tom sawyer

Rams celebrate season at team banquet

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Classical coaches Tom Sawyer, left, and Helen Ridley, right, gave seniors Soneta Srey, second from left, and Priscill Alouidor a gift at the Rams’ girls basketball banquet Tuesday.

By KATIE MORRISON 

LYNN — The Lynn Classical girls basketball team had a season to remember in 2016-17. The Rams won 17 games, the highest win total for Classical since the 2003-04 season. They not only got the chance to host a state tournament game, but were able to win in their home gym, beating North Andover, 59-47, before falling to Billerica in the Division 1 North quarterfinals.

The Rams celebrated their impressive season on Tuesday night at Old Tyme Italian Cuisine in Lynn at the team’s annual banquet.

It was an emotional evening as Classical said farewell to a pair of seniors in Soneta Srey and Priscill Alouidor. Srey, a Northeastern Conference All-Star, was named the team’s Defensive Player of the Year. The senior scored a career-high 33 points against Everett in a season filled with highlights for both her and the Rams.

“We always put her (Srey) on the other team’s most important player,” Classical head coach Tom Sawyer said. “She always came through. She’s an unbelievable athlete.”

Alouidor received the Academic Achievement Award, as she holds a 4.18 grade point average and is 20th in her class.

The two seniors gave their own speeches at the end of the evening.

“Playing basketball isn’t just about winning, but about the memories you make and the fun you have, and I just realized that,” Srey said. “What you learn on the court, you apply to life as well.”

“I’m grateful for all the memories. There are times when I questioned playing this year, but I’m glad I did,” Alouidor said. “Even though I won’t be playing basketball in college, I will always tell people about the wonderful times I had at Classical.”

Paris Wilkey was honored as the team’s Best Offensive Player. The junior, who is closing in on 1,000 career points, averaged 17 points per game, scored 35 percent of the Rams’ points, and reached double figures in 20 of 22 games this season. She, along with Revere’s Valentina Pepic, was named co-Player of the Year in the NEC.

Irianis Delgado was named the Rookie of the Year for the Rams. Delgado became a large part of Classical’s offense as the season progressed, and scored 16 points in a 23-point victory over Saugus.

“She’s grown by leaps and bounds,” Sawyer said.

Jeylly Medrano, the team’s other NEC all-star selection, was named the Most Improved Player. Medrano had the tall task of taking over for 2016 Classical graduate Chenysse Hill at point guard, and Sawyer said she “did everything we asked of her and alleviated those concerns.”

Tyarah Horton received the Lady Ram Award for her hard work, dedication and hustle.

“We never have to coach her effort,” said Rams assistant coach Helen Ridley. “She’s our unsung hero.”

Also receiving awards for the sub-varsity teams were Izzy McGaughey (freshmen team’s Most Improved Player), Amber Crayton (freshmen Most Valuable Player), Jean Gupton (JV Most Improved Player), Jasmin Masse (JV Offensive Player of the Year) and Rebecca Walker (JV Coaches Award).

Sawyer thanked his coaching staff, which includes Ridley, junior varsity coach Rob Smith and freshmen coach Frank DeLuca. Ridley had kinds words of her own to share about Sawyer.

“This team has the best coach in the city. He could be a college coach,” Ridley said. “Your daughters are in great hands.”

Classical girls basketball ousted by Billerica

ITEM PHOTO | KATIE MORRISON
Classical’s Soneta Srey launches a shot over Billerica’s Emily Scurka. Srey scored 13 points. 

By KATIE MORRISON

 

LYNN — The Classical girls basketball team has checked off a lot of boxes on its to-do list this season.

It finished with the program’s best regular-season record (17-5) in more than a decade, grabbed the No. 4 seed in the MIAA Division 1 bracket, and earned not one, but two home games with a first-round win over North Andover.

But Sunday, the Rams simply ran into a team that had height, athleticism and plenty of weapons on the floor as No. 5 Billerica knocked them out of the D1 quarterfinals, 54-37, at Classical.

The Rams (18-6) kept the game close throughout the first half, but foul trouble and stifling defense from the Indians allowed Billerica to run away with the game in the final two quarters.

“This does not take away from the year these guys had,” Classical coach Tom Sawyer said. “They played the game the right way today, they battled and fought. It was a great, great season.”

Classical’s Soneta Srey knotted the game at 12 on the first possession of the second quarter, but back-to-back threes early in the second from Billerica opened up the lead to six, 18-12. The Indians opened up the lead to 10, 26-16, with 2:20 left in the half, but then Srey stepped up and took control. After cutting Billerica’s lead to 26-22 on a three-point play, Srey, one of the team’s two seniors (along with Priscill Alouidor) logged her third steal of the game to end the quarter. Srey (team-high 13 points) scored nine of the Rams’ 12 points in the quarter.

“Soneta is extremely athletic, and you couple that with good anticipation skills, she gets her hand on the ball a lot,” Sawyer said. “I think she played an outstanding game today.”

While the Rams were getting offense from Srey, Irianis Delgado (5 points) and Tyarah Horton (7 points), Billerica limited leading scorer Paris Wilkey to just two points in the half, both on free throws.

Things didn’t get better for Wilkey in the third, as the junior forward got into foul trouble. The Rams struggled to score after the half, unable to get good looks and offensive rebounds due to Billerica’s length.

““I think (Classical) had trouble finding who to go to there,” Billerica coach Chris Doneski said. “(Wilkey) usually makes a lot of big plays and tough shots.”

The closest the Rams could come was within three midway through the third, but the Indians caught fire from beyond the arc, and took a 13-point lead, 40-27, into the fourth.

Wilkey was back on the floor for the final quarter, but was limited to one field goal (though she hit 4 of 6 free throws to finish with 8 points). Srey added two points in the quarter, but it wasn’t enough as Billerica continued to hit shots and create second chances on offense to seal the win.

 

Late heroics push Rams through first round

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Jeylly Medrano, left, Tyarah Horton, second from right, and Priscill Alouidor, left, mob Paris Wilkey after Wilkey drew a foul with just a one second left on the clock.

By SCOT COOPER

LYNN – For the first time in 12 years, the Classical girls’ basketball team hosted, and won, a playoff game. Wednesday night’s 50-47 win over North Andover  in the first round of the Division 1 North tournament was worth the wait.

The biggest difference between the Scarlet Knights and the Rams? Classical had Paris Wilkey. North Andover had no answer for the junior forward who torched them for 23 points.

Wilkey scored 12 of her team’s final 14 points, all in the fourth quarter, but it was the 12th and 13th points of the fourth quarter, the only ones not scored by Wilkey, that sent the home crowd into a frenzy.

With the score knotted up at 47-47 with 20 seconds left, Classical’s Jeylly Medrano grabbed the ball after a North Andover miss, and doing her best imitation of a Tom Brady bomb to Julian Edelman, hit Soneta Srey all alone heading towards the Classical basket. Srey put it up and in with 18.1 seconds left to give Classical back the lead 49-47.

North Andover tried to hit a three on its final possession, but missed. Wilkey snatched the rebound was fouled, and scored the final point from the line with one second left.

Srey, a senior forward who was solid under the glass all night, said the big play just happened. She saw an opening and went for it.

“I wasn’t nervous when the game was tied, I just wanted to feel like I did before the game, which was excited, so I got open and got the ball and put it in,” Srey said. “This team always has somebody step up, and if it wasn’t me, it would have been somebody else. Paris (Wilkey) put us in position to win.”

North Andover grabbed the lead twice in the game, late in the first quarter and then again in the fourth, going up 40-38 on a basket by Kelly Corrigan. The Rams didn’t panic; they took a timeout and got things organized, outscoring the Scarlet Knights 12-7 to close out the game.

Wilkey said her team came to play, and the home crowd really helped the team.

“We fought hard until the end. We had a little setback there near the end, but everybody picked it up, it was a great effort by the team,” Wilkey said. “It was great to play this game at home and win it.”

Wilkey led all scorers and was backed up Srey’s 12 points and Medrano’s 12.  Irianis Delgado had eight, and Tyarah Horton contributed five.

North Andover coach Megan Ryan said her team didn’t have an answer for Wilkey once she started to post up.

“She’s very tough, she has a great inside-out game,” Ryan said. “You put a guard on her and she goes over them. You put a big on her, and she goes around them. (She’s) very tough to play against.

“We knew coming in that Lynn Classical was a very good team, loaded with talented players, and they certainly came as advertised,” Ryan said. “It’s tough to play on the road, we had to come in here and play a great game, we played well, but just missed.”

Faith Connors led North Andover with 15 points, all on three pointers.

