Malvelis Hernandez

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. 

Passing the torch at the captains’ luncheon

ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Matt Lauria, standing, kidding around with Liam Reddy, sitting, before the start of the captains’ lunch at the Porthole Restaurant in Lynn.

By STEVE KRAUSE

Thanksgivings come and go. The years roll by. People who were movers and shakers of their day step aside for varying reasons, and new people come along to carry the ball.

That’s the way it’s supposed to be. And that’s the way Dick Ruth, former Lynn Classical athletic director, hope it stays.

“This is why we have events like (Tuesday’s captains’ luncheon) every year,” said Ruth. “It’s important for kids to see that the adults in their communities care about them.”

Ruth took over this year as the director of the luncheon, which is hosted by the Lynn Lions and Lynn Rotary clubs.

Within the past year, Ruth became a rotarian, something he could never do as a teacher and administrator. But when the rotary club instituted a satellite organization that met at 7 a.m. on Tuesdays, Ruth was there. And when his good friend Jim Harris gave up the reins of the captains’ luncheon, Ruth was glad to take it over.

“You do this in hopes that the kids see it and understand that when they get older, it’ll be them running these functions for the next generation of kids.”

This has always been a central theme of the Agganis Foundation — to make kids aware that in the grand scheme of things, very significant and prominent adults served them, and that they will be expected to do the same when they get older.

If you looked around the room at the Porthole Tuesday, you saw evidence of this. All four Lynn football coaches were once captains of their teams. Three of them — James Runner (Tech), Matt Durgin (St. Mary’s) and Tim Phelps (Classical) — were at Classical while Chris Carroll is coaching at his alma mater, Lynn English. Athletic directors Bill Devin, Dick Newton and Joe Skeadas are now administering at their alma maters, Classical, English and Tech respectively.

Joan Wiendczak is now coaching the Classical cheerleaders, and will tell you gladly that she can still wear the same uniform she wore 45 years ago when she was a senior at the school.

All around that room were products of Lynn schools. State Rep. Brendan Crighton played football for Durgin at Classical. Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy is a Classical graduate. School Superintendent Catherine Latham went to English.

Dave Solimine, who, at 80, may be the the standard bearer for Lynn philanthropy, graduated from Classical in 1953.

As Ruth said, there’s a lot out there to influence teenage boys and girls to go down the wrong path. The presence of adults in their lives, especially in times of crisis, can make all the difference in the world.

“Lots of times,” he said, “a kid will have a problem and the first person he’ll go to is a coach. Coaches and administrators see kids on different levels than teachers sometimes.”

So that’s why events such as Tuesday’s luncheon are so important. There’s nothing worse to young people than the feeling that they’re not being supported.

And there’s nothing better than when they are.

And since we’re talking about the presence of adults in the lives of the next generation, let us pause here and extend our gratitude to Matt Williams of Riverworks Credit Union; Adam Sherman of Brotherhood; and Dave Surface of St. Jean’s.

These are the people who sponsored the dinner — something they have been doing for more than a decade. So I’m sure I speak for all of the athletes, cheerleaders and band members for whom the luncheon was given. And for the adults, such as myself, who also had the opportunity to eat.

Thanks, too, to the folks at the Porthole for providing the venue.

Wiendczak said that little has changed from when she was a cheerleader in high school. She began coaching the football cheerleaders this year, and was struck by the similarities and the rituals.

“On Thanksgiving, when I cheered, we’d go to an early-morning blessing at Sacred Heart Church (by Msgr. Francis J. McDonnell, the longtime pastor at the church), and then to a pancake breakfast with the team.”

That didn’t seem like the most nutritious breakfast for a bunch of kids who were going to be running, hitting each other, or jumping around.

“It was OK,” she said. “We didn’t care.”

Wiendczak was looking forward to the Classical rally today, where she was going to put that 1972 uniform on.

In case anyone was wondering, Wiendczak works at this.

“I go the gym almost every day,” said the physical education teacher. “I work out all the time.”

