win over Salem. Bugler finished with 23 points, four rebounds and four assists, while Derek Marino contributed 18 points and eight rebounds. Marblehead (12-2) will play another Northeastern Conference matchup on Tuesday when they host Gloucester.

Anthony Pena led the way for Salem (6-5), putting up 20 points. Nate Lebron added 18 points and five rebounds for the Witches, while Vinnie Gaskins added 12 points and five rebounds.

St. John’s Prep 67, New Mission 64

Junior captain Tommy O’Neil had a double-double with 19 points and 15 rebounds to help the Eagles improve to 10-3. Nate Hobbs had 13 points.

St. John’s will take on Catholic Memorial on Tuesday night.

GIRLS HOCKEY

Bishop Fenwick 2, Peabody 2

Amanda Blanchette scored both goals for the Crusaders as they battled back to force a tie against the cross-town rival Tanners. Down 2-0 entering the third period, Blanchette got Fenwick on the board halfway through the period to cut the deficit in half. The Crusaders pulled their goalie with 1:27 left, and Blanchette notched the tying goal with just 11 seconds on the clock to earn the tie.

Meghan Carney had two assists on the night, while Ally Charette and Ally Giguere each had one assist.

SWIMMING

Lynn Tech 88, Minuteman Tech 65

The Tigers closed out their regular season with a win behind great performances from Coral Gonzalez and Jin Purdy, among others. Gonzalez won the diving event with a score of 124.5 and was also a member of the winning 200-yard medley relay team along with Purdy, Alyssa Shaw and Jacob Lejuene (2:36.9). Purdy also won the 100 breaststroke (1:25.37). The 200 freestyle relay team of Dustin Bloom, Brian Nolasco, Antonio Morales and Jose Gomez took first place with a time of 2:15.65.

Next up for Tech is the conference championship meet next Tuesday and Wednesday, then the Lynn City Meet next weekend.

 

Morrison: Tech girls are on the rise

FILE PHOTO
Alondra Sanchez is one of a handful of newcomers who have stepped up for the Lynn Tech this season. 

By KATIE MORRISON

The last few years have not been easy for the Lynn Tech girls basketball team.

Tech hasn’t reached the tournament since the 2007-08 season, when the Tigers went 11-5 in the regular season and were knocked out in the first round. That ended the run of success Tech enjoyed during the mid-2000s under coach John Crowley, who led the Tigers to four straight Commonwealth Conference Small titles.

So, it’s been a long road for the Tigers, a team that won just three games last year. Prior to the start of this season, coach Kaitlyn Wechsler said their goal was to win 10 games, which should propel the Tigers into the state tournament for the first time in nine years.

Those goals seemed lofty after a few tough campaigns for Tech. But through 11 games, a tournament berth doesn’t seem like an unreachable goal anymore.

The Tigers won three games in a row to reach the .500 mark Monday, but fell to Shawsheen Tuesday to drop back to 5-6. With seven games left on the schedule, the Tigers will need to play well to reach 10 wins, but Wechsler is seeing her team finally click and play to its capabilities.

“We have some young girls, and they really didn’t know the other girls,” Wechsler said. “But we’re halfway through the season now, and they’re getting a feel for their position on the court and how they interact with the seniors that we have, so I think they’re just getting to know the way each other plays, and being able to read each other out on the court now since they’ve been playing together for half a season.”

One part of the puzzle is a group of strong seniors, many of whom have been with Wechsler for four years. It’s a group she knows well and that she has seen grow throughout their high school careers. Obviously, Wechsler is hoping this is the year things come together for the core group.

“There’s five (seniors), and they’re the core group really, although they’re not our core offense this year, they’re our defense,” Wechsler said. “They run our defense and lead us by example, by rebounding, by putting in hard work, and those girls, they look up to them. They’re the glue for us.”

What might be the key factor in the Tigers’ success is an infusion of young talent. Freshman Alondra Sanchez has been a playmaker for Tech in her first season, and has provided a shot in the arm on offense, something previous Tech teams have sorely lacked.

“She’s definitely tough, and she’s brought a lot to the team, especially on offense,” Wechsler said. “She’s brought a scoring presence that we haven’t really had the past couple of years. She’s also a tough matchup, she’s tough to guard, she’s big and strong, and it’s hard for other teams to match up against her. Again, it’s something we haven’t really had in the past.

Sanchez, who played football on Tech’s JV team in the fall, has taken over as point guard. She’s an imposing presence when she drives to the basket, and is able to draw a lot of fouls as she goes to the hoop. Sanchez’s play can be kind of rough around the edges, but that’s to be expected for a freshman, of course. To her credit, she brings an injection of energy to the team that’s definitely made an impact.

There’s also freshman Arianna Anaya, who is also an offensive threat for the Tigers. While Sanchez is a threat in the paint primarily, Anaya is a strong outside shooter.

“She’s also scoring, which is something we’ve struggled with,” Wechsler said of Anaya. “Our seniors are great on defense and with leadership, but offense has been a problem. Ari has a great shot, she’s confident in looking to shoot the ball, she’s hit a lot of threes for us this year, gets to the line and hits her fouls shots.”

