Mark Schruender

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 Howard

FILE PHOTO
Gretchen Howard earned her 18th career shutout in Wednesday’s win. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

It was a special night for the Winthrop/Lynn girls hockey team, as the Bulldogs topped Medford, 7-0, at Larsen Rink.

Abby Carleton and Kayla Morrill scored their first career goals for Lynn/Winthrop, but the night belonged to senior goalie Gretchen Howard, who notched her 18th career shutout, breaking the team record previously held by Boston College’s Katie Burt. Howard made 13 saves in the contest.

“She (Howard) was great,” Lynn/Winthrop coach Anthony Martucci said. “She didn’t have to make too, too many saves. She had 13 tonight. She’s been the backbone of our team for the last two years.”

Sydney Adamson scored two goals while McKayla Norris added a goal and an assist in the winning effort. Lynn/Winthrop (5-2) will look to stay on the win column when the team hosts Marblehead on Saturday. “We know they always play us tough,” Martucci said of the Magicians. “They’re a good team. We’re hoping to have another strong game and we’re looking for another win.”

St. Mary’s 3, Arlington Catholic 1

The Spartans improved to 5-2 behind goals from Aylah Cioffi, Sarah Ryan and Codi Butt.

BOYS HOCKEY

Marblehead 5, Beverly 1

The Magicians took a 1-0 lead into the second period, and the offense heated up from there. James McCarthy extended the lead to 2-0 before Beverly scored its only goal midway through the second. Braden Haley added two goals and Aidan Gillis scored once to give Marblehead some breathing room.

Swampscott 5, Revere 2

Trailing 2-0 after the first period, the Big Blue netted five unanswered goals to get the win. Stevie Santanello found the back of the net twice while Louis Olivieri, Kevin Lombard and Brett Benoit eached scored one.

Danvers 3, Peabody 1

Connor McCarron gave the Tanners (0-6-1) a 1-0 lead but the Falcons scored three unanswered goals to claim the win. Rob Tibbetts scored two goals for Danvers, while Connor Purcell added an insurance goal in the late stages of the game.

Peabody goalie Aaron McDonnell made 17 saves in the loss. Nick Capillo and Brandon Muise earned the assists on McCarron’s goal.

Triton 1, Lynnfield 0

A late Lynnfield shot hit the Triton crossbar with two seconds remaining and the Pioneers came up short.

BOYS TRACK

Triton 53, Tech 32

Manchester-Essex 37, Tech 35

At the CAL tri-meet on Wednesday, the Tigers fell by a close margin to Manchester-Essex but couldn’t keep pace with Triton. Top performers for Tech included Akeem Blake and Edgar Ortega. Blake took first place in three events: the high jump at five feet and 11 inches, the 50-yard dash at 5.9 seconds and the 300 at 40.6 seconds. Ortega notched the top spot in the two-mile run with a time of 11:02.2 seconds.

GIRLS TRACK

Triton 80, Tech 1

Manchester-Essex 60, Tech 7

A trio of Tech runners had a strong showing in the 50, with Carmina Oivier (7.2), Angelina Munoz (7.3) and Heidy Severino (7.9) among the top finishers. Karla Guerrero was among the top finishers in the 300 with a time of 55.8 seconds.

SWIMMING

Shawsheen 98, Tech 68

Dustin Bloom led the Tigers with his first career victory. Bloom won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1:14.57. Jin Purdy won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:27.91. Coral Gonzalez won the diving portion of the meet, earning 130.58 points. Allyssa Shaw came in second place in diving with 127.28 points. Romelo Lucas won first place in the 500 freestyle, while Alfred Torres earned two second place finishes (medley relay, breaststroke).

“We have a very young team of mostly ninth-graders that never swam competitively before,” Tech coach Brad Tilley said. “But they’re coming along and we’re expecting good things.”

Tech is back in the pool on Friday when the Tigers host Northeast Regional.

“A lot of our young kids are coming on,” Tilley said. “I’m very happy with the work they’ve put into the season.”