The roster of students included: From St. Mary’s: coach Durgin, Marcus Atkins, Abraham Toe, Nic Colucitti, Anthony DelVecchio, Joey Silvestri, Brendon Donahue, Fred Blaise, Cam Sakowich, Liam Reddy; cheerleader coach Steffany Mihos, captain Jenn Watson, and Frs. Brian Flynn and Huan “Dominic” Ngo.

Tech’s contingent included coach Runner, cheerleading coaches Colleen Richards and Kim Kielty, cheerleading captains Malvelis Hernandez, Brianna Reynoso, Ivonne Ortiz and Makayla Anaya; and football captains Mike Brown, Brandon Lewis, Juan Vasquez and Adonias Ramirez.

Classical’s coaches and students included football coach Phelps, Wiendczak, football captains Matt Lauria and Marcus Rivera; and cheerleading captains Anna Marie Alukonis and Julianna McKanas.

The English group included football coach Carroll, football captains Jon Kosmas, Frank Perry and Chris Gomez; and cheerleading captains Kayla Reynolds and Kylie Moorehouse.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and don’t eat too much. And as Dr. Latham said at Tuesday’s luncheon: “It’s easy to be graceful when you win; it’s tougher when you don’t win.” Please, if you win, heed her words. And if you don’t, please do your best to be graceful and, as she said, “don’t spoil your family’s dinner.”

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

School roundup: Classical boys victorious in NEC meet

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Classical’s Kevin Chasse recorded two first-place finishes for the Bulldogs Wednesday evening.

By DILLON DURST

The Lynn Classical squad won the boys’ portion of the Northeastern Conference league meet on Wednesday evening at Salem State, while the Marblehead girls’ team took first place.

Classical’s Kevin Chasse recorded first-place finishes in both the 50-yard freestyle (23.70 seconds), and 100 free (52.11). The 200 free relay team of Chasse, Eric Macorri, Alex Pedro and Craig Mordaunt finished first (1:40.05) for the Rams as well. Mordaunt added a second-place finish in the 200 free (2:11.43), while Macorri recorded a third-place in the 200 individual medley. Pedro finished second for Classical in diving with a score of 165.75, while Sarah Sirois added a second-place diving finish (243.30) on the girls’ side.

Commonwealth Athletic Conference Meet

Lynn Tech captain Nick Weston posted a personal-best time of 6.08.38 in the 500 free Wednesday evening, finishing fifth. Tigers’ coach Brad Tilley said all of Tech’s competing 500 free swimmers posted personal-best times as well. Tech’s Fransisco Fresco placed first in diving with a score of 178.83, followed by teammates Steven Taz and Juan Bernabe, who finished fourth and sixth, respectively, for the Tigers. On the girls’ side, Coral Gonzalez placed third in diving (113).

BOYS’ INDOOR TRACK

Beverly 72, Swampscott 14

The Panthers (5-2) recorded first-place finishes in all but one event. Sam Abate placed first in the high jump for Beverly, clearing 5 feet, 10 inches. Teammate Chris Faust won the shot put for Beverly with a distance of 42 feet, 3 ½ inches. Also finishing first for the Panthers were Daniel Russell in the 55-meter hurdles (9.0), Jordan Rawding in the 55 (6.6), Nicholas Berry in the 300 (41.2), John Jones in the 600 (1:33.1), Connor Cademartori in the 1,000 (2:55.4) and Brian McPherson in the mile (4:55.3). Harry Parker won the 2-miles (11:20.0) for Swampscott (3-4).

Marblehead 54, Peabody 32

In a matchup of unbeatens, the Magicians (7-0) handed the Tanners (6-1) their first loss of the season, and finished first in all but one event. Marblehead also wrapped up a NEC Small conference championship with the win, posting a 5-0 record. George Goetz posted two first-place finishes in both the high jump (6-0) and the 55 hurdles (8.2) for Marblehead. Also finishing first for the Magicians were Jaason Lopez in the 55 (6.6), Jakob Wikar in the 300 (39.2), Pete Morrison in the 600 (1:36.6), Oliver Jacob in the 1,000 (2:49.5), Michael Weidenbruch in the mile (4:53.8) and Adam Linsky in the 2-miles (10:41.5). Marblehead edged Peabody in the 4X400 relay (3:33.7) by 3/10 of a second. Patrick Pang finished first in the shot put (46-6 ½) for the Tanners, followed by teammates Michael Lowry (42-8) in second and Peter Leon (41-4 ½) in third.