The Tigers are looking to bounce back from a tough loss Tuesday, but have winnable games coming up. They also showed bright spots in the loss, holding Shawsheen scoreless through long stretches (though Tech was unable to capitalize offensively, which was the Tigers’ downfall Tuesday).

So keep an eye on the Tigers. Things look to be coming together for the Tech girls.


Katie Morrison can be reached at kmorrison@itemlive.com. 

Tech’s offense stalls in loss to Shawsheen

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Lynn Tech’s Jailene Rivera finds a clear lane to the hoop.

By KATIE MORRISON

LYNN — The Lynn Tech girls basketball team is finding a rhythm and has realistic hopes of reaching the state tournament this season.

But even with the success the Tigers have had, there will still be days like this.

Tech couldn’t contain Commonwealth Athletic Conference foe Shawsheen Tech Tuesday night at home, as the offense stalled in a 55-24 loss.

“Having played in this league for as long as we’ve been playing, we know what teams are expected to be better than us,” Tigers coach Kaitlyn Wechsler said. “We don’t always think we can compete with them, and we really can. The first quarter showed that today, but we let them get away…we’re not yet at the point where we can take a game no one is expecting us to.”

It was a game the Tigers would rather forget, but it didn’t look like it’d turn out that way in the first quarter. Tech’s offense looked to be working as well as it had in the Tigers’ 63-point performance in a win over St. Clement Monday. Tech held Shawsheen to 15 points in the first and trailed by five, 15-10, after a quarter.

But things went downhill from there.

Shawsheen started the quarter on a 5-0 run until Tech’s Alondra Sanchez hit one of two free throws with 4:15 left in the second. But a couple of lost rebounds, turnovers and fouls led to six quick points for the Rams, allowing Shawsheen to build a lead that would be tough for Tech to overcome.

Annmarie Teixeira made the Tigers’ first and only field goal of the quarter with 1:40 left in the half, sinking a shot from the paint. But otherwise, the Tech offense struggled. Bad passes and losing out on rebounds kept the Tigers from creating any momentum, and Shawsheen took advantage, taking a 36-13 lead into the half.

The second half looked a lot like the second quarter and not much like the first, but the Tigers were able to stifle the Shawsheen offense for the better part of the third quarter. Michayla Lawrence opened the scoring for Tech, putting back an offensive rebound, and the Tigers held off the Rams until a breakaway layup got Shawsheen back on the board with 1:50 left in the third.

That opened the floodgates, though, and the Rams went on another run, taking a 47-15 lead after three thanks to a buzzer-beating three from Shawsheen.

Prior to Tuesday’s game, the Tigers had won three in a row, and were finding their stride. The loss drops Tech back below .500 at 5-6 just a day after the Tigers had reached the mark, but Wechsler is determined to not let the loss derail the progress her team has made.

“I told them we need to forget about it and move on,” Wechsler said. “We need to mentally prepare for these kinds of games because when we reach the tournament, which is our goal, that’s what we’ll be facing, so we need to be ready for that.”

The Tigers will have almost a week to regroup; they won’t play again until Monday.

There were some bright spots for Tech Tuesday, however. Sanchez had a big first quarter and finished with 12 points to lead the Tigers. Lawrence added four points, and Arianna Anaya hit a big three in the first quarter.


Katie Morrison can be reached at kmorrison@itemlive.com. 

School Roundup: Sachems win in Quinlan’s return

FILE PHOTO
Ryan Groark and the Sachems thumped Fenwick, 5-4, on Monday at Kasabuski Arena. 

By MIKE ALONGI 

It may have been a non-conference game, but it was still a big one for both teams at Kasabuski Arena on Monday when former Saugus boys hockey coach Jim Quinlan returned for the first time as an opposing coach with his Bishop Fenwick Crusaders. The Sachems (6-1-2) got the win, 5-4, in a hard-fought game.

“It was a great team win,” said Saugus coach Jeff Natalucci. “Our effort and hard work was unbelievable. We continue to be a resilient team in these games that go back and forth, which is a great sign.”

Brendan Ronan was the points leader for Saugus, notching a goal and two assists in the win. Nick Moore, Ryan Groark, Dante McGrane and Brenden Patterson each scored one goal. Colby Murphy, Ryan Granara, CJ Graffeo, Adam Rodrigues and Mike Sarnacchiaro each had one assist. The Sachems will face off against Swampscott in a Northeastern Conference matchup on Wednesday night.

For Fenwick (3-7-0), Rob Murphy led the way with two goals. Jimmy Moore had a goal and an assist, while freshman Tom Estella scored his first career varsity goal. Kasey O’Brien, Nick Durbano, Paul Papageorgiou and John Bernbaum each had one assist. The Crusaders will host Arlington Catholic on Saturday.

BOYS HOCKEY

Marblehead 2, Westfield 1

James McCarthy and Drew Cioffi each scored a goal as the Magicians improve to 5-4-2 on the year. Aidan Gillis and Braden Haley each had one assist.

Marblehead will face off against Medford at Salem State on Saturday.

Peabody 4, Lincoln-Sudbury 0

The Tanners notched their first win of the season with a shutout performance on the road on Monday. Connor McCarron led the offense with two goals, while Nick Merryman and Nick Capillo each scored one. Goalie Aaron McDonnell had the shutout in net.