Rams coach Tom Sawyer said getting the win at home was special.

“The kids were great tonight, I’m so happy for them that they got to play here in this atmosphere, just incredible,” Sawyer said. “We’ve got a chance to win another home game, back here in front of our crowd against Billerica, they’re a tough team, but having the game here in our gym is huge for us.”

Classical hosts No. 5 Billerica on Sunday.

Tech, Classical, St. Mary’s set for tourney runs

FILE PHOTO
Soneta Srey and the No. 4 Lynn Classical girls basketball team will host No. 13 North Andover on Wednesday night. 

By KATIE MORRISON

With three girls teams vying for a state championship, Lynn is a center of activity for high school basketball this season. Friday, the Classical, Tech and St. Mary’s girls basketball teams found out what their roads to the North finals will look like as brackets were released for all four divisions.

The Rams earned the No. 4 seed in the Division 1 bracket, which will set them up for at least two home games, provided they win. But the first hurdle is all coach Tom Sawyer is looking at right now: next Wednesday’s game against No. 13 North Andover, at Classical at 7.

Unlike last year, when Classical drew fellow Northeastern Conference team Beverly in the first round, the Rams are facing off against an unfamiliar squad in North Andover of the Merrimack Valley Conference.

The Scarlet Knights (11-9) are led by the duo of Faith Connors and Emma LiPorto, and Sawyer says that they can beat you in a number of ways.

“They’re an athletic, talented team that runs the floor in transition very well,” Sawyer said, who added that North Andover likes to drive to the basket, but also has a number of good outside shooters, like Connors. “We’ll have our hands full making sure we can contain them.”

The Rams are playing well heading into the tournament. Classical hasn’t lost since Feb. 3, and as far as losses go, there were plenty of positives to take from a two-point loss against Division 1 second-seed Revere, which was undefeated at the time (though it finished with two losses). Since then, the Rams reeled off four-straight wins to finish 17-5, their best record in 13 years.

Earning a home game is another milestone for the Classical girls, since it’s the first time in 10 years the Rams will host a tournament game.

“It’s very rewarding and I’m happy for this team to earn a home game,” Sawyer said. “We’re hoping we can get the students and community to come out and support.”

But the Rams are the only Lynn girls team to earn a home game. St. Mary’s just fell short, getting the No. 5 seed in a small Division 3 bracket. That means the Spartans will be traveling to Boston next Friday to take on Green Academy.

St. Mary’s doesn’t share any common opponents with the small Boston charter school, but coach Jeff Newhall said he isn’t concerned about who the Spartans are playing, just how his team plays Friday.

“We don’t know a ton about them, but at this point, it’s about us being prepared to play at a tournament level and being prepared mentally,” Newhall said.

The Spartans are one of the more battle-tested teams out there, as 20 of the 22 games in their regular season were against teams now in the tournament. After starting 1-5, St. Mary’s has been putting a lot of pressure on itself to reach the tournament, so it isn’t taking anything for granted.

“With the schedule we play, there’s not a lot of margin for error,” Newhall said. “I think we were playing at a tournament level for 6-8 weeks. Anything is possible if we play the way we’re capable of playing.”

The time off between the end of the regular season and the start of the tournament is a big advantage for St. Mary’s, which has played a grueling schedule that included three tournaments and a trip to Florida.
“It’s been a grind at times, and having some time off hasn’t been bad,” Newhall said.

It’s also given the Spartans time to get healthy. Temi Falayi injured her ankle during the Spartans’ regular season finale Monday against Rockland. The x-rays came back negative, but some extra time to recover can’t hurt. Newhall said he’s optimistic Falayi will be on the court come Friday.

On the other hand, there’s the Tech girls. The No. 12 seed in Division 4 will wait until Wednesday to play No. 5 Pope John on the road, making it almost two weeks in between the end of the regular season and the start of the tournament.

“We took a few days off to rest because we have a small team, but we’ve been practicing and scrimmaging since Wednesday,” coach Kaitlyn Wechsler said. “We’re trying to stay in basketball shape and game mode.”

The Tigers are in the tourney for the first time since 2008, and after going down to the wire to clinch a postseason berth in its final game, the pressure is finally off for Tech.

“This was our goal, and no one is expecting us to do much, being a lower seed,” said Wechsler. “But maybe we can go out there and be that Cinderella team like in college basketball. Teams take us lightly because of our seed, and the pressure is on them.”

Wechsler said she’s still gathering information about Pope John, and the key is to find out what kind of defense Tech’s opponent will play.

“We like to know what kind of defense other team is playing to prepare for it,” Wechsler said. “We had a scrimmage (yesterday) and had them practice everything, zone, man, press, just so we’re ready for anything.”

Tech travels to Pope John Wednesday at 7.

School Roundup: Wilkey, Rams defeat Magicians

FILE PHOTO
Paris Wilkey scored 14 points for the Rams. 

By MIKE ALONGI

Needing to win their final game of the regular season to finish 10-10, and qualify for the state tournament, the Marblehead High girls’ basketball team battled for 32 minutes but came up short, losing 38-30 to Classical Friday.
“We competed for the entire game, but we came up against a very good team, and they got by us,” Magicians coach Wayne Hanscom said. “We overachieved all year, this team did this year, I think, we won nine games, which is great, but we wanted to win 10.”
For Marblehead, their season ends at 9-11, while the home team Rams improve to 17-5, and wait for playoff seedings that will be announced Friday, February 24.
Classical coach Tom Sawyer said his team has been solid on defense all season, and Friday night against a desperate Marblehead team was no exception.
“We didn’t score a heck of a lot of points tonight, but we scored enough to win,” Sawyer said. “All year long for us it’s been the defense and tonight was no exception. We won 17 games overall this year which is great, the most we’ve won in a season since we were 20-0 way back in in 2003-2004.”
For the Rams, junior Paris Wilkey led all scorers, dropping in 14 points. Irianis Delgado, another of the talented Rams’ junior forwards, chipped in with 11 points.
Marblehead’s senior co-captains, Lindsay Walker and Ashley Stiles, were both playing their final game for the Magicians. Walker led her team in scoring with 12 points, while Stiles contributed three points. The Magicians’ other senior, point guard Montana Joyce, scored four points in her final game, and junior Hannah Garthe put in 11 points for Marblehead.   

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Newburyport 37, Lynnfield 34
The Pioneers (1-17) battled back from a 10-point deficit at halftime to make it a game. Lynnfield trailed by 12 early in the third quarter, but junior Juliana Passatempo hit a pair of buckets to help fuel an 8-0 run that closed the gap to four.
The Pioneers actually took the lead briefly with five minutes left in the game when junior guard Hannah Filipe buried a three to put Lynnfield up 30-29, but the Clippers pulled out the win in the final seconds.
Lynnfield freshman Melissa Morelli led the Pioneers with 11 points followed by Passatempo with 10. Paige Gouldthorpe had 11 points for Newburyport and Olivia Nelson, 10. The Clippers (10-8) qualified for the tournament with the win. Both teams have two non-league games remaining.

Malden 45, Saugus 44

The Sachems put forth a great effort, but lost on a buzzer-beating three-pointer against Malden on Friday night. Olivia Valente led Saugus with 12 points, while Taylor Bogdanski had 10 points and Alessia Salzillo had nine points.

The Sachems (15-6) will close out the regular season on Tuesday with a home game against Swampscott.

BOYS BASKETBALL

St. Mary’s 59, Bishop Fenwick 50

Jalen Echevarria had 14 points to lead the Spartans’ offense on Friday as St. Mary’s improved to 12-4 on the year. Jonathan Mola contributed 13 points, while Stephen Fama had 12 points.

The Spartans will take on Malden Catholic on Sunday afternoon in the Comcast Tournament at Malden Catholic High School.

Beverly 59, Salem 52

The Panthers improved to 11-7 on Friday night behind 14 points from Kevin Morency. Toskany Abreu had 13 points and Pat Gavin contributed 12 points.

For Salem (9-9), Henny Vlaun led the way with 12 points and Ethan Espinal added nine points. Next up for the Witches is the Spartan Classic tournament at St. Mary’s High School on Wednesday.

Somerville 59, Peabody 42

For Peabody (13-7), Moisse Irizarry had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, also adding four blocks. Matt D’Amato had eight points and Chubukem Onwuogo had five points, six rebounds and four blocks. The Tanners are all done with the regular season and now await the Division 1 North tournament seedings.

Tech 64, Minuteman 46

Tech clinches the CAC Small outright with the win. Belmin Berilo scored 10 points, David Davis added eight points and Johnny Marino finished with seven.