WRESTLING

Lynnfield 49, Burlington 27

Winners for the Pioneers (10-1-1) included Chris Reardon at 120 pounds, Will Glover (126), Joe Reardon (138), Aaron Gautreau (145), Connor Stead (152), Sean McCullough (160), Anthony Wilkinson (170) and Andrew DiPietro (182). “We had a couple of kids out because of injuries,” Lynnfield coach Craig Stone said. “Some of the kids bumped up in weight and they stepped up. It was a good team win from top to bottom.”

Lynnfield hosts a quad meet on Saturday against Melrose and Triton. “They bring really good competition,” Stone said. “At this point in the year you need that type of assessment to get to the next level.”

St. John’s Prep 57, Malden Catholic 15

Winners for the Prep (15-2) included Quinn Alexander at 106 pounds, Ryan Garlitz (113), Will Grady (120), Malcolm Mitchell (126), Zach Alexander (132), Sam Little (138), Chris Kwmuntis (160), Ben Klein (182), Max Rodriguez (195), Will Moulton (220) and Hunter Brown (285). The Eagles are 2-0 in the Catholic Conference.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Saugus 61, Somerville 43

After a tough loss to Classical, the Sachems (7-2) bounced back behind a career-high 17 points from Alessia Salzillo. Olivia Valente also had a strong game, scoring 13 points. Krissy Italiano contributed with nine points.

“It was a good game,” Saugus coach Mark Schruender said. “It was good for us to get mentally focused.”

The road doesn’t get any easier for the Sachems as they host undefeated Danvers on Friday. “We’ve seen them (Danvers) play a few times,” Schruender said. “They’re well-rounded and they don’t have a weakness. All of their players do something well. We’ll be challenged, we just have to go out and compete.”

KIPP 64, MATCH 16

Make that two wins on the week for the Panthers (5-1). Nayeli Germosen led the team with 21 points, while Destiny Coley-Papas contributed with 14. Kayla Keel added 11 points off the bench. Favour Ofuokwu and Angela Unubun dominated in the paint. KIPP has a quick turnaround as the Panthers host Pioneer Charter on Thursday.


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

Delgado leads Classical to win

FILE PHOTO
Classical’s Irianis Delgado led all scorers with 16 points on Tuesday night. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

Prior to Tuesday night’s game against Saugus, Classical girls basketball coach Tom Sawyer said his team would have its hands full against a talented Sachems group. Perhaps the Rams play best when their hands are full.

Behind an offensive display that saw seven different Classical scorers, the Rams rolled to a 60-37 win over the Sachems at Saugus High.

“Most impressive was that they pressed us and we handled their press,” Sawyer said. “Against Saugus, it starts with being able to handle their pressure. We were terrific tonight. Jeylly Medrano, running the point, was unbelievable handling their press. It all starts there.”

Classical seized the momentum in the early goings of the game. Paris Wilkey missed her first few shots, but the junior drained a pair of three pointers in the first quarter. Irianis Delgado muscled her way to a pair of buckets in the paint, and the Rams led 18-6 at the end of the first.

The Sachems carried their struggles into the second quarter. Classical ran a stingy 2-3 zone defense that gave Saugus issues throughout the first half.

“Classical did a good job,” Saugus coach Mark Schruender said. “They did a good job, they sped us up. I think when they started speeding us up, everybody started to take it upon themselves to come back from a poor start.”

Saugus committed three turnovers in the first two minutes of the second quarter. Classical capitalized on those mistakes with a 6-0 run that ended when Alessia Salzillo nailed a jump shot to get the Sachems back on the board. Classical led 34-12 at the half.

“Coach (Helen) Ridley and I talk before every game,” Sawyer said. “We both agreed that in this particular game we should play zone because Saugus is extremely active on offense. We gave up 12 (points) in the first half, so we stuck with it.”

Down 22 points at the start of the second half, Saugus was in need of offense. The Sachems began to hit their shots in the third quarter as a pair of free throws by Krissy Italiano slimmed Classical’s lead to 18 points at 36-18. The Rams held their end of the bargain and made a handful of buckets to carry a 48-23 advantage into the fourth quarter.

By the start of the fourth quarter, the game was in Classical’s bag. The Rams (7-3) rolled to their seventh win of the season.