Peabody (1-6-2) will travel to Connery Rink on Saturday to take on the Lynn Jets.

St. John’s Prep 4, Woburn 1

Tim Usalis scored two goals in the first few minutes to help spur to Eagles (3-3-2) to a non-conference win at O’Brien Arena in Woburn on Monday. Kyle Hentosh had a goal and an assist, while Evan Beers added one goal. Christian Kukas and David Sacco each contributed one assist.

St. John’s will be back in Catholic Conference action on Wednesday night when they travel into Boston to take on BC High.

GIRLS HOCKEY

St. Mary’s 10, Central Catholic 0

Brittany McPherson had a four-point night (three goals, one assist) to help lift the Spartans to a big win at home. Marina DiBiasio had a goal and two assists, while Natalie Mellen, Ashley Wojewodzic and Sarah Ryan each had one goal and one assist. Aylah Cioffi, Kate Grey and Zoe Solomons each scored one goal and Codi Butt, Mady Hentosh and Adara Nazarian each had one assist.

The Spartans (7-2-0) will take on Winthrop/Lynn/Saugus at Connery Rink on Saturday.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Tech 63, St. Clements 35

The Tigers stayed hot and pulled to .500 on the season with a lopsided win on the road. Tech (5-5) was led by Alondra Sanchez, who put up 18 points, and Arianna Anaya, who added 16. Annmarie Teixeira (11 points) and Michayla Lawrence (8 points) also played well for the Tigers.

“This is something we’ve been striving for the last few games,” Tech coach Kaitlyn Wechsler said of reaching .500.

Saugus 48, Northeast 22

The Sachems were led by strong Krissy Italiano who scored 12 points in the win. Olivia Valente (11 points) and Alessia Salzillo (9 points) also contributed with strong performances. “It was a good game,” Saugus coach Mark Schruender said. “We came out strong and played good defense. We did some good things today.” Saugus (9-2) will look to make it a three-game win streak when the Sachems host Revere on Thursday.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Saugus 67, Northeast 43

Saugus notched a much-needed win behind a strong outing from Demetri Filaretos (20 points). Matt Waggett (10 points) and Chris McGrane (9 points) also made big contributions in the winning effort.

“It was a good win for us,” Sachems assistant coach Mark Bertrand said. “We’ve had our struggles over the last few weeks. Coach (Paul) Moran and I emphasized that we need to play for all four quarters. We did a good job against their press. The effort was outstanding, it was all about effort tonight.”

The Sachems (3-7) are back in action on Wednesday when they host Lynn Tech. Saugus beat Tech in the season opener for both teams back in December.

“They’ll be a lot more improved,” Bertrand said of the Tigers. “That was a good game for us to start but we’ve had some struggles along the way. I expect a really good game. They play in a tough conference like us, so I expect a good game.”

St. John’s Prep 68, Brighton 63

Down by 10 points moving into the fourth quarter, Nate Hobbs and the Eagles were able to turn things around and rally for the win. Hobbs put together a strong game with 26 points, while Brett McNiff logged a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. The Eagles (7-1) will aim to stay on the win column when they host Xaverian on Tuesday night.

School Roundup: Milestone night for St. Mary’s Falayi

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Temi Falayi scored a career-high 23 points in Friday’s win. 

By MIKE ALONGI 

After a tough start to the season for the St. Mary’s girls basketball team, the Spartans have now rattled off five wins in a row after a 65-49 win over the Austin Prep Cougars to move to 6-4 on the season. Coach Jeff Newhall says the team is still working to get better, but they are starting to hit their stride.

“I think tonight was one of the better games we’ve played this year, especially in the first half,” he said. “We played the way we’re capable of playing, and I just told them that if we continue to do that, we will be okay.”

Temi Falayi scored a career-high 23 points and added 14 rebounds and six blocks to lead the way for St. Mary’s.

“She was a force all night,” said Newhall. “She did a great job in the paint, she broke their press, she played great defense. She really did it all tonight.”

Gabby Torres scored 12 points and Olivia Nazaire scored 10 points.

The Spartans have a quick turnaround with a home game today at 5 p.m. against Fontbonne.

“This is a big one coming up for us, and it’s the halfway point of the season,” said Newhall. “But if we can get to 7-4 at the halfway mark after starting the year 1-4, that’ll be a great place to be.”

Tech 36, Minuteman 26

The Tigers rolled to a win at home to inch closer to .500 at 4-5. Arianna Anaya had a big game, putting up 11 points, while Alondra Sanchez and Annmarie Teixeira added eight apiece and Jamila Constantine scored six.

Malvelis Hernandez and Jailene Rivera provided excellent defense for Tech.

“We’re really clicking right now,” said Tech coach Kaitlyn Wechsler, who added that her team has worked hard on offense to prepare for different defenses, and that they’re working together well.

Peabody 72, Winthrop 34

Melissa Gray had 14 points and five steals and Alyssa Alperen had 12 points to help lead the Tanners to a big win. Serena Laro just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds, while Nene Onwuogu had eight points and nine rebounds.

Peabody (4-3) will take on Bishop Fenwick on Sunday.