GIRLS’ INDOOR TRACK

Beverly 67, Swampscott 19

Tyler Orlandella and Cassie Wahl tied for first in the high jump for the Panthers (7-0), both clearing five feet. Teammate Gracie Sparkman won the shot put (35-0) for Beverly. Also finishing first for the Panthers were Julianna Devitt in the 55 hurdles (8.8), Callie Donovan in the 55 (7.5), Amanda Rosenberger in the 600 (1:50.9), Julia Curtin in the 1,000 (3:07.1), Lexi Sutyak in the mile (5:47.4) and Abby Walsh in the 2-miles (11:32.0). Beverly edged Swampscott in the 4X400 relay (4:58.8), as well. Zoe Petty won the 300 (46.4) for the Big Blue (4-3).

Peabody 56, Marblehead 30

Peabody (6-1) handed the Magicians their second loss of the season, winning all but two events. Despite the loss, Marblehead (5-2) wrapped up a small school conference championship with a 5-0 conference record. Finishing first for the Tanners were: Emily Bacelar in the shot put (32 ½), Cynthia Aroke in the 55 hurdles (8.7), Amanda Andrews in the 300 (43.6), Emily Nelson in the 600 (1:47.5), Sophia Anderle in the 1,000 (3:14.5), Jessica Ostrowski in the mile (5:38.3) and Emily Christensen in the 2-miles (12:37.1). Maeve Sherwood finished first in the 55 (7.7) for Marblehead, followed by teammates Meg McCarthy (7.9) in second and Alyssa Nye (8.3) in third.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Beverly 62, Lynn Classical 51

Sophomore forward Paris Wilkey was the leading scorer for the Rams (11-8) with 20 points. Senior guard Chenysse Hill was right behind with 18 points, while junior guard Soneta Srey chipped in 10 points.

The Rams will try to rebound on Friday night when they face off against Revere for their senior night.

Fenwick 65, Medford 33

Sydney Brennan led the Crusaders (12-3) with 15 points and seven rebounds, while teammate Colleen Corcoran added 11 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Jaxson Nadeau also chipped in nine points and four steals for Fenwick. Sam Mancinelli registered seven points, five assists and three steals for the Crusaders, and teammate Melissa MacKenzie scored eight, as well.

Saugus 55, Somerville 47

The Sachems were able to fend off Somerville in overtime to notch their eighth win of the season. Krissy Italiano led Saugus offensively with 15 points, while teammates Olivia Valente and Marisa Stockwell added 14 and six points, respectively.

Lynn Tech 45, Presentation of Mary Academy 41

The Tigers earned their third win of the season behind Jamila Constantine’s 13 points and eight rebounds. Malvelis Hernandez added 10 points, four rebounds and four steals for Tech, while teammate Jesmary Valerio eight points and four steals. Senior captain Lila Nieves added six points and six assists, as well.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Saugus 65, Revere 48

Kyle Autilio led the Sachems (9-8) with 20 “hard-fought” points, as described by Saugus coach Paul Moran.

“(Autilio) really put the team on his back tonight,” Moran said.

David Rowinsky added 17 points, including five 3-pointers for Saugus, while teammate Evan DeCristoforo chipped in 14 points for the Sachems.

WRESTLING

St. John’s 52, Beverly 13

St. John’s improved to 36-1 on the season with a home win over the Panthers. Recording wins for the Eagles were: Ryan Garlitz (106), Will Grady (113), Malcolm Mitchell (120), Zach Alexander (126), Hunter Costa (138), Ben Shaw (145), David Yepez (170), Spencer Jenkins (182), Ben Klien (195), Jake Topel (220) and Jay Carnevale (285).

Danvers 71, Marblehead/Swampscott 0

The Falcons cruised to a shutout victory on senior night.

School roundup: St. Mary’s girls fall to Lexington

PHOTO BY SPENSER HASAK
St. Mary’s Madison Hentosh has her eyes on the goal.

By KATIE MORRISON and DILLON DURST

LYNN – Though the shots were nearly even and neither team dominated the puck, the St. Mary’s girls hockey team fell, 4-1, to Lexington on Monday at Connery Rink.