Classical had three scorers in double figures. Delgado led all scorers with 16 points.

“Irianis had a terrific game tonight,” Sawyer said of the junior forward. “She’s a little banged up, had an ankle injury and didn’t know if she was going to be able to play. She’s a tough kid though, she said she wanted to play. We needed her.”

Medrano contributed with 13 points while Wilkey scored ten.

“What this shows is that we played our best game of the year,” Sawyer said. “It was an unbelievable effort by everybody, up and down our lineup. We’ll celebrate it tonight, it’s hard to win in this league.”

Classical will aim to stay on the win column when the Rams visit Gloucester on Friday.

On the Saugus side, Molly Granara led the Sachems with ten points.

“She (Granara) just competes,” Schruender said. “She’s a freshman that doesn’t know she’s a freshman. She works really hard in practice and yesterday I got on her in practice about defense. She responded really well.”

Salzillo had a strong performance of her own, with eight points.

The Sachems (6-2) will look to shake off the loss by correcting their mistakes. Saugus has a quick turnaround as the Sachems host Somerville tonight.

“Tomorrow’s a new day,” Schruender said. “We’re a game to game team. These kids are tough.”


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

School Roundup: St. Mary’s girls win fourth straight game

FILE PHOTO
Gabby Torres led the Spartans with 14 points in Friday’s win. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

The St. Mary’s girls basketball team pulled out a big win on the road as the Spartans defeated Cardinal Spellman, 53-40 on Friday night. The Spartans scored just 19 points in the first half but they found their offense in the latter stages of the game. Mashayla Johnson nailed a three-pointer towards the end of the third quarter to spark the Spartans, who pulled away in the fourth. Gabby Torres led St. Mary’s with 14 points. Temi Falayi and Olivia Nazaire hit crucial buckets in the latter stretch as they combined for 12 points in the fourth quarter. Mia Nowicki had a solid game on the defensive side. “We did some things tonight in the fourth quarter that we haven’t done all season,” St. Mary’s coach Jeff Newhall said. The win marks the fourth straight for the Spartans (5-4). “After a 1-4 start, we’re happy with what’s gone on the last two weeks,” Newhall said. St. Mary’s is back at it, again on the road, when the Spartans visit Cathedral on Monday night. “There’s no nights off in our league,” Newhall said. “We’re back to work on Sunday and we’ll get ready for Cathedral on Monday night.” Newhall added, “We’re happy, we still have a ways to go but we’re moving in the right direction.”

GIRLS BASKETBALL
Fenwick 53, Austin Prep 20

Defense was key for the Crusaders, who held Austin Prep scoreless in the second quarter to carry a 28-8 lead at halftime. Fenwick (6-1) never looked back as the Crusaders rolled to their sixth win of the season. Fredi DeGuglielmo led Fenwick with 16 points in the win. Sam Mancinelli had another strong outing at point guard with 10 points and six assists. Other key contributors included Jaxson Nadeau (11 points, six steals) and Olivia DiPietro (six points, seven rebounds). Fenwick will look to stay on the win column on Tuesday when the Crusaders host Archbishop Williams.

Classical 73, Winthrop 35

The Rams nailed a big win on the road as Paris Wilkey led Classical with 23 points. Wilkey, a junior forward, has put together a solid season for the Rams thus far. “Paris has been shooting the ball well lately,” Rams coach Tom Sawyer said. “That’s a testament to the hard work she’s put in this offseason. The hoop must have been looking real big for her tonight because everything was falling.” Soneta Srey scored 11 points while Skyler Crayton contributed with 8 points off the bench. All ten Classical players scored in the win. “We came out and shot the ball very well in the first quarter,” Sawyer said. “That got us going. Defensively, we focused on Winthrop’s best player and we did a good job in limiting her shots.” The Rams (6-3) will look to stay on the win column when they visit Saugus on Tuesday. “I’ve seen Saugus play twice already and I’m impressed,” Sawyer said. “We’ll have our hands full going over there. We’ll have to match their intensity to give ourselves a chance.”