Arlington Catholic 48, Bishop Fenwick 35

After falling behind early, the Crusaders rallied to tie the game entering the fourth quarter, but couldn’t complete the comeback on the road Friday night. Sam Mancinelli had eight points and four assists, Sammi Gallant had six points and six rebounds and Jaxson Nadeau had six points and three steals.

Fenwick (6-3) has a home game against Peabody on Sunday afternoon.

Saugus 54, Danvers 44

The Sachems continued their strong start to the season with a 10-point win at home on Friday, moving their record to 8-2 and handing Danvers its first loss. Olivia Valente had a team-high 14 points, while Molly Granara had 10 points and Rachel Nazzaro had eight points. Krissy Italiano contributed seven points and Alessia Salzillo had five points.

Saugus will travel to Wakefield for a game against Northeast Tech on Monday.

For Danvers (7-1), Sarah Unczur had 15 points and nine rebounds, Lily Montanari had nine points and Nicole White had seven points, nine assists and six steals.

The Falcons will have a full week off before taking on Marblehead next Friday night.

Lynn Classical 53, Gloucester 37

Paris Wilkey had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds to lift the Rams (8-3) to a win on the road Friday night. Classical will take on Everett in a non-league matchup on Tuesday night.

Revere 59, Salem 25

Valentina Pepic led the way for the Patriots as Revere blew out Salem. Pamela Gonzalez and Tatianna Iacoviello scored 10 points each in the win.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Bishop Fenwick 49, Arlington Catholic 46

Junior captain Isaiah Cashwell-Doe led Fenwick (4-5) with 26 points and six rebounds, but it was senior captain Ryan Veguilla (14 points) who came up with the shot of the game, hitting a layup with 30 seconds left to put the Crusaders up by three points and seal the win.

Fenwick is back in action on Sunday afternoon when they host the Peabody Tanners.

Peabody 83, Winthrop 69

Peabody’s Junior Estrella came up one assist shy of a triple-double at home against Winthrop on Friday night, finishing with 26 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in the win. Moise Irizarry also had a big game with 20 points, five rebounds and four steals.

The Tanners (6-2) will travel to Bishop Fenwick for a matchup with the Crusaders on Sunday.

Danvers 62, Saugus 47

Saugus (2-7) got 12 points from Haris Behremovic in the loss, while sophomore Liam Murphy contributed six points and eight rebounds in his first varsity game.

The Sachems will play Northeast Tech at home on Monday night.

Beverly 80, Swampscott 48

Pat Gavin was the top scorer for the Panthers (6-2), finishing with 17 points. Luigi Derrane was right behind with 15 points, while Duncan Moreland scored 11 points and Jack Crowley had six points.

For the Big Blue, freshmen David Coleman and Manny Psowa each scored eight points. Swampscott will take on Lynn Classical at home next Friday.

Salem 59, Revere 58

Down by two points with time winding down, Salem’s Ethan Espinal (10 points) hit the game-winning three-pointer with just three seconds left on the clock to give the Witches a close win on the road Friday night. Anthony Pena was the top scorer for Salem, finishing with 25 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals. Nate Lebron added 15 points and eight rebounds.

Salem (5-3) has a road game against Lynn English next Friday night.

Lynnfield 72, Amesbury 46

Lynnfield never trailed and held a 33-23 lead at halftime.  Louis Ellis scored a game-high 25 points with eight rebounds for the Pioneers, while Dan Jameson (9 points, 5 rebounds) and senior captain Mike Carangelo (16 points, 9 rebounds) also played well for Lynnfield. The Pioneers’ bench also factored in the win with junior Matt Mortellite (7 points, 6 rebounds) and senior Will Klotzbier (4 points, 4 rebounds) hitting timely baskets and senior Bryant Dana (5 rebounds) pulling down some key rebounds.

The Pioneers look to extend their win streak to five straight Monday at Ipswich (2 p.m.).

Shawsheen Tech 66, Lynn Tech 39

Rob Wallace led the Tigers with 13 points, while Trevon Baldwin contributed seven points. Tech has a matchup with Presentation of Mary Academy on Tuesday.

GIRLS BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: English defense steps up

FILE PHOTO
Ely Guity and the Bulldogs closed out a win over Gloucester on Tuesday. 

By HAROLD RIVERA AND MIKE ALONGI 

The Lynn English girls basketball team has struggled to close out games this season. Tuesday night, they finally finished a game the way they’d hope to. Behind a number of key stops down the stretch, English downed Gloucester, 52-46.

“They played together and they played hard,” English coach Mackenzie Charles said of his players. “We played really good defense with key stops at the end of the game. We haven’t finished a game all season, we’ve been having problems with that. We’ve been struggling with rebounds so I think the combination of those things equalled a win.”

Dorathy Ezemba led the winning efforts with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

“She (Ezemba) rebounded well,” Charles said. “She pushes the ball well and she’s very physical.”

Ely Guity scored 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished five assists.

“She (Guity) had a great game, five of her rebounds were on the offensive glass,” Charles said. Charles also credited Rachel Calnan and Shelya Manon for their performances in the win. English is back in action on Friday when the Bulldogs visit Marblehead. “We’ll get back to practice tomorrow and work hard,” Charles said. “We understand this in a win but Friday’s another game.”