“It was a good team win,” Tech coach Stevie Patrick said. “13 of our guys scored.”

Tech finishes at 7-13, 7-1 in the CAC Small.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” Patrick said. “Us and the girls team, we’re going to the state tournament together. It’s a good thing for Lynn Tech because it’s been a while. It took hard work.”

BOYS HOCKEY

St. Mary’s 4, Newburyport 1

Dante Maribito continued his strong season with two goals and an assist in a win over Newburyport in a make-up game from earlier this season. Mike Zampanti and Colin Reddy each had one goal and one assist in the win.

The Spartans (13-5-1) have another make-up game on Sunday afternoon when they take on Andover at Connery Rink.

TRACK

Division 5 state championships

St. Mary’s

James Brumfield was the lone runner representing the Spartans at the Division 5 state championships on Friday, placing in the top 10 in three events. Brumfield finished fourth in the high jump with a height of six feet even, then finished fifth in the 55-meter dash (6.77 seconds) and 10th in the 55 hurdles (8.22).

Bishop Fenwick

Shawn Carlson, who was the the No. 1 seed in the 600-meter coming into states, took first place in the event with a time of 1:23.56.

Lynnfield

Top-seeded runner Nick Kinnon set a meet record in the 300-meter on Friday, finishing with a time of 36.18. Kinnon also finished second in the 55 dash (6.57).

Bulldogs fight, but fall short to Rams

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Jeylly Medrano puts up a shot over Ely Guity and Dorathy Ezemba.

By STEVE KRAUSE

LYNN — It’s been a year of growing pains for the Lynn English girls basketball team. Yet for the second time this winter, the Bulldogs gave crosstown rival Classical a game.

It wasn’t like it was in January, when the Rams had to launch a furious fourth-quarter rally to overtake the Bulldogs. But a stubborn defense on the part of the Bulldogs kept Classical from running away with the game, and the Rams were able to come away with a 45-35 win.

“They play good defense against us,” said Classical’s Tom Sawyer. “We got some good looks, though. Some of them went in, and some of them didn’t.”

It was a curious game, to say the least. The first and third quarters were virtually devoid of scoring. It was only 6-4, in favor of English, after the first eight minutes. Then, Classical went on a 21-point second-quarter scoring binge to go up 25-15 at the half.

“That was strange,” said English coach Mackenzie Charles. “They took the same shots in the first and third quarters that they took in the second and fourth. They didn’t go in, though.”

Neither team came back from the break on fire. Classical, after scoring only four points in the first quarter, put up a whopping seven in the third. English could only counter with six, meaning that even though Classical shot terribly from the floor, the Rams actually led by 11 (32-21) after three quarters.

The Rams righted the ship offensively in the final quarter, though, scoring 13 points.

“I thought our defense was good,” said Charles, “but we just have trouble scoring points.

“I have to give Classical all the credit in the world, though,” Charles said. “They have a good team. I wish them a lot of luck in the tournament.”

Both Paris Wilkey of Classical and Dorothy Ezemba of English led their teams with 20 points.

“Paris is really a talented offensive player,” said Sawyer. “We have to talk to her about her defense.

“But tonight,” said Sawyer, “I saw another level of competitiveness about her, and I thought that was pretty nice to see.”

Irianis Delgado was second in scoring for the Rams with 12 points, and talk of it put a smile on Sawyer’s face.

“She hit two threes, and I think they were of the ‘no, no, no YES!’ variety. And she went coast-to-coast on one basket, so she’ll probably want to play point guard next year,” he joked.

The win moves Classical to 16-5 with one game remaining — tonight at home against Marblehead. Sawyer said it’s been at least 10 years since the Rams have had this many wins.

“My first year, as an assistant under Gene Constantino, were 20-0 (and made the Division 1 North final),” he said. “A couple of years after that, we were 16-4.

“I think I have to attribute it to having a team that works well together, is dedicated, and listens,” he said.

School Roundup: Millett leads Magicians past Salem

FILE PHOTO
Bo Millet logged a double-double as the Magicians beat Salem, 76-64. 

By STEVE KRAUSE AND KATIE MORRISON

Marblehead’s Bo Millett channeled his inner Charles Barkley for a double-double at 17 points and 20 rebounds as the Magicians boys basketball team topped Salem, 76-64.

Derek Marino (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Patrick Bugler (11 points, six assists, five rebounds) also contributed with strong performances for Marblehead.

“We jumped out to an early lead in the first half,” Magicians coach Mike Giardi said. “We played with a lot of energy and we relaxed a little bit. We got Salem on a slow start but they found their rhythm in the second half.”

The Magicians are back in action on Thursday at Swampscott.

For the Witches, Isaiah Williamson led the team with 16 points. Ethan Espinal added 14 and Nate Lebron added 14. Salem (9-7) takes on Gloucester Friday.

St. John’s 64, St. Mary’s 48

At St. John’s, the Eagles raised their record to 14-4, led by Matt Relihan, who had 16 points.

Brett McNiff (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Tommy O’Neil (13 and 11) had double-doubles.

Jonathan Mola had 16 points for the Spartans while Jonny Mercado chipped in with 13. Jalen Echevarria had nine points.

Peabody 64, English 57

Matt D’Amato led the way for the Tanners with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists. Moisse Irizarry added 10 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks, and Jake Doherty added eight points and four rebounds to go along with some outstanding defense. The Tanners (13-6) take on Revere Thursday.

Lynnfield 68, Triton 58

Lynnfield clinched the Cape Ann League title with a perfect 15-0 record (15-1 overall) with the win.

Lynnfield held a slim one point lead after three quarters, 49-48, but broke the game open in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Vikings 19-10 to seal the win. Zachary Shone (10 points) and Dan Jameson (8 points) led the fourth quarter charge with six points each. Louis Ellis led Lynnfield with 18 points, while Michael Carangelo (15 points) and Billy Arseneault (13 points) were also in double figures.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Classical 47, Beverly 46

It was a nail-biter for the Rams, who held a four-point lead with three seconds left to play thanks to key free throws from Jeylly Medrano and Paris Wilkey. Beverly hit a three to close the gap to one in the final seconds, but Classical held on for the victory.

“We did just enough to get a two-possession lead, and we needed every point tonight,” Classical coach Tom Sawyer said.

Wilkey led the way with a double-double, contributing 15 points and 15 rebounds. Soneta Srey and Medrano each added 12, and Irianis Delgado had four points to go with seven rebounds.

The Rams (15-5) take on crosstown rival English Thursday night as they celebrate Senior Night.

Cathedral 65, St. Mary’s 42

Cathedral raced out to a 30-12 lead after one quarter and never looked back.

The Spartans dropped to 12-7, but got solid contributions from Temi Falayi (12 points), Mia Nowicki (11), Olivia Nazaire (8) and Gabby Torres (7).

The Spartans conclude the CCL portion of their schedule Friday at Fenwick.

Fenwick 57, Medford 22

The Crusaders played great team defense and topped Medford behind Sam Mancinelli’s 16 points, six rebounds and three assists. Sophomore Jaxson Nadeau added nine points, six rebounds and three steals. Sam Gulla and Sammi Gallant added eight points apiece.

Fenwick (12-6) will head to Cardinal Spellman tonight for a Catholic Central League matchup.

Peabody 39, English 35

At English, the Tanners were behind, 28-24, after three quarters but outscored the Bulldogs 15-7 in the final eight minutes to raise their record to 12-5 overall and 12-3 in the Northeastern Conference.

Nene Onwuogu led the Tanners with 13 points and 17 rebounds.

“She had a monster night under the boards for us,” said Peabody coach Stan McKeen.

Also, Catherine Manning had four points and 12 rebounds, Katie Wallace had 11 points and Melissa Gray seven.

“The shooting was off,” said McKeen. “After the first quarter, it was only 6-6.

“English was really pumped up to play,” he said. “They gave us all we could handle. It was a good win for us.”

Triton 34, Lynnfield 27

The Pioneers never got untracked in this one, trailing from start to finish. Lizzy Shaievitz led the team with 14 points, while Juliana Passatempo had seven points. Melissa Morelli, Shannon Furey and Hannah Filipe had two points each.

 

 

Cheever’s late heroics keep Revere undefeated

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Revere’s Pamela Gonzalez drives around Classical’s Soneta Srey to the basket.

By HAROLD RIVERA

REVERE — In a clash between two powerhouse teams, sometimes the unexpected players are the ones who become the heroes. Malcolm Butler served as a prime example when his game winning interception in Super Bowl XLIX sealed the deal for the New England Patriots.

Friday night, freshman Erika Cheever was the hero in the Revere girls basketball team’s 55-53 win over Classical at Roland Merullo Field House.