Saugus 48, English 43

Olivia Valente (14 points, 15 rebounds) and Molly Granara (10 points, 10 rebounds) each logged double-doubles for the Sachems. Rachel Nazzaro hit a go-ahead three-pointer late in the fourth quarter. After losing a tough game to St. Mary’s earlier in the week, Saugus coach Mark Schruender said his team was looking to get back on the right track. “We knew going into the week that this game (against English) was going to be a tough game,” Schruender said. “As soon as the St. Mary’s game was over, we turned the page. It’s definitely good to get back on the right track.” The Sachems host Classical on Tuesday. “They mix up their defenses well and they’re well coached,” Schruender said of Classical. “We’ll have our hands full.”

BOYS BASKETBALL
English 72, Saugus 63

After losing two straight, the Bulldogs bounced back with a big win over the Sachems. “We had gone 1-3 the last four games so we had not been playing well,” English coach Mike Carr said. “We did a lot of good things today. We brought back the energy, that had been missing for us.” Javonte Edwards notched a double-double for English with 18 points and 12 rebounds and Tommy Rijo scored 20 of his own. Matt Waggett led the Sachems with 20 points, while Demetri Filaretos contributed with 14 of his own. “It was a very good first half,” Saugus assistant coach Mark Bertrand said. “We were hanging with them but we had a collapse in the third quarter. English is a tough team, Mike Carr does a great job there. They hit their buckets and their free throws, and we didn’t. That was the difference.” Saugus (2-5) will aim to bounce back on Tuesday at Classical. English (4-3) is also back in action on Tuesday, at Gloucester. “It was a big win for us,” Carr said. “If we’re back to giving that effort and believing in each other, I think we have a chance to be a good team.”

Cardinal Spellman 71, St. Mary’s 66
At Conigliaro Gym, the Spartans lost to the Cardinals after starting the fourth quarter on a 16-6 run. St. Mary’s led 59-58 with four minutes to play but Spellman closed out the game on a 13-6 run to notch the win. The Spartans will aim to bounce back when they host Cathedral on Monday night.

St. John’s Prep 72, Malden Catholic 71
At Malden Catholic, the Eagles hung on to fight off a late Malden Catholic rally. The Prep (5-1) grabbed its fifth win of the season. Top performers included Matt Relihan and Nate Hobbs (16 points each). Tommy O’Neill and Brett McNiff (13 points each) were also key contributors. The Eagles are off until Friday night when they host Catholic Memorial.

Beverly 53, Gloucester 51
Down 15 points at halftime, the Panthers (5-1) clawed back for the come from behind victory. Top performers for Beverly included Luigi Derrane, who scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds, and Hugh Calice, who logged a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Pat Gavin also logged a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the win. Kevin Morency dished six assists for Beverly. The Panthers visit Marblehead on Tuesday.

 


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

Spartans hit their shots in win over Saugus

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Temi Falayi (left) of the Spartans and Olivia Valente of the Sachems battle for a rebound. 

By STEVE KRAUSE

LYNN — Two teams … two different perspectives. But at the end of the night, both, perhaps, had a better sense of where they were and where they needed to go.

That’s what the two coaches got out of Wednesday night’s 61-37 win by the St. Mary’s girls basketball team over Saugus at Conigliaro Gym.

Two years ago, the Saugus girls won one game. Last year, they finished .500. This year, they were off to a 5-0 start heading into Wednesday’s game, and the idea of competing against the perennial Division 3 powerhouse Spartans seemed like being in rarified air.

“These are the games we want to play,” said Saugus coach Mark Schruender.

Since both teams are in Division 3, it was mentioned that perhaps Saugus could see St. Mary’s again come February or March in the state tournament.

“We can’t worry about what happens in February,” Schruender said. “We just have to worry about tomorrow. Just get better tomorrow. We got better just by having played tonight. Now, we have to keep on getting better.”

St. Mary’s coach Jeff Newhall’s team has finally reached .500 for the season (4-4), and he’s happy about the way things have gone since his team opened at 0-3 and 1-4.

“I’m grateful that we’ve won three in a row (over Classical and Swampscott in the Boverini Tournament) and now against Saugus. Now we have to keep winning to get over the .500 mark.

“We got off to a rough start,” he said, “but Iike the way we responded.”