Lynn Tech 44, Greater Lawrence 28

Alondra Sanchez had the hot hand offensively for the Tigers, putting up 17 points. Annmarie Texiera added eight and Jamila Constantine scored six. Malvelis Hernandez was solid on defense.

The Tigers (3-5) had to climb back from an early 8-0 deficit, but coach Kaitlyn Wechsler said that after a few timeouts and conversations with her team, something clicked.

“We turned up the pressure and worked very well together,” Wechsler said. “It was like a switch flipped and we started to figure it out. It was an overall great team win.”

Revere 65, Swampscott 56

A tied game after a quarter, the Patriots outscored the Big Blue 21-6 in the second quarter to pull away. Despite putting up 24 points in the third, Swampscott couldn’t claw all the way back into this one.

Valentina Pepic led Revere with 24 points, Pamela Gonzalez added 18 and Meghan Gotham chipped in with 10.

Archbishop Williams 77, Bishop Fenwick 44

Sam Mancinelli logged 15 points for the Crusaders, five assists and four steals, while Fredi DeGuglielmo added 14 points and Jaxson Nadeau had eight points and four steals.

Peabody 53, Salem 32

The Tanners (3-3) got 13 points from Melissa Gray and nine points and 14 rebounds from Nene Onwuogu. Katie Wallace had eight points.

Peabody will take on Winthrop on Friday night.

School Roundup: English hangs tough but Peabody prevails

FILE PHOTO
Amanda Fabrizio swims the 100 butterfly for Lynn English.

By HAROLD RIVERA

The Peabody swim team topped English, 96-80, in a competitive meet at Lynn Tech Thursday.

Top performers for English included Caroline Zuffante, who won the 100-yard backstroke and Peter Phelan, who had a strong showing in the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke.

Teressa Demirs had a strong showing in the diving event for the Bulldogs.

In the 200-yard freestyle, the relay team of Hanna Trahant, Emma Trahant, Dax Billingsley and Kylie Moorehouse performed well for the Bulldogs.

The 400-yard freestyle relay group of Amanda Fabrizio, Emma Trahant, Zuffante and Phelan also competed well.

“We had a lot of great swims,” English coach Lisa Trahant said. “They (Peabody) had more depth than us. It was a good meet between the two teams.”

She added, “We had a lot of people doing events that they never did before. We had a lot of personal best times. Caroline (Zuffante) had a great meet for us.”

The Bulldogs (1-2) will look to get back on the win column next Tuesday against Swampscott. “We’re hoping that we can keep going strong,” Trahant said. “Hopefully we have another great meet.”

Peabody (2-1)  had a strong showing, taking 1st place in the 200-yard medley relays (Nicholas Fursey, Conor Mccarthy, Cana Teague, Kirsten Currie), the 200-yard freestyle (Cailin Currie), the 200-yard individual medley (Kirsten Currie, who earned an MIAA North Sectional qualifying time), the 50-yard freestyle (William Connolly), diving (Isabella Forte), the 100-yard butterfly (Conor McCarthy), the 100-yard freestyle (William Connolly), the 500-yard freestyle (Kirsten Currie, who earned an MIAA North Sectional qualifying time), the 200-yard freestyle relay (William Connolly, Kyle Griffin, Nicholas Fursey, and Conor McCarthy), the 100-yard breaststroke (Conor McCarthy), and the 400-yard freestyle relay (Cailin Currie, Cana Teague, Kirsten Currie, Millie Teague).

The Tanners are back in action when they meet Gloucester at home on Tuesday.

Revere 94, Swampscott 76

Top performers for the Big Blue included Will Cronin in the 50 freestyle, Kasey Kennedy in the 200 individual medley and Tessa Diaz in the 100 butterfly.

Swampscott coach Christopher Havens spoke high of his team’s performance and said the meet was competitive, but it the end Revere finished with the win.

“It was a great meet,” Haven said. “Both teams swam well. It was competitive all the way. In the end, Revere just came out on top.”

The Big Blue will look to bounce back on Tuesday when they host a talented Lynn English team for a meet.

“I’m just hoping the team keeps it up,” Haven said. “We’ve been swimming well. We have a small team and we’ve been performing well. We’re just having fun. Hopefully that keeps the ball rolling and we pull out a win on Tuesday.”

GIRLS HOCKEY

Marblehead 4, Leominster 0

Wednesday in Gardner, the Marblehead girls hockey team shut out Leominster. Goalie Sarah Ryan faced 10 shots, and the Magicians kept Leominster keeper Hannah Bergeron, getting off 41 shots.

Bella Peters started the scoring on and assist from Sydney Cresta at 5:02, and Olivia Fusegni ended the first period with assists from Abby Kalinowski and Isabell Amigo.

Cresta added a goal in the second period (Brynne O’Connor with the assist), and Amigo capped the scoring in the third (Cate Delaney and O’Connor with the assists).