The Spartans unloaded nine shots on the Lexington net in the first period compared to only three shots from the Minutemen, but neither team could break through. Maggie Flaherty nearly faked out Lexington goalie Lucy Chin, but Chin made the stop. Ashley Wojewodzic sent in a shot from the blue line toward the end of the period, but was turned away. The Spartans dominated the latter half of the period, preventing Lexington from even getting off a shot in the final eight minutes of the first.

Less than a minute into the second, the Minutemen broke the scoreless tie. St. Mary’s had ample chances to get the goal back on a power play later in the period, firing three quick shots with the man advantage. But it wasn’t until after the power play was killed that Wojewodzic found the back of the net with 6:25 remaining in the period.

Lexington regained the lead less than two minutes later, and outshot St. Mary’s, 9-5, in the period.

The Spartans came out swinging in the third, firing three shots within the span of a minute to open the period. Chin made a couple of acrobatic saves to maintain the Lexington lead.

The Minutemen extended their lead on their first shot of the period.

Sophia Post came very close to getting the goal back for St. Mary’s a minute later, but was denied by Chin.

Lexington’s Emily Devine capped the scoring at 8:16 in the third.

The game wrapped up with 15 seconds remaining on the clock due to an injury to a Lexington player, who remained on the ice and required medical attention.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Peabody 46, Lynn Classical 34

The Tanners (8-5) defense, led by junior guard Katie Wallace, junior forward Marisi Tisi and senior forward Christa Baker, stifled the Rams’ offensive attack, culminating in a double-digit victory.

“Our defense played really well tonight,” Peabody coach Stan McKeen said.

The Tanners held Classical (11-7) to only two points in the second quarter. Junior guard Melissa Gray led Peabody with 21 points, while junior forward Chinanye Onwuogo added 10 points for the Tanners. Sophomore forward Paris Wilkey led Classical with 13 points, while senior guard Chenysse Hill added nine points for the Rams.

Chelsea 72, Lynn Tech 23

The Tigers (2-12) weren’t able to get much going offensively on the road against the Red Devils. Junior guard Malvelis Hernandez led Tech with six points.

“(Hernandez) worked really hard tonight all around, on offense and defense,” said Tech coach Kaitlyn Wechsler.

Junior guard Jesmary Valerio added seven points for the Tigers, while teammate Jamila Constantine chipped in four points.

Medford 65, Lynn English 56

The Bulldogs dropped to 5-10 on the season after a home loss to Medford. Despite the loss, Mashayla Johnson poured in 27 points for English, including seven 3-pointers and seven rebounds. Teammate Dorothy Ezemba added 12 points, 14 rebounds and three steals for the Bulldogs, while point guard Ely Guity chipped in five points and eight assists for English.

St. Mary’s 62, Archbishop Williams 53

The Spartans improved to 15-2 on the season, and moved into tie for first place atop the Catholic Conference. Sophomore guard Marnelle Garraud led St. Mary’s offensively with 30 points. Sophomore forward Olivia Nazaire added 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Spartans, while teammate Mia Nowicki chipped in seven points and six assists. Senior guard Kayla Carter also tallied 11 rebounds and eight assists for St. Mary’s.

Revere 60, Beverly 46

The Patriots improved to 14-1 on the season with a home win over the Panthers. Valentina Pepic led Revere with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while teammate Pamela Gonzalez added 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Patriots.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

St. Mary’s 56, Archbishop Williams 51

The Spartans (10-4) notched their sixth win in a row with a close road victory over Archbishop Williams. Junior guard Jonny Mercado led St. Mary’s with 18 points, while sophomore guard Calvin Johnson added 12 points for the Spartans.

BOYS’ HOCKEY

Swampscott 6, Weston 4

The Big Blue (10-7) secured a spot in the Division 3 tournament with a win over Weston. Louis Olivieri had a huge night for Swampscott, tallying a team-high four goals. Stevie Santanello and Mike Johnson both added goals for the Big Blue.

Weston clung to a 4-3 lead to begin the final period of play, before a Santanello goal knotted the score at four. With 10:17 left in regulation, Johnson found the back of the net, giving Swampscott a lead it wouldn’t lose. Olivieri provided the dagger with 8:49 left to play, scoring his fourth and final goal of the game.

BOYS’ TRACK

Classical 70, Winthrop 15

The Rams (2-5) cruised past Winthrop, recording first-place finishes in all but two events. Ivan Melara (1 minute, 42.9 seconds), Josue Blas (1:51.8) and Nick Lilja (1:52.5) swept the top three spots in the 600 meter race, finishing first, second and third, respectively. Also finishing first for Classical were Issa Jalloh in both the high jump (5 feet, 2 inches) and 300 (39.7), Samson Srey in the 50-yard hurdles (8.3), Marcus Rivera in the 50 (5.8), Junior Mejia in the 1,000 (3:08.0) and Gilley Kabamba in the mile (5:08.8). Andrew McGrail won the shot put (38-9 ¼) for Winthrop, while Nikolas Beshere finished first in the 2-miles (12:19.3) for the Vikings.

GIRLS’ TRACK

Classical 48, Winthrop 38

The Rams (3-3) edged Winthrop, sweeping the top three spots in the 50, and the top two spots in the high jump.

Agnes Bangura (6.5), Tori Adams (6.9) and Jasmine Coffin 7.0) finished first, second and third, respectively in the 50 for Classical. Coffin also added a first-place finish in the high jump (4 feet, 6 inches) for the Rams, followed by teammate Mary Jok (4-4). Devyn Astuccio also finished first for Classical in the 50 hurdles (7.8). Finishing first for the Vikings were Gianna Massa in the shot put (31-8 ½), Regina Garufo in the 300 (47.3), Holly Benson in the 600 (1:51.9), Heidy Benson in the 1,000 (3:35.7), Camila-Miranda Llovera in the mile (6:36.0) and Christina Leone in the 2-miles (13:55.8).


Katie Morrison can be reached at kmorrison@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter at @KatieMo61. Dillon Durst can be reached at ddurst21@gmail.com Follow him on Twitter @DillonDurst.

Tech girls grab come-from-behind victory

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Lynn Tech’s Lila Nieves drives past PMA’s Holleran to get into the lane.

By DILLON DURST

The Tigers utilized a fast-paced, pressure-oriented attack to defeat Presentation of Mary Academy, 52-38, Thursday evening at Lynn Tech.

Tech (2-10) found itself trailing after the first quarter, before applying a menacing press that forced PMA into numerous turnovers, resulting in easy buckets for the Tigers.

“We’ve never pressed like that before, so we went small and fast today,” said Lynn Tech coach Kaitlyn Wechsler. “So it was just a spark. A spark from our guards that we haven’t had all season really.”

Senior captain Lila Nieves and junior Jamila Constantine led the Tigers with 12 points a piece. Constantine also collected 10 rebounds, while Nieves tallied five assists and five steals. Junior guard Jesmary Valerio chipped in nine points for Lynn Tech, while teammate Jailene Rivera added eight.  

Wechsler said the Tigers have been working on stretching the court and increasing their pace of play.

“We’ve had a week off of practices, so we’ve just been getting out and running down the rebounds, and I told them I didn’t want to slow it down,” she said. “So we got the rebounds and we were running for layups.”

Lynn Tech held PMA to just one point in the second quarter, and took the lead heading into halftime.

“I think it was the press,” Wechsler said of the Tigers’ second-quarter turnaround. “I think one of the girls, Malvelis (Hernandez), she just got up and pressed and had a steal. And after that, we all just kind of went on board with her. I think she was the turnaround. She was the one who started that pressure for us.”

Also providing a spark off the bench for Lynn Tech was freshman Michayla Lawrence, who contributed six points and numerous steals in her first career varsity game.

“She’s athletic and long,” Weschler said of Lawrence. “She just came up from JV today.”

After taking the lead in the second quarter, the Tigers never looked back, cruising to a double-digit win.

“It was a big win for us,” Weschler said after the game. “We have some big games coming up now. We play (PMA) again…we’re just going to take this (win) and run with it.”


Dillon Durst can be reached at ddurst21@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DillonDurst