The book on St. Mary’s coming into the game was that the Spartans didn’t have any consistent outside shooting. Newhall can be thankful that his players didn’t read the book. St. Mary’s had nine three-pointers Wednesday night as it seized the early lead (15-5 after a quarter) and never let go. The Spartans increased that lead to 33-19 at the  half, and 48-30 after three.

“Despite what you saw,” said Newhall, “(Schruender) has done a very good job over there. They have a system, and they’re sticking to it, and they’re going to be fine.

“I think it’s fantastic that they want to play us,” said Newhall.

Senior Mia Nowicki hit a three for the Spartans’ second basket of the night and from there, it was bombs away. She finished up with three treys for nine points, Gabriella Torres had two trifectas on her way to 10 points, Ashley Sullivan had two three-pointers, and Mashayla Johnson and Christina Nowicki one each.

The high scorer for St. Mary’s was Temi Falayi with 11 as the Spartans spread it around. Also scoring nine points was Olivia Nazaire.

The Sachems (5-1) didn’t have anyone in double figures. Sophomore Alessia Salzillo had nine points, and freshman Taylor Bogdanski eight.

Schruender was happy with the way his team played.

“No one quit,” he said. “The effort was fantastic, all night long. I’m proud of my kids. St. Mary’s is a very good team. Good players, and good coaches. We just have to get better. That’s all.”


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

Saugus rallies to beat Salem

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Saugus’ Krissy Italiano and Salem’s Stephanie Cantone reach for a rebound, while Salem’s Alexis Cicco holds back Saugus’ Molly Granara.

By MIKE ALONGI 

SALEM — After falling behind by as many as 13 points in the first half, the Saugus girls basketball team rallied on the road to open the season with a 47-30 win over the Salem Witches at Veterans Memorial Field House on Thursday night. The key to the win was hard work and mental toughness, according to Saugus coach Mark Schruender.

“The kids overcame adversity tonight,” he said. “They stayed together, stayed true to themselves and stayed mentally tough, and that was really the key tonight. We have a lot of mentally tough kids on this team.”

Senior captain Olivia Valente led the way for Saugus, putting up a double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds. Another senior captain, Krissy Italiano, just missed a double-double after finishing with eight points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Taylor Bogdanski provided a spark off the bench with six points and six rebounds, while junior Allie Kotkowski, sophomore Alessia Salzillo and freshman Molly Granara each notched six points.

For Salem, junior captain Emily Fabre had 11 points and two rebounds and senior captain Alexis Cicco had seven points and three rebounds. Junior Chrishae Dunston had six points and four rebounds, freshman Stephanie Cantone had four points and four rebounds and junior captain Wildarys Correa had two points and six rebounds.

“I loved the way the kids came out, they had a great start,” said Salem coach John Fortunato. “But Saugus was really able to come out strong in the second half and give us some trouble. Give a lot of credit to them, they played a great game.”

The Witches came out strong in the first quarter, taking an early lead behind some great defense and shotmaking. At that point, Schruender knew he had to change some things up on both ends.

“We switched things up early,” said Schruender. “Salem’s full-court break gave us fits in the first quarter, and they’re a pretty smart team. But our kids stayed tough and continued to adjust on the fly to whatever Salem was doing, which was great.”

It worked, as the Sachems only gave up 12 points for the rest of the game. Not only that, but the strong rebounding combination of Valente and Italiano afforded Saugus plenty of second-chance opportunities.

“That’s nothing new,” Schruender said of the duo’s rebounding prowess. “Olivia averaged 10 (rebounds) per game last year and Krissy was right up there too, and that’s what they do. We don’t have to do too many rebounding drills with them in practice.”

Saugus cut the deficit to just six points by the end of the first half, and then came out with some full-court press defense in the second half. At first, Salem was able to fight through the press and still make shots to hold the lead. But eventually, Saugus was able to force some turnovers and continue to cut into the lead. By the end of the third quarter, it was a one-point game at 28-27 Salem.

The fourth quarter is where everything came together for Saugus and everything fell apart for Salem. The press defense began to really wear on the Witches, who started to turn the ball over more and more. Meanwhile, Saugus started hitting a bunch of shots to take the lead.