BOYS HOCKEY

Peabody JV 3, Lynn Jets JV 2

Nick Kosmas and Andrew Patrie scored for Lynn, while Kenny Perez played well in net.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Tech 34, Minuteman 23

The Lynn Tech girls basketball team picked up its second win of the season (2-3) with a 34-23 victory over Minuteman. Leading scorers for Tech were Jamila Constantine and Alondra Sanchez who each scored 10 points.

Sanchez, a freshman who started the season as a forward, led the team from her new position at point guard.

“She (Sanchez) definitely has a lot to learn but every game she seems to be growing and growing,” Tech coach Kaitlyn Wechsler said. “She’s getting comfortable with the girls around her. She’s stepping in nicely for us and improving every game.”

Malvelis Hernandez contributed with five points while Yafreisis Ruiz anchored the team’s defense.

“She (Ruiz) held our defense in the back,” Wechsler said. “She was a great defensive presence in the back. Defense was big for us today and she was the anchor for us defensively.”

Wechsler noted that Tech’s win is an indication that the Tigers are beginning to improve and move in the right direction.

“The girls are getting used to each other now,” Wechsler said. “We played a great game against Greater Lawrence before the vacation and lost by two points. We started a little slow today but we pulled away in the fourth quarter. We’re starting to click and I’m hoping the wins continue for us.”

Tech is back in action on Tuesday when the Tigers host Mystic Valley.

“We’re looking to carry the momentum over,” Wechsler said. “If we play the way we’ve been playing, we’ll give them (Mystic Valley) a good run.”

Lynn Classical JV 59, St. Mary’s JV 54

Chloe Kebreau led the way in the winning efforts, scoring 16 points for the Rams. Skylar Crayton and Jazzamine Masse each scored 12 points. Madison Dana scored six points and grabbed eight rebounds.


Harold Rivera can be reached at hrivera@itemlive.com. 

School Roundup: Classical girls fall in OT

FILE PHOTO
Paris Wilkey scored 24 points for the Rams. 

By MIKE ALONGI 

The Classical girls basketball team overcame a late eight-point deficit on the road against Danvers Thursday night to force overtime, but the Falcons held on for the 59-55 win.

Paris Wilkey led all scorers with 24 points and Soneta Srey had a big game, adding 14 points, but it wasn’t enough to deal Danvers (4-0) its first loss.

For the Falcons, Sarah Unczur logged a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds, as did Lily Montanari (16 points, 10 rebounds).

Danvers coach Pat Veilleux had nothing but good things to say about the Rams.

“This was without question our biggest test so far,” Veilleux said. “Classical is multi-faceted. They’re talented, tough, physical and as they showed tonight, very resilient. Someone had to win this game, and if it had gone on any longer, I couldn’t have handled it, and I’m sure (Classical coach) Tom (Sawyer) couldn’t have either.”

Peabody 57, Beverly 41

Tanners coach Stan McKeen knew it’d be a long winter break if his team went into it 0-3, but fortunately for Peabody, it got the first win of the season out of the way against Beverly.

Sophomore Liz Zaiter had the hot hand, scoring 13 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Nene Onuwuogo had a big game as well with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Serena Laro and Katie Wallace played excellent defense for Peabody, and Wallace did a good job running the offense at point guard.

Saugus 40, Marblehead 34

Krissy Italiano put up a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds to help lead Saugus to a win, while Kiley Ronan chipped in eight points and five steals. Alessia Salzillo and Molly Granara each scored seven points in the win.

The undefeated Sachems (3-0) will hit the road for a game against Malden on Wednesday.

Swampscott 53, Gloucester 42

Maggie DiGrande hit five three-pointers en route to 18 points to lead the way for the Big Blue, and Jaymie Caponigro had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Ella Parker also had a solid game with 11 points and eight rebounds.

Swampscott (3-1) is back in action on Tuesday when they take on Lynn English in the Walter J. Boverini Tournament.

Greater Lawrence 44, Lynn Tech 42

The Tigers fell in a close game despite a great all-around team effort, according to coach Kaitlyn Wechsler. Jamila Constantine scored 15 points to pace Tech, followed by Arianna Anaya with 11 points. Alondra Sanchez had eight points and Malvelis Hernandez scored six.

Winthrop 34, Salem 32

It came down to free throws in this one between the Vikings and the Witches, and Winthrop’s Cailyn Driscoll hit the two deciding free throws to give the Vikings the close win. Driscoll finished with 13 points to lead Winthrop.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Marblehead 57, Saugus 42

Patrick Bugler had a big day for the Magicians (3-2), finishing the game with 20 points. Derek Marino added 12 points in the win.

Marblehead will be back in action on Wednesday on the road at Masconomet.

Dimitri Filaretos led Saugus with 11 points, followed by Chris McGrane with nine points. Cam Williamson had a big night on the glass with six points and 10 rebounds, and Mike Mabee provided a spark off the bench with six points.

Gloucester 89, Swampscott 70

Despite the loss, Swampscott got an impressive performance from Tony Broadnax, who notched a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds while also adding six assists. Jackson Byrne contributed 10 points in the loss.

Gloucester was led by senior captain Evan Mason’s 21 points.

The Big Blue will have all of next week off before returning to action on January 3 on the road at Marblehead.