With the game tied at 53-53, Cheever drew a foul with 1.6 seconds left in the game and swished both free throws to keep the Patriots undefeated at 15-0.

“She’s (Cheever) a solid foul shooter,” Revere coach Lianne O’Hara said. “I’m glad that she got fouled at the right time.”

“It was an exciting game,” O’Hara added. “I think we tend to get a little comfortable when we have a big lead and it’s easy to lose it.”

Classical overcame a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter and took its first lead of the game at 53-52 after Tyarah Horton hit a free throw with 10 seconds remaining.

Although the Rams suffered a tough loss, coach Tom Sawyer was proud of his team’s effort. Classical was 10 seconds away from defeating Revere, the top-ranked team in the state.

“I was extremely proud of how they fought,” Sawyer said. “We took the No. 1 team in the state to the final whistle.”

After an uneventful first quarter that ended in a 5-5 tie, the Patriots offense began to heat up in the second period. Valentina Pepic hit a trio of jumpers in the early minutes of the quarter and Tatianna Iacoviello followed her teammate’s lead, knocking in a pair of threes and jump shot to give Revere a ten-point lead at 19-9.

With the game slipping away, Sawyer called a timeout and the Rams responded with a 10-4 run. Paris Wilkey, who led all scorers with 25 points, nailed a three at the buzzer and Classical was back in the game, down 23-19.

“We changed our defense a little bit and I think that helped,” Sawyer said. “We made some shots. That’s all it comes down to, you have to make some shots.”

The Patriots came out firing in the third quarter, with an 11-4 spurt to start the period. Samantha Woodman led the rally with a pair of buckets and Emily DiGiulio added a three, giving the Patriots 34-23 lead midway through the third. Revere maintained its 11-point advantage at the end of the quarter as the Patriots led 40-29.

Iacoviello hit a jumper to start the fourth quarter, giving Revere its largest lead of the night at 42-30. That’s when the Rams woke up and clawed back in.

Down 52-49, the Rams leaned to their top scorer, Wilkey, who knocked in a three to tie the game with three minutes to play.

“She (Wilkey) has ice water in her veins,” Sawyer said. “She just knocked it down.”

“She competed,” Sawyer added. “She went after everything. She shot the ball well in spurts but the biggest thing is she competed. Paris wanted to win this game bad for her and her teammates.”

Horton’s make from the charity stripe gave the Rams a 53-52 lead, but the advantage was short lived as Cheever’s late heroics gave the Patriots the win.

“We knew that to beat this team we had to score points,” Sawyer said. “We knew we weren’t going to hold them to stay in the 40’s, or even the 30’s. We scored 53, we just needed 56.”

Pepic led the way for Revere with a double-double at 22 points and 10 rebounds.

“She had some good range-shooting,” O’Hara said. “She’s usually more in the post, but she showed her range tonight and she made her shots.”

Iacoviello scored ten points and dished four assists. Cheever scored five points, including the game-winners.

For Classical, Irianis Delgado scored 14 points and Soneta Srey added eight.

“I give Classical a lot of credit,” O’Hara said. “Those girls worked really hard, and they didn’t quit.”

Both teams are back in action on Tuesday when Revere hosts English and Classical hosts Danvers.

 

Peabody thumps Classical in triple-overtime

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Paris Wilkey looks to the basket, but Peabody’s Catherine Manning plays tight defense.

By STEVE KRAUSE

LYNN — And now … the Classical girls basketball team has to shake their three-overtime loss to Peabody off and head into first-place Revere on Friday night.

That’s the reality that faces the Rams after the Tanners climbed back from an 11-point halftime deficit Tuesday night and defeated Classical, 57-49 in a marathon game at the Rams’ gym.

“We just kept scratching, kept clawing, and kept fighting,” said Peabody coach Stan McKeen. “We didn’t quit.”

Neither did Classical.

“It was a great high school game,” said Rams coach Tom Sawyer. “We played great in the first half; and they played great in the second.”

There were several factors in the turnaround, but at the end of the night, the biggest was free throws. Each team shot 24 of them, but Classical hit nine of them to the Tanners’ 20.

“In this kind of game,” said Sawyer, “you have to hit your free throws.”

With the scored tied at 47 heading into the third overtime, Classical actually grabbed a lead when Soneta Srey hit a layup about 10 seconds in. But those were the last points Classical would score.

Meanwhile, Peabody, taking advantage of four Classical stars who had fouled out, began going to the basket and drawing fouls. In the final 3½ minutes of the overtime, the Tanners hit eight free throws to only one basket — two of Liz Zaiter’s nine points — to give Peabody the winning margin.

“This was Liz’s first game after missing five,” said McKeen. “She stayed in there (after Nene Onwuogu fouled out — Peabody’s only disqualification).”

Classical began as if the game would be over in the first quarter. The Rams jumped out to a 9-0 lead with Irianis Delgado hitting for seven of the points. And when Paris (game-high 18 points) Wilkey hit a three at the buzzer ending the first period, it was 16-7 and Classical looked as if it was on its way.

“But,” said Sawyer, “we didn’t think we were going to score 16 every quarter.”

He was right. Classical only scored eight in the second period, but Peabody could only counter with six, and that made it 24-13 in favor of the Rams.

But the turnaround was still subtle. McKeen went to a 3-2 zone and denied Classical the great looks it got in the first quarter.

The move didn’t pay dividends until the third period, when Peabody outscored Classical 14-7 to go into the next eight minutes down only four, 31-27.

Classical kept a two- to four-point distance between itself and the Tanners until Peabody was finally able to tie it, 37-37, with 1:50 to go in regulation on a 3-pointer by Alyssa Alperen. Delgado gave Classical the lead back with 49 seconds to go, but a layup by Onwuogu with seven seconds left tied it and sent it to overtime.

Through the first two overtimes, neither team led by more than two points. A Katie Wallace bucket with 1:05 to go in the first overtime forced another four minutes. And this time, it was Jeylly Medrano’s two freebies with 2:10 to go that made it 47-47.

Neither team shot well.

“We had some good looks,” said Sawyer. “But they just didn’t go in. For either team.”

Wallace led Peabody with 16 points, followed by Melissa Gray’s 14.

Delgado finished with 11 for the Rams.

Classical had a moment of silence prior to the game in memory of both English boys basketball coach Mike Carr, who died Friday; and Item feature writer Michele Durgin, a Classical graduate, who was killed Saturday in an auto accident.

 

School Roundup: Jets, Gloucester skate to tie

FILE PHOTO
Sean Devin netted a goal in Lynn’s 3-3 tie with Gloucester. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

The Lynn Jets (6-2-2) skated to a 3-3 draw on the road against Gloucester on Wednesday night. Sean Devin, Kevin Morgan and Mike Clougherty each scored a goal for the Jets. Jack Stafford got the start in net for Lynn and made 22 saves.

Lynn coach Joe Conlon said Gloucester’s power plays gave his team trouble throughout the night.

“They moved the puck well on their power play and that’s a tough place to penalty kill because it’s a little wider than our rink,” Conlon said.

Up next for Lynn is a home game against Revere on Saturday at Connery.

“We’ll be back in our building playing our game,” Conlon said. “We just have to bring the effort. Revere always plays us tough. They’re a hard working team so we have to be prepared.”

BOYS HOCKEY

Prep 4, Xaverian 1

Ryan Farrow scored two goals for the Eagles, while Christian Kukas and David Sacco each netted a goal. Kyle Hentosh dished out two assists on the night. Shane O’Brien earned the win in net.

Marblehead 2, Saugus 1

Mike Kagan gave the Magicians an early 1-0 lead but Brendan Ronan’s goal for the Sachems tied the game at 1-1. Loch Sheridan’s third-period goal proved to be the difference for the Magicians.

Peabody 2, Beverly 1

Chris Gillen scored both goals for the Tanners, and goalie Aaron McDonnell made 19 saves. Zach Rich notched two assists for his first two varsity points.

“I’m glad for him, he’s been working hard,” Tanners coach Mark Leonard said. “It’s nice for him to get some points, especially on the game-winning goal.”

Peabody hosts Winthrop on Saturday. “We’ve been playing well,” Leonard said, “hopefully we can keep it going.”

SWIMMING

Greater Lawrence 93, Tech 81

Although the Tigers didn’t finish on the winning end of the meet, coach Brad Tilley has a lot to be optimistic about. Jin Purdy took first place in the 100 yard breaststroke. Dustin Bloom, a freshman, took a pair of second-place finishes (200 yard freestyle, 100 yard breastroke). Alyssa Shaw earned her best score of the season in the diving portion with a second-place finish. Coral Gonzalez continues to swim well for Tech, with a second-place finish in the 500 yard freestyle. “We still haven’t gotten over the hump to get a win but we’re coming along,” Tilley said. “It was a close meet. The kids worked real hard and they enjoyed it. They’re coming along.”