“We have a very young team, and the strong press began to really affect them as the game went on,” said Fortunato. “(Saugus) was switching things up constantly on defense, and we just couldn’t adjust quickly enough.”

The Sachems only gave up two points defensively in the fourth quarter and they scored 20, surging ahead to seal the victory.

Both teams will have the weekend off before getting back into action early next week. The Sachems will host Gloucester at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, while Salem will take on Swampscott at home at 7 p.m.

Girls test mettle in Duchane girls basketball jamboree

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Fenwick’s Sam Mancinelli gets a step on Revere’s Tatianna Iacoviello in the Duchane Jamboree Saturday at the Classical gym.

By SCOT COOPER

LYNN — The Paul Duchane Girls Basketball Jamboree is one of the first tests area teams get as they prepare for the upcoming season.

Held every year at the Classical gym, in memory of the man who taught and coached throughout the Lynn school system, the 24th annual jamboree Saturday saw English, Swampscott, Marblehead, Malden, Somerville, Medford, Saugus, Danvers, Hamilton-Wenham, Reading, Peabody, Revere, Bishop Fenwick, Georgetown and Masconomet take part.

The 16 teams each played two quarters, and the stands were filled with fans, and also quite a few area coaches, scouting and filming teams they’ll face somewhere down the line this season.

Classical came out fairly strong against Masconomet in the day’s last game, racing out to a 4-1 lead on four points by Paris Wilkey. The Chieftains took their first lead at 8-6, but a bucket by Irianis Delgado tied the score at eight apiece.

Things went south for the Rams after that, Masconomet cruised to a 29-8 lead before Skyler Creighton swished one for Classical. The Chieftains scored at the buzzer for a 31-10 final.

Rams coach Tom Sawyer said the team has to practice much harder before Tuesday night’s season opener against Everett.  

“I thought we started the game well,” he said. “The kids competed hard all night, we just didn’t finish very well after that good start.

“We’ve got to make adjustments and turn up the intensity at practice before our game with Everett. We need to practice at a much higher intensity level, and carry that high intensity level into games this season,” he said.

English scored four seconds into its game with Georgetown, Ely Guity took the tip and she floored it to the basket for an easy layup. Bulldogs coach Mackenzie Charles was coaching in his first jamboree, a 21-10 win, and he liked the effort by his club Saturday evening.

“It was a really good scrimmage for our team,” he said “I thought we played well. We’re a young team, we have a long way to go and a lot to learn, but I thought we did a good job tonight,” Charles said.

“It’s early and this is a long season, but what we want to do is come out and get better every time out, and I think we did a good job in this scrimmage.

“We have a lot of things that I want to see this team get better at as the season goes on, but I liked the effort tonight from our team,” Charles said. “As long as we improve and learn something every time we step on the court, that’s what I want to see happen with this team this year.”

English senior captain Rachel Calnan was the high scorer against the Royals (9 points), and she said that hard work and communication are going to be key issues that have to be addressed by her team this winter if the Bulldogs are going to be successful.

“I thought we communicated very well on the court, and we need to keep doing that this season,” Calnan said. “We were very aggressive on the boards, and I think that’s a very good thing for our team, we have to keep playing aggressively and communicating on the court every game this season.”

Marblehead was as cold from the floor as it was outside the Classical field house early in its game against Malden. The Magicians heated up very nicely in the second quarter and rolled over the Golden Tornado, 24-10.

The Magicians were led on offense by captains Lindsay Walker and Ashley Stiles, as well as Maddie Lowi and Darcy O’Sullivan. The winners were up 9-6 after one quarter and outscored Malden 15-4 in the second quarter.  

Marblehead coach Wayne Hanscom was pleased the team kept working and broke out of its shooting slump as the game wore on.

“You only play a half, we played everyone, but we did miss a lot of bunnies,” Hanscom said. “We kept working, the girls never got frustrated, and the ball started to drop for us.”