BOYS HOCKEY

St. Mary’s 4, Hingham 1

After trailing 1-0 entering the third period, the Spartans (2-2-0) rattled off four unanswered goals to steal a victory from Hingham in the consolation game of the Serino Christmas Tournament at Valley Forum in Malden on Thursday evening.

“To come back against a team like Hingham, one of the top-ranked teams in the state, was really good to see,” said St. Mary’s coach Mark Lee. “It took a total team effort to pull this one out, and I’m really proud of all our guys for how hard they worked.”

Anthony Bono led the way with two goals, while Jason Loeser and Kyle Ouellette added a goal apiece. Dante Maribito contributed two assists in the win.

St. Mary’s will host Lowell Catholic next Thursday.

SWIMMING

Bishop Fenwick 91, Marian 68

Catherine Christuk and Sophia Lumino each scored multiple wins in the pool for the Crusaders on Thursday. Christuk won the 200-yard freestyle (2 minutes, 9.13 seconds) and the 100 breaststroke (1:12.88), while Lumino took the 200 individual medley (2:21.03) and the 500 freestyle (5:33.56). Other individual winners for Fenwick were Connor Christuk in the 50 freestyle (23.86) and Rowan Emerson in the 100 freestyle (58.60).

The Crusaders also had three relay teams take first place. The 200 medley relay team of Emerson, Connor Christuk, Garrett Collins and Michael D’Iorio won with a time of 1:54.13, the 200 freestyle relay team of D’Iorio, Lumino, Connor Christuk and Bryce McCarthy won the a time of 1:50.06 and the 400 freestyle relay team of Emerson, McCarthy, Collins and Catherine Christuk won with a time of 4:08.33.

Tech girls rally to beat St. Clement

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Alondra Sanchez (left) scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Tech’s win on Monday night. 

By MIKE ALONGI 

LYNN — The Lynn Tech girls basketball team didn’t quit, despite falling behind by 12 points in the first quarter, rallying all the way back to notch a 47-35 win over St. Clement at home on Monday night.

The rally was sparked by some great defense and rebounding by the Tigers, according to coach Kaitlyn Wechsler.

“We kind of started off slow, but I was very happy with the way we came back,” said Wechsler. “We picked it up on defense after that tough start and that defense fueled our offense tonight.”

It was the bench that provided the spark for Tech (1-1), as the only three players to score in double digits came off the pine. Alondra Sanchez just missed a double-double with 11 points and eight rebounds, while Jamila Constantine did put up a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Arianna Anaya had 10 points and six rebounds and hit two critical threes down the stretch to help seal the win.

“We made a couple of changes early and then just implemented the full-court pressure,” said Wechsler. “That was the difference for us because we were able to get steals and get points on the other end.”

Also making big contributions for the Tigers were Jailene Rivera (6 points, 3 rebounds), Michayla Lawrence (nine rebounds, four steals) and Malvelis Hernandez (5 points, 2 rebounds).

The Tigers fell behind, 16-4, after a tough first quarter marked by a lot of turnovers. But after a quick timeout and a lineup adjustment, Tech found its footing quickly.

The Tigers’ defense clamped down in the second and third quarter, forcing turnovers and getting out in transition. By the time the fourth quarter started, Tech had outscored St. Clement 28-8 and surged ahead to take an eight-point lead into the final frame, 32-24.

Another big part of the second-half comeback was the rebounding, as Tech out-rebounded St. Clement 42-17 in the game, many of them coming in the second half.

“It’s something we do still have to work on as a team, but that was a big boost tonight,” Wechsler said. “Michayla, Jamila and Alondra really worked hard on the boards the whole game and did a great job for us.”

St. Clement went on a quick run to make it interesting early in the fourth, but the combination of suffocating defense and timely shotmaking by the Tigers was too much to overcome. Tech was able to get to the foul line early and often in the final quarter to help seal the win.

“It was an all-around great team win for us,” said Wechsler. “We played very well on defense and we were able to make shots when we needed to. This is definitely something we can build on.”

The Tigers are back in action tomorrow afternoon for a road game against Essex Tech.

Tech girls have big goals this season

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON

Alondra Sanchez goes up for a layup during Friday’s practice.


By STEVE KRAUSE 

LYNN — This is the year it could all come together for the Lynn Tech girls basketball team.

At least coach Kaitlyn Wechsler hopes so.

“Our goal is to win 10 games,” Wechsler said. “We don’t want to settle for anything less than that.”

Before anyone wonders why just 10, and not 15 or even 20, consider the Tigers won just three games last season. But Wechsler hope the girls learned some lessons from the rough season and are ready to apply them this year.

“We have a nice core group of seniors coming back,” she said. “And we’re mixing that with another nice group of sophomores and freshmen. We have some leadership, and some nice new youth coming in.”

Leading scorer Jamila Constantine is back, and will alternate between guard and forward.

Guard Malvelis Hernandez “is really my defensive go-to. She’s a hustler, and she’s the heart of our defense. She starts it and runs it.”

Third on the list of returning seniors is forward Annmarie Teixeira.

“She kind of does all the little things. She’s scrappy, plays defense, scores when we need her to score … she does the little things that go unnoticed. She’ll be a leader by example for the young kids.”