GIRLS HOCKEY

Lynn/Winthrop 1, Peabody 0

Emma Carlton netted a goal for the Bulldogs four minutes into the contest. That was all the scoring Lynn/Winthrop needed as goalie Gretchen Howard earned her 19th career shutout. Bulldogs coach Anthony Martucci credited his four defensemen, Bella Perotti, Meghan Chavis, Abby Stafford and Sophie Leray, for a strong performance in the win.

“They played awesome today,” Martucci said. “We only let up 16 shots, so they did a really good job.”

Catie O’Shea also played a role in the win, buckling down on the defensive end in two 5-on-3 situations. The Bulldogs will skate against Beverly on Tuesday.  

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Classical 52, Malden 37

The Rams (12-3) continue to roll behind a double-double from Irianis Delgado, who scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

“She really rebounded the ball well,” Classical coach Tom Sawyer said. “We needed that because Malden has some size. She did a good job grabbing offensive rebounds and putting them back in.”

Soneta Srey added 11 points for the Rams. Classical hosts Beverly on Friday.

“I’d like to see us improve our defensive intensity and try to make it difficult for Beverly on the offensive end,” Sawyer said.

WRESTLING

St. John’s Prep 60, Catholic Memorial 12

The Eagles closed out the 2016-2017 regular season with a bang on Wednesday, clinching the Catholic Conference championship for the 19th consecutive season. St. John’s (23-3) has now won 79 straight conference games.

Winners for the Eagles were Quinn Alexander at 106 pounds, Ryan Garlitz at 113 pounds, Will Grady at 120 pounds, Malcolm Mitchell at 126 pounds, Zach Alexander at 132 pounds, Sam Little at 138 pounds, Sam Blizard at 145 pounds, Ben Shaw at 152 pounds, Ben Klein at 182 pounds, Will Moulton at 220 pounds and Hunter Brown at 285 pounds.

Lynnfield 34, Georgetown 31

The Pioneers (17-3-1) clinched the Cape-Ann League with the win over a previously undefeated Georgetown team. Winners for Lynnfield included Joe Reardon at 132 pounds, Aaron Gautreau (145), Connor Stead (152), Sean McCollough (160), Anthony Wilkinson (182), Kevin Farrelly (220) and Justin Charak (285).

“We have a good balance from top to bottom and we’ve benefitted from that all year,” Lynnfield coach Craig Stone said. “This was another come from behind win, we seem to be specializing in those lately.

“They’re ecstatic,” Stone added. “At the beginning of the season we tried to patch a lineup together. As we started to experience success throughout the year, everyone was more and more optimistic. We found ourselves in a situation where we could win.”


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

School Roundup: Wallace, Tech grab a big win

FILE PHOTO
Belmin Berilo scored 13 points in Tech’s win

By HAROLD RIVERA

The Lynn Tech boys basketball team grabbed a big win on the road, beating division foe Essex Tech, 59-54.

The Tigers move into second place in their division with the win. Rob Wallace scored 18 points, while Trevon Baldwin and Belmin Berilo each scored 13.

“It felt like we played together and we finally fought the adversity,” Tech coach Stevie Patrick said. “We had the lead, then we lost the lead, and then we figured out to get the lead back.”

The Tigers return to action on Tuesday when they host Whittier.

“I believe they’re starting to figure it out and believe in themselves,” Patrick said. “We’re 3-1 in our division which puts us in second place, so we’re happy about that.”

BOYS BASKETBALL

Marblehead 60, Danvers 42

The Magicians were carried by Derek Marino, who logged a double-double with 26 points and 13 rebounds.

“He’s (Marino) found his way around the rim a little bit,” Marblehead coach Mike Giardi said.

Patrick Bugler scored 14 points, while Bo Millett grabbed ten boards with five blocked shots. For Danvers, Justin Roberto scored 19 points.

“We didn’t play for a full week but the kids came out with a lot of energy,” Giardi said. “We kept it going and we kept it going for the whole 32 minutes.”

The Magicians are back in action on Tuesday when they host Peabody.

Peabody 67, Gloucester 42

The Tanners thumped Gloucester behind a strong performance from Matt D’Amato, who led Peabody with 27 points and four assists.

“He came out and shot the ball really well in the second half,” Tanners coach Thad Broughton said. “He had six three-pointers and he was really our spark.”

Chris Canela added 13 points, five assists and three rebounds.

Peabody (8-2) visits Essex Tech on Sunday. “We just want to continue to come out with the same type of energy we’ve been playing with and not be complacent.”

Beverly 69, Whittier 58

Pat Gavin logged a double-double with 20 points and ten rebounds. Luigi Derrane scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds. Toskany Abreu and Hugh Calice each added 12 points. The Panthers move to 7-2 on the season.

BC High 70, St. John’s Prep 68

Nate Hobbs led the Eagles with 18 points while Jarnel Snow-Guzman added 13 points. The Eagles host Malden Catholic on Monday night.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Classical 39, Swampscott 30

In a low-scoring contest, Paris Wilkey had the hot hand for the Rams. Wilkey scored a game-high 20 points and Soneta Srey added ten. The Rams (10-3) will host Salem on Tuesday.

“We’re happy to be at 10-3,” Classical coach Tom Sawyer said. “There’s probably a couple of games that we’d like to have back. We have a busy week next week so we’ll enjoy the win tonight and get back to practice tomorrow.”

Peabody 60, Gloucester 41

The Tanners were led by Melissa Gray, who put up 18 points, and Catherine Manning, who coach Stan McKeen said had “a phenomenal game,” adding 12 points and 10 rebounds. Katie Wallace also had a strong game, just missing a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.

“We played a good game, we were up 18 at the half, so we kind of maintained the spread all game,” McKeen said. “We played good defense and made our shots.”

The Tanners take on Marblehead on Tuesday.

Lynn English 43, Salem 26

The Bulldogs were led by Dorathy Ezemba who scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. English (3-7) clashes against Winthrop on Tuesday.

SWIMMING  

Northeast 86, Lynn Tech 75

The Tigers logged a total of 17 second and third place finishers but just one first-place winner. Coral Gonzalez was the lone first place winner, in the 500-yard freestyle. Antonio Morales finished in second in the 100 butterfly, Jin Purdy finished second in the 200 individual medley and the 200 breastroke. Tech returns to the pool at home on Monday against Northeast.


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

School Roundup: Srey’s star performance leads Classical

FILE PHOTO
Classical’s Soneta Srey scored 33 points as the Rams beat Everett, 64-48. 

By MIKE ALONGI 

Senior guard Soneta Srey scored 33 points as the Lynn Classical girls basketball team took down Everett, 64-48, on the road on Tuesday night. Srey dominated in all phases of the game, something her coach Tom Sawyer was happy about.

“She did it on both ends of the floor tonight,” Sawyer said. “She was all over the place. Whether it was scoring on offense, scoring on out-of-bounds plays or scoring as a result of her great defense, she did it all tonight.”

Another standout performer was Jeylly Medrano, who Sawyer said ran the point to perfection.

“Jeylly did a terrific job tonight, she really dictated the pace for our offense,” Sawyer said. “Her play was a big reason why we were able to score 64 points tonight.”

The Rams will be back in action on Friday night when they host Swampscott.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Lynn Tech 93, Presentation of Mary 39

Nick Chiep led the Tigers with 18 points on the night, while three other players finished the game in double figures. Aquemini Gaston had 12 points, Trevon Baldwin had 11 points and Jama Aroni had 10 points.

Tech will travel to Saugus for a game against the Sachems tonight.

Xaverian 40, St. John’s Prep 37

The Eagles got a double-double from Tommy O’Neil, who finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Nate Hobbs added seven points in the loss.

St. John’s (7-2) will continue Catholic Conference play on Friday night against BC High.

SWIMMING

Danvers 53, Revere 44

After starting the season with a loss, the Falcons have rattled off six straight wins to improve to 6-1 on the year. Danvers had two double-winners on the day, with Jared Casey winning the 100 freestyle and the 200 individual medley and Rafael Hicaro winning the 50 freestyle and the 100 breaststroke. Other individual winners for the Falcons were Tyler Keyes in the 100 butterfly, Sarah Roach in the 500 freestyle and Cambria Cloutier in the 100 backstroke.

WRESTLING

Salem 24, Lynn 6

The lone winner on the night for the Jets was Austin Rogers, who won via pinfall in the 138-pound weight class. Lynn will travel to Greater Lowell for a meet on Saturday.

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. 

Classical sneaks by English in OT thriller

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Paris Wilkey throws up a shot through a trio of English defenders.

By STEVE KRAUSE 

LYNN — This one was about four minutes from being in the bag. English was up by a dozen, and it looked as if it just wasn’t Classical’s night.

But all of a sudden, the Rams’ girls basketball team caught fire, just at the same time the Bulldogs got ice cold. The result was a 12-0 run over the last four minutes that brought Classical even at the buzzer.

Then, in overtime, Classical looked as if it had the game well in hand, only to see English hit an improbable three-pointer and have a chance to win the game with 1.3 seconds left.

It wasn’t to be. Classical hung on for a 50-49 win that left Rams coach Tom Sawyer visibly exhausted, and English’s Mackenzie Charles searching for answers.

“I’m proud of my girls,” said Charles, whose Bulldogs fell to Classical by 23 points in last week’s Boverini Tournament. “They don’t know how good they can be. I  have a very good team, and they’ll be good once they know how good they are.

“But,” he said, “we can’t be giving up leads like that.”

On the other side of the floor, Sawyer had nothing but praise for the Bulldogs.

“We came in here last week and beat them by 23, and we come here tonight and they play us like this. You have to give them a lot of credit.

“But our girls deserve credit too,” said Sawyer. “They kept coming back and coming back. They persevered.”

English was able to build a 12-point lead (43-31) with 4:18 to go when Juliana Perry hit her second 3-pointer of the game. But that was the last bucket English would score in regulation.

Classical, which gave English several cracks at the basket on the offensive end for large parts of the game, began asserting itself.

“Too many rebounds,” said Charles. “That’s our Achilles heel.”

Although Classical ran off the last 12 points in regulation, it wasn’t without a few hiccups of its own. The Rams turned the ball over twice during that span. But Classical sunk five of seven free throws, no two bigger than the ones Paris Wilkey (who led all scorers with 18 points) drained with no time left on the clock. She was fouled in the act of trying to beat the buzzer with a three as Classical trailed, 43-41. She hit two of the three freebies.

“How about her?” marveled Sawyer. “There was nobody on the line with her, she’s all alone. She was remarkable.”

In overtime, English’s Ely Guity (8 points) opened by hitting one of two foul shots, and Classical’s Priscill Alouidor (7 points) hit a bombs-away 3-pointer to give the Rams a 46-44 lead. After Stacey Abreau hit another freebie, Jeylly Medrano (10 points) sank a jumper to make it 48-45.

Another Abreau  (8 points) free throw brought English within two, but Wilkey hit for two off an offensive rebound and it was 50-46 with 14.9 seconds to go.

Somehow, Guity’s three-point prayer banged off the backboard and straight down, though, and with 10 seconds left, English trailed by one.

The tension heightened as Soneta Srey (12 points) missed both free throws, giving English a shot with 1.3 seconds left.

Charles took three straight timeouts before English finally tried a desperation play, but the shot when over the backboard and Classical had its victory.

“When (Guity) hit that shot off the backboard,” said Sawyer, “I thought maybe this wasn’t going to be our night after all.”

But it turned out to be.


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

Former Classical star leads by example

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Former Lynn Classical girls basketball star Helen Ridley now leads by example as an assistant coach for the Rams. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

LYNN — There’s no question that the tradition basketball holds in Lynn is a rich one.

The long list of hoop stars who were grew up in Lynn includes a number of players who took their talents to the Division 1 level.

The list includes Lynn Tech alumnus Antonio Anderson,  who played for coach John Calipari at the University of Memphis and in the NBA with the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder; his brother, Anthony, who played at English and UMass Amherst; Tech’s Tony Gallo, who played at Coppin State; and Corey Bingham, another former Tech star, who played for the University of Toledo.

But make no mistake about it, the women have done their share to carry the torch too.

Helen Ridley, a former team captain and 1,000-point scorer for the Classical girls’ basketball team, serves as an example that the Lynn women have done their part in making the city proud.

Ridley played at Classical from 1997 to 2001 for former Rams coach and current principal Gene Constantino.

“It was great,” Ridley said. “I loved playing basketball. I was on varsity for four years and we got better as time went on. My junior and senior years we had some really great teams. It was an awesome experience.”

Ridley’s success on the court at Classical earned her a Division 1 scholarship to Quinnipiac University. She was a star there from 2001 to 2005, and a team captain in her final season with the Bobcats.

After graduating from Quinnipiac, Ridley coached at her alma mater and then at the University of New Hampshire.

She returned to her high school team in 2013, after stepping away from coaching for a year, as an assistant coach on Tom Sawyer’s staff.

“I took a year off from coaching and that year I helped my dad (St. Mary’s principal James) with his AAU program (Thundercats),” Ridley said. “I was around a lot of the high school coaches at the time. I definitely missed that competitive aspect.”

Now that Ridley’s career has come full circle, she works closely with the players on her team and serves as a case study for those who seek to play hoops in college.

“That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day,” Ridley said. “If I can talk to them about using basketball as an avenue for getting an education, that, to me, is coaching.

“Being able to help an athlete in that way is more meaningful than winning or losing games, especially the athletes that may be first generation college students,” she said.

Ridley’s experiences as a star at Quinnipiac serve to help her advise the girls who are looking to continue the trend of Lynn natives earning basketball scholarships.

Ridley said the trend is growing, especially on the women’s side.

“The females do a good job of going to high-level programs,” Ridley said.

Current females carrying the Lynn basketball torch in the college ranks include Brianna Rudolph (UMass Lowell), Sharell Sanders (Caldwell), Diondra Woumn (Franklin Pierce), Catherine Stinson (Southern New Hampshire), Chenysse Hill (Plymouth State) and Monta Connolly (Framingham State).

“In the past 10 years, there’s more than a handful of Lynn kids who have gone on to play Division 1 or 2 and there are more that have played in Division 3, which is no small feat,” Ridley said. “There aren’t too many athletes who can continue their careers in college. It’s pretty awesome for those who get that opportunity.”

Former women’s basketball stars who have paved the way for today’s college players representing Lynn include Ridley, Jeannette Anderson (Caldwell), Tori Faieta (Stonehill) and Monique Lee (Quinnipiac).

Ridley noted that she, along with other Lynn women who were fortunate enough to continue their basketball careers in college, look to mentor today’s high school players who aim to follow in their footsteps.

“We try to let them know they can do it and we try to show them how it’s done,” Ridley said. “It’s not easy. I think we try to serve as that mentor figure.”

She added, “showing them an avenue of how to get into college and how to get recruited, it’s huge for the city to have those avenues. I don’t think we had that 15 years ago. I don’t think it was as prevalent when I was in high school as it is now. If these athletes want to be mentored, there are so many avenues.”


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

St. Mary’s girls capture Boverini title

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Tournament MVP Temi Falayi pulls down a rebound in front of Swampscott’s Hannah Leahy.

By KATIE MORRISON

LYNN — The St. Mary’s girls basketball team checked a box off its to-do list Wednesday night at the Paul Cavanagh gymnasium, taking down Swampscott, 56-28, to capture its third-straight Walter J. Boverini Tournament title.

The Spartans were led by tournament MVP Temi Falayi and all-tournament players Olivia Nazaire and Mia Nowicki as they rolled over Swampscott, which beat English Tuesday to reach the tournament final.

“We’re putting it together a little bit, which is obviously a comforting feeling,” said St. Mary’s (3-4) coach Jeff Newhall. “We’re making better basketball decisions, our turnovers have gone down, and I think the biggest difference is our defense has gotten a lot better and we’re making some of the shots we were missing before.”

St. Mary’s didn’t have to sweat this one out. Amanda Idusuyi went 1-for-2 on free throws and added a layup to open the scoring, and Swampscott’s Nikki Rosa tied the score at 3. From there on out, it was all Spartans. St. Mary’s went on a 16-3 run to close out the first quarter, and never looked back.

The Spartans held Swampscott to just five points in the second and six in the third. It wasn’t until the final quarter, when both the Big Blue and Spartans gave bench players minutes, that Swampscott got its offense moving, outscoring St. Mary’s 11-10 in the fourth.

The Spartans spread the offense around Wednesday, with Nazaire leading the way with 16 points. Idusuyi had a big game with 11 points, and Falayi logged a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Nowicki added six points, all coming in the first half, and Mashayla Johnson opened the second half with two 3-pointers, her only baskets of the game in limited action.

As good as the Spartans were offensively, on defense, they were even better. Newhall said that the improved defense was the product of hard work in practice and added that getting the chance to get in three practices in a row after coming back from the KSA Pre-Holiday Classic in Florida last week was very beneficial.

“We came back from Florida last Thursday, practiced Friday, Saturday and Monday, and it was the first time we had three practices before a game,” Newhall said. “I think that’s when we got better. We worked a lot on our man defense.”

While the Big Blue had trouble generating offense, they did get nine points each from Rosa and all-tournament player Ella Parker. Jaymie Caponigro, Swampscott’s other all-tournament honoree, scored four points, as did Olivia Matella.

“They’re bigger than we’ve seen this season, and they played aggressive defense and really made it hard for us to get shots off,” Swampscott coach Katelyn Leonard said of St. Mary’s. “When we did, we got good looks, but we had too many periods of not scoring and those droughts really killed us.”

However, of the three Northeastern Conference teams in the girls portion of the tournament, Swampscott was the only one to make it to the final. Leonard said playing a perennial powerhouse like St. Mary’s can only help her team.

“It’s always good to play the best you can, and we were looking to play hard and never quit, and that’s what we did,” Leonard said. “It’s something we can build on, and after seeing what you can do against a really good team, the next time you face a team like that, it makes it that much easier.”

For St. Mary’s, winning the tournament was the first benchmark reached in the new season. Although it’s been a rocky start for the Spartans, winning the city title for the fifth time in seven years means things are moving in the right direction.

“Any time you’re in a tournament, you want to win it, and we did,” Newhall said. “To beat two of the better teams in the NEC, outside of our own gym…it’s a tournament we want to win. To be the city champion, even though it’s early in the year, it was our first goal.”

Consolation game

Lynn Classical 50, Lynn English 27

The Rams evened their record to 3-3 on the year with a win in the consolation game over rival English. Junior forward Paris Wilkey led the way for Classical with 18 points, while Irianis Delgado contributed 15 points. Soneta Srey played a great game on the defensive end, while Jeylly Medrano dictated the pace of the game from the guard spot.

“We played a great game on defense today,” said Classical coach Tom Sawyer.

The Rams will have the weekend off before a rematch with English on Tuesday.


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

St. Mary’s stifles Classical

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Paris Wilkey tries to block the shot, but St. Mary’s Olivia Nazaire gets up over the defense for a layup.

By KATIE MORRISON

LYNN — The early part of the season hasn’t been easy for the St. Mary’s girls basketball team. Coach Jeff Newhall was waiting for all of the pieces to come together and for his team to start clicking.

That’s exactly what happened Tuesday afternoon in the Walter J. Boverini tournament opener, as the Spartans topped Classical, 57-39, to advance to the championship game against Swampscott, Wednesday at 5.

From the first quarter, the Spartans looked to have all of the answers, limiting a potent Classical offense to just six points in each of the first two quarters. St. Mary’s also dominated on the boards, with both Olivia Nazaire (17 points, 17 rebounds) and Temi Falayi (16 points, 12 rebounds) logging double-doubles. Amanda Idusuyi was also a force inside with six points and five rebounds.

“We finally got a good game under our belts,” said Newhall. “The kids have been working hard, and they faced adversity early in the year. I think we’re battle-tested. And tonight, I think we moved the ball, hit some shots.”

In the first quarter, the Spartans weren’t finding many open lanes to the hoop, but they still took a 16-6 into the second quarter, thanks to three 3-pointers from Gabby Torres and another six points from Nazaire.

One of the keys to the St. Mary’s win was shutting down Classical star Paris Wilkey. Guarding the Rams’ leading scorer was Falayi’s duty, and after Wilkey scored Classical’s first two points of the game, the Spartans took her out of the game, limiting her to just four more points, all coming on free throws.

“Temi was the difference in the game, covering their best player,” Newhall said.

Classical’s Soneta Srey came alive in the second quarter and was the driving force for the Rams, giving a gritty performance, scoring 18 points and shooting 5-for-8 from the line. She scored five points in the second quarter, but the Rams fell behind 35-12 at the half.

The final two Classical possessions of the first half resulted in turnovers, with Nazaire earning the steal on each. The Rams responded in the third quarter, as Jeylly Medrano forced two straight turnovers on Spartans possessions.

That helped the momentum swing in Classical’s favor for a bit, but the gap was too much to overcome.

“We just didn’t come out with any focus. We just couldn’t get anything going offensively. They were disruptive in their defense and made it really tough on us,” Classical coach Tom Sawyer said. “The second half was much better, the kids played hard, Soneta Srey never quit, Priscill Alouidor and Jeylly Medrano, they gave 100 percent effort.”

The Rams will take on English in the consolation game today at 2.


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

Free throws crucial in Classical’s win over Everett

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Irianis Delgado snags a rebound out of the hands of Everett’s Carolann Cardinale.

By KATIE MORRISON 

LYNN — Free throws may not be the most exciting part of any basketball game, but in the Classical girls basketball team’s win over Everett Tuesday night, they were crucial.

The Rams went 16-for-28 at the line and held off a second-half surge from the Crimson Tide to lock up a 41-36 win at home in the team’s season opener.

“Last year, when (Everett) beat us here, they beat us at the foul line, they hit all of their shots,” Classical coach Tom Sawyer said. “We were 16-for-28, which isn’t great, but it isn’t terrible, and they only got five.”

Everything was going the Rams’ way in the first half. Paris Wilkey netted nine points, including two of three free throws, and Tyarah Horton sunk a layup to give Classical an 11-6 lead after a quarter.

Wilkey went to the line eight more times in the second quarter, sinking five free throws. But just as important was the fact that the Rams held the Crimson Tide to just four points in the second quarter, and went into the half up 24-10.

Everett came out hot in the second half. The game’s play was more up-tempo and sloppier, with both teams making bad passes and giving up possessions on turnovers. The Rams scored eight points in the quarter, with five coming from Wilkey and three coming on free throws. Everett got as close as nine points (29-20) in the quarter, but Classical still maintained a 31-21 lead heading into the fourth.

Soneta Srey wasn’t much of a scoring threat through the first three quarters (though she was big on the boards; she pulled down 12 rebounds on the night), but the senior forward came alive in the fourth quarter as Wilkey started getting less looks and more opportunities opened up for other players. Srey went 3-for-5 at the line and added two more layups in the fourth quarter, and those points proved to be critical.

“When the game is getting tight in the fourth, she scores seven points, which is huge,” Sawyer said. “(Everett) kept coming and coming. Those hoops are huge to keep them at bay.”

The Crimson Tide played tight defense on Classical throughout the night, but stepped it up a notch in the fourth quarter, employing a full-court press on every Rams possession. Jacquelin Emmanuel led the charge for Everett late, as she forced turnovers and converted them into points. All of a sudden, Everett was within six points at 37-31 with two minutes to play.

Srey nailed two free throws and then Priscill Alouidor forced a turnover on Everett’s next possession, but Emmanuel stole it right back and took it to the hoop for an easy layup.

Srey sunk one more free throw and Emmanuel drained another three with 12 seconds to play, but Classical held off the Crimson Tide as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

“Everett is a good team, they’re not going to go away, they played tough,” Sawyer said. “We made some mistakes. My criticism is too many turnovers. Too many careless passes. We’ve got to value the basketball more, and instead of scoring 41 we might score 51 and have a little more of a comfortable margin.”

Wilkey finished the game with 23 points and six rebounds, while Srey netted eight points. Horton, Chloe Kebreau, Jeylly Medrano and Irianis Delgado chipped in with three points apiece.


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

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.

 

Young Rams prepare for new season

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Classical coach Tom Sawyer coaches his team through a drill in practice. 

By STEVE KRAUSE 

The Lynn Classical girls’ basketball team will have some holes to fill. But coach Tom Sawyer considers himself fortunate that he has players ready to fill them.

Last year, the Rams won 14 games and made it to the second round of the Division 1 North sectionals before losing to top-seeded Lowell.

Gone from that team is Chenysse Hill, who is now playing at Plymouth State. Sawyer acknowledged that is a big loss.

“From a basketball standpoint, that’s a lot of minutes to replace,” he said. “The good news is we have lots of eager young student-athletes who are willing to take on the challenge.”

Central among them is senior guard Priscilla Alouidor, a sixth man last season. This year, she’ll be in the starting five.

“We’ll look for her to provide a lot of energy on the court,” he said. “She is very athletic, and very aggressive, and we’re going to look for her provide a spark and set the tone defensively for us with her aggressiveness.”

The bulk of the team, however, is young. There are five juniors returning: Paris Wilkey, Jeylly Medrano, Tyarah Horton, Nakyla Ramsay and Maryah Chandler.

Wilkey was all-conference last year as a sophomore forward, but Sawyer said, “we will need her to play even better than she did last year — not just scoring points, but in all aspects, defense, rebounding, assists and leadership. We’re going to need it all from her.”

Medrano played 2-guard last year, and is expected to be the team’s point guard this season, Sawyer said.

“We’ll need her to take care of the ball, score points, and play good defense, and generally just make sure the entire team executes what we’re trying to do offensively and defensively.”

Horton, a forward, “is a tough kid and good rebounder,” Sawyer said. “She’s undersized for a forward, but she makes up for it in tenacity and toughness. We’re going to need her to rebound for us, and play good defense — and score some points for us.”

Sawyer hopes to see something out of sophomore Olivia Pedro, who came up at the end of last season from junior varsity when injuries hit the Rams.

“She worked on her game all spring and summer on the AAU Thundercats. She’s going to be given an opportunity to help this year.”

Sawyer says he has “about six or seven” other players who are trying out, “but I don’t know which ones are going to step up and help. They’re all sophomores. We have a couple of weeks to figure it all out.”

Classical Hall of Famer Helen Ridley will assist Sawyer on the bench.

“She is a tremendous asset to the program,” he said. “As coaches, we just want to work with the kids and help them achieve to the best of their abilities. Both of us strive to do that. And when you’re playing with a lot of sophomores and juniors it takes time. The good thing about Classical kids is their willingness to listen and to learn.”

Classical opens Tuesday, Dec. 13, against Everett in what will be the last non-league game between the two schools. Next fall, the Greater Boston League and Northeastern Conference will merge into one league.


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

Plug pulled on Benedetto boys basketball jamboree

FILE PHOTO
Tommy Rijo of English looks to race past Jake Gustin of Peabody in a match up between the two teams in last year’s Elmo F. Benedetto boys basketball jamboree. 

By STEVE KRAUSE

There will not be an Elmo F. Benedetto boys basketball jamboree next month.

However, the Paul Duchane girls basketball jamboree is still on, and scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 10, at Classical. The Northeastern Conference hockey jamboree will be held Dec. 4 at Salem State.

Tom Grassa, the boys basketball coach at Classical, said Friday he had to pull the plug on the fundraiser, which was named after Lynn’s late athletic director, for a variety of reasons.

Some of them could not be helped, he said. Three of the schools he’d invited to the jamboree — which would have been held Friday, Dec. 9 — had already scheduled regular-season games for that night. Two others — Marblehead and Everett (which had been annual participants) — had several players whose commitments to the football Super Bowls would preclude them from taking part in a week’s worth of basketball practices.

“You don’t want to have a kid who has just finished playing their 12th or 13th football game, and has missed a whole week of tryouts, to be playing that soon,” said Grassa. “So that eliminated those schools.”

As for any other sentiments, Grassa said, “some schools think it’s kind of a waste of time to come down here to play two eight-minute periods when they can schedule a scrimmage for two hours and get a good look at their players.”

Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules prohibit scheduling scrimmages and participating in jamborees on the same day.

Benedetto, who died in 1985, was the athletic director for the entire City of Lynn. He was known as a man who made it a priority to find as many colleges for students as he could, saying, “there’s a college for every kid.”

Further, Benedetto was a direct link to the Harry Agganis era, and helped get the Agganis Foundation — established upon the Lynn athletic legend’s death in 1955 — off the ground. One of the foundation’s five Hall of Fame awards is named in his honor.

Former Lynn English baseball and basketball coach Ron Bennett, the inaugural recipient of the Benedetto Athletics Award in 1999, founded the Benedetto jamboree in 1986, the year after Benedetto’s death.

Grassa said interest has waned over the years in the jamboree as coaches have begun to prefer other ways to get their teams ready for game action.

“I remember back when it started (at the old Lynn English gym), the place was packed,” Grassa said. “I remember we had the fire marshal in there threatening to shut us down because we were over the maximum capacity.

“Now,” he said, “I can’t recall when I’ve seen a big crowd where we’ve even had to pull out the auxiliary bleachers.”

The jamboree was established as a scholarship fundraiser for Lynn high school students and, again, said Grassa, funds raised for that purpose had dwindled to almost half of what they were when the event began.

“We just decided it wasn’t worth doing,” Grassa said. “It’s sad, but I guess some things run their course.”

The Duchane jamboree will begin at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10., with Marblehead playing Malden, followed by Swampscott vs. Somerville (3:10), Saugus vs. Medford (3:50), Danvers vs. Hamilton-Wenham (4:30), Peabody vs. Reading (5:10), Revere vs. Fenwick (6:50), English vs. Georgetown (6:30) and Classical vs. Masconomet (7:10).

Tom Sawyer, who has organized the event since former athletic director Dick Ruth retired, is still very enthused about having it.

“First, it’s a scholarship fundraiser,” he said. “And you get to honor the legacy of Paul Duchane, for which the jamboree is named.”

Duchane taught at both English and Classical, and was a former football coach for the Bulldogs. At the time of his death, he was an assistant football coach at Matignon, and died of a heart attack while coaching a game at Bishop Fenwick.

“This is as close as you’re going to get to a real game in preseason,” said Sawyer. “You have referees, you wear uniforms, there are timeouts, things like that. You’re not going to get any closer to real game action.

“Younger players get experience,” he said, “and older players get to shake the rust off a little bit.”

On Dec. 4, at Salem State, the Northeastern Conference hockey jamboree kicks off at 11 a.m. with Saugus against Winthrop. Lynn vs. Peabody (12:30) is next, followed by Swampscott vs. Marblehead (2), Revere vs. Beverly (3:30) and Essex Tech vs. Rockport (5).

“I like the jamboree,” said Joe Conlon, head coach of the Lynn Jets. “I’m not sure you learn a lot from anybody, but it gives you a chance to go through game-day operations. From that point of view, it’s good.”


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

Girls Soccer: Classical, English play to scoreless tie

PHOTO BY BOB ROCHE
Classical’s Noemi Escobar tries to dribble past English’s Sydney Denham.

By HAROLD RIVERA

LYNN — A new chapter in the girls soccer rivalry between Classical and English was written at Manning Field on Monday night. The Rams and Bulldogs played to a scoreless draw in the season finale for both teams.

After Classical handed English a 1-0 loss earlier this season, Bulldogs coach Ed McNeil was pleased with the improvements he saw in his team this time around.

“It was a big improvement,” McNeil said. “We had our best scorer back, Alexa Zayas. She’s a big difference. Plus, I think we’ve improved this year and we’ve gotten better.”

In a battle between two of the better defensive teams in the Northeastern Conference, shots on net were few and far between.

Classical had a chance to get on the scoreboard in the 15th minute, but Rachel Jordan’s corner kick was saved by English keeper Kerry Robles.

“She was fabulous,” McNeil said of Robles. “She never played goalie before and she ended the season with two shutouts. She’s just aggressive. She’s a great athlete, she plays basketball. I named her a captain midway through the season and she’s been outstanding.”

In the 19th minute, Zayas looked to find the net for the Bulldogs as she raced past the Classical defense en route to a one on one with keeper Carly Mendonca. Zayas’ shot was off the mark and the game remained scoreless.

English’s Cynthia Deleon had perhaps the best shot of the night in the 31st minute. Deleon’s shot deflected off the left goal post and rolled back into play, as the Rams breathed a sigh of relief.

The Bulldogs pressured Mendonca early in the second half. Sydney Denham put a shot on net in the 43rd minute but Mendonca made the save.

“We played an outstanding second half,” Classical coach Tom Sawyer said. “I think we had the ball in our offensive half for probably 90 percent of the second half. We just couldn’t find the back of the net but credit English, they did a great job defensively.”

Classical’s Izzy McGaughey picked up a corner kick in the 56th minute but her shot was off the mark.

“We had a few chances,” Sawyer said, “but they just didn’t go in tonight.”

McNeil credited his defense for keeping Classical’s offense off the scoreboard. Tora Ueland and Grace Gately led the way for the Bulldogs defensively.

“I think the defense is our strength,” McNeil said. “It really is. Now we have to replace 13 seniors for next year.”

The play of the game was made by Mendonca in the 75th minute, when the keeper saved a shot taken by English’s Zayas. As Zayas broke through Classical’s defense she found herself in a one on one with Mendonca but the goalie denied the opportunity.

“Unbelieveable save,” Sawyer said of the play. “She had a talented player in on her, one on one, and she holds her ground and makes a great reaction save. If that goes in