Swampscott zipped out to a 15-1 lead over Somerville after one quarter, and Blue coach Katelyn Leonard played everybody in a 24-18 win. Swampscott’s starting five, Hannah Leahy, Katie Watts, Maggie DiGrande, Nikki Rosa and Ella Parker all scored for Swampscott early, with freshman Olivia Matella knocking down some big threes in the first quarter.

Leonard said it’s always good to have a fast start.

“We looked really strong early on, we were working really well with and without the ball,” Leonard said. “It’s all about defense with us, and I think we played a very solid game today, defensively.”

Saugus took a 15-0 lead into the break against Medford, and cruised past the Mustangs, 29-6.

Sachems coach Mark Schruender liked the high-energy game his team played.

“We started great,” he said. “Too bad we can’t save some of those points. It was a great start for our team.

“The girls were very hungry out there, I thought. You practice for a couple of weeks and see the same faces, so tonight, against another team we came out really well, we played very hard, and I’m happy about that. Let’s hope it continues.”

Peabody had a tough time in its game against Reading. The Tanners had three starters watching the game from the bench with injuries and lost 28-8. Peabody got a bucket from Catherine Manning and free throws by Liz Zaiter, Hannah Pellizzaro Alyssa Alperin and Katie Wallace. Coach Stan McKeen said there is work to do for his team.

“It was tough with three starters on the bench, but we need to get better on defense, and certainly in offense,” McKeen said. “Hopefully everyone will be back on Friday night and we can go out and play better basketball.”

Last year’s Bishop Fenwick team took the state title, and this winter seven of those players are back for coach Adam Debaggis. The Crusaders were able to spoil Revere’s Lianne O’Hara’s Duchane head coaching debut with a 20-15 win. It wasn’t O’Hara’s first Duchane game; she was an assistant for many years with Fenwick.

Revere was coming off a hard-fought, emotional win Friday night at St. Mary’s.

Samantha Mancinelli, Sammi Gallant, Olivia DiPietro and Elizabeth Pica led the way on offense for Fenwick. Valentina Pepic, Elizabeth Lake, Pamela Gonzalez and Tatiana Iacoviello had buckets for the Patriots.

“Last year was last year, it was exciting, but this year is this year,” Debaggis said. “We miss Lianne a lot, but we’re focused on a big season, and we have a lot of work to do, as long as we all work hard, we will be a tough team to beat.”

“We kind of started off a little slow (down 8-0), a little messy, so we have to work on that, come out a little better to start games,” O’Hara said. “I love this tournament, I loved it when I was at Fenwick, I love it now that I’m with Revere. We just need to come out a little better in games and we’ll got from there.”

Danvers and Hamilton-Wenham played a thriller in their game. It looked like the Generals would have an easy ballgame, going up 16-3 early in the first. The Falcons hung around, fought back and trailed by a bucket after a steal and a swish by Tina Gigli with 11 seconds to play. Hamilton-Wenham was able to run out the clock and hold on for a 29-27 win.

 

Saugus girls ready to take the next step

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Saugus’ Olivia Valente throws up a hook shot around the defense of Tommi Hill.

By MIKE ALONGI 

After making it into the Division 3 North state tournament last year, the Saugus girls basketball team is ready to take the next step. The Sachems rattled off 11 wins in 2015-2016 after a one-win campaign in 2014-2015, and fourth-year head coach Mark Schruender credits the players who were able to make it happen.

“It was great to see all their hard work pay off,” said Schruender. “We had some great leaders on the team last year who are gone now, but we also have plenty of players who were on the team that are coming back this year. They keep improving every day.”

The Sachems lost three players to graduation last year in Mikayla Niles, Gabby Valente and Kristen Weatherbee. All three played a vital role both on and off the court and will be tough to replace.

“Not only were they great players, but they were also emotional leaders out there,” Schruender said. “They were obviously the most experienced players we had, so they had to set the tone for us and they did a great job.”

There is still one Valente on the team, however, in Gabby’s sister Olivia. A senior captain this season, Olivia averaged 10 rebounds per game last year and will once again look to be the team’s top rebounder.

The other two senior captains, sisters Katie and Krissy Italiano, will also try to dominate the paint from the forward position. Krissy is the team’s leading returning scorer (eight points per game last year), while Katie is the emotional leader on the floor.

One thing is for sure, Schruender plans on using his three captains’ athleticism to the team’s advantage this year. Olivia was an NEC All-Star in soccer this year, while the Italiano sisters were both NEC All-Stars in field hockey.

“We have a lot of great athletes on this team, so speed will be our friend,” said Schruender. “We’re going to look to get out and run this year, and I think we’ll be solid with rebounding and defending. The key will be scoring the ball, and I think we have some players who can get the job done.”

Of course, there are plenty of challenges at the start of every new basketball season, namely bringing new players with little experience into the system.

“Obviously the biggest hurdle every year is getting your new players acclimated,” said Schruender. “I’m very confident in the girls we have, I know they’re all very good players. But the fact is, you can’t simulate experience. They just need to get minutes in real game action and get used to playing out there.”

The Sachems held their first practice of the year on Monday and they still have 12 days until their first game on the road against Salem on December 15. Schruender doesn’t want to set his sights too high for the season, so he just keeps it simple with a mantra you may have heard before.

“It might be a cliche, but we’re just trying to get better every day out there,” he said. “You never know what you’re going to get each year, so the goals are to just work hard and improve every day. We’ll see what happens from there.”

Swampscott hangs on for win over Saugus

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Saugus’ Rachel Nazzaro releases a shot as Faye Parker goes for the block.

By KATIE MORRISON

SAUGUS – With the Saugus girls’ basketball team down by 14 points to Swampscott after a quarter, it looked like this game might be a blowout. But the Sachems came back and gave Swampscott some trouble, and Swampscott escaped with a 54-50 win at Saugus High.

The Sachems scored the first four points of the game, but the Big Blue went on an 18-0 run to close out the quarter and grab a commanding lead. Meghan Hartmann, who led all scorers with 25 points on the night, racked up 12 points before the end of the first.

But the Sachems weren’t without their opportunities.

“We said in the first quarter that we liked the shots we were getting, and we thought (Swampscott was) shooting very, very well. So we were just thinking that the stats were going to correct themselves,” said Saugus coach Mark Schruender.

The numbers did, indeed, even out as the game went on.

The Sachems spread out the scoring in the second quarter with Olivia Valente scoring four points and Marisa Stockwell and Alessia Salzillo chipping in three apiece. They limited Swampscott to eight points in the quarter, and held Hartmann scoreless.

“We closed out a little bit better on the shooters in the second quarter,” said Schruender. “Then we were getting good looks. In the second quarter, we moved a little bit better with the basketball, and that freed up some offensive rebounds and freed up shooters a little better and shots started going in. We got a little confidence going into halftime.”

The Sachems closed the gap to 10 at the half, 26-16.

Saugus captain Mikayla Niles, who finished with 12 points, led the Sachems in the third quarter with eight points. Krissy Italiano chipped in four, and all of a sudden, it was a tight game. The Sachems trailed by just three, 39-36, at the start of the fourth.

Swampscott responded by turning up the pressure.

We went full court, put the pressure on and try to make them make mistakes, try to contain them, because our zone was falling flat a little,” said Swampscott coach Katelyn Leonard. “I thought that got them in a kind of hurry-up offense, and helped us control the game.”

The lead switched sides often in the fourth, but Swampscott was able to get out in front thanks to some big blocks from Faye Parker and a big quarter from Hartmann.

They’re a really tough team. They’re young and feisty and they can shoot,” said Leonard. “Another two minutes, and who knows who’s game that would have been.”

Big Blue’s Jamie Caponigro scored 10 points and pulled down eight boards. Parker was a force in the paint, grabbing seven rebounds and putting up 12 points. Hannah Leahy chipped in seven points and seven boards for Swampscott.

For Saugus, Schruender acknowledge the play of his captains, Niles and Gabby Valente.

“When we’re down, like we were at the end of the first, you can say ‘uh oh, it’s one of those nights.’ And I looked at the team and said ‘we’re fine,’ and they echoed that,” said Schruender. “Gabby did everything she could, what a tough kid on defense. Mikayla had a great night on offense, right before the half she had a huge bucket at the buzzer to pull us within 10, and then in the third quarter she came out and did real well.”


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