Wechsler is very excited about freshman Alondra Sanchez.

“She’s going to be a bigtime player,” she said. “I’m very excited that she’s going to be able to play with these seniors. She’s just a natural-born basketball player, and I’m really looking forward to coaching her.”

Sanchez will probably play both forward and guard as well.

Wechsler hopes that transfer student Arianna Anaya, a sophomore, can pick up the slack at point guard, which is one of the few positions (rebounding forward being the other) about which she wasn’t sure coming into tryouts.

“I think she’ll fit in nicely with the rest of the team.”

Michayla Lawrence, also a sophomore, is expected to fill the rebounding forward slot.

“(Lawrence) moved up from junior varsity to varsity. She’s strong, athletic and fast, and she’s probably going to be a big-time rebounder for us. She can jump too. She’ll see a lot of playing time for us.”

Wechsler admits winning 10 games could be a challenge.

“I have a really good group of girls who committed and who are on board with what I’m looking for,” she said. “When they do step up and take on that challenge, we have a chance to do good things.”


Steve Krause can be reached at skrause@itemlive.com. 

Tech’s Nieves gives her all to basketball

FILE PHOTO
Lila Nieves might be nearing the end of her career at Lynn Tech, but she hopes her passion for the game will be carried on by her teammates.

By JUSTIN BARRASSO

LYNN – Lynn Tech’s eight-point lead over Presentation of Mary last Wednesday had evaporated. The Tigers quickly found themselves trailing by three with six minutes to play, but Tech coach Kaitlyn Wechsler never panicked. Wechsler’s confidence stemmed from the fact that her senior point guard, Lila Nieves, was on the floor.

“Lila is our general,” said Wechsler. “She gives everything she has every time she steps on the court. She’s our best basketball mind, our heart, and our fire.”

Nieves spent the rest of the game diving for loose balls, poking the ball away on defense, and knocking down clutch shots as Tech earned a hard-fought, 45-41 victory on the road.

“Coach wanted more and expected more from me, so I had to lead on the court,” said Nieves. “She’s taught me never to quit. When you quit, your heart isn’t in the game. Quitting is giving up on yourself, so you need to use that motivation you had to quit instead to keep going.”

The 18-year-old Nieves, who earned a spot on the Commonwealth Athletic League All Star team as a junior and won Tech’s Most Valuable Player, also works every other week at Stoneham Ford Motor Collision through Tech’s co-op program.

“I sand trucks and prep them up for paint,” said Nieves. “I really like working with my hands. When I was little, I didn’t play dolls. I played with dirt. I always wanted to explore or fix my bike.”

Nieves is often without a ride after work, so she sometimes is forced to pay for a taxi from Stoneham to return in time for practice.

“I always find a way to get to basketball,” she said. “Basketball is my life.”

Wechsler is grateful that her captain makes so many sacrifices to not only arrive at practice, but also be the hardest working player on the floor.

“She doesn’t have an easy life, and I know that, but she’s always here giving 100 percent,” said Wechsler. “She always comes to basketball and leaves it all on the court.”

Nieves grew up playing sports with her older brother, former Lynn English football player Alex Mendez.

“My brother was the one who got me into sports,” said Nieves. “He’s ten years older than me and I always looked up to him – I always wanted to do what he did. He taught me all the games in our background. I look up to him a lot, still to this day.”

Annmarie Teixeira first connected with Nieves at Thurgood Marshall Middle School five years ago. More than just teammates, the two have been best friends for the past five years.

“We just clicked right away through basketball,” said Teixeira, who is a junior at Tech. “She is the best person I have ever played with. She has such a good heart, and she’s our spark. Her energy is contagious.

“Lila is passionate about everything she does. If she wants to do something, she’ll find a way to do it and she’ll do it the right way. I’m really going to miss always having her here.”

While Nieves does not have any siblings her own age, she found a group of sisters on her basketball team.

“I love Lila,” said Tech junior Malvelis Hernandez. “She’s never tired on the court. Her energy gets to me and makes me want to play even harder. During games, if Lila’s talking to us, we listen. She knows what she’s talking about, so I know she’s probably right.”

Nieves is grateful for her teammates and coach.

“I don’t really have a lot of family,” said Nieves. “This team is my family. I’ll really miss my teammates and my coach. I can talk to Annmarie because she’s my best friend, and I know Coach [Wechsler] is always there for me.”

Nieves’ numbers have improved each year during her four varsity seasons – she is currently averaging seven points and five assists – but her impact goes far beyond the stat sheet.

“You can’t replace her,” said Wechsler. “She’s our point guard, our leader, captain, and role model.”

With only four games remaining, Nieves is slowly coming to terms that this is her final week wearing the red, white, and blue for Tech.

“I don’t want it to be over,” she said. “I’ll miss working with my teammates and helping them get better. I definitely want to win some more games, but I really want us to hard work and finish the right way.”

Nieves, who is giving serious consideration to joining the United States Marine Corps after she graduates high school, will leave behind a legacy of hard work, dedication, and perseverance.

“On the court, I have a responsibility to be a leader and I stick with it,” said Nieves. “I’m going to leave my heart out there. I’m going to leave my love of the game to my team, and they better take it.”


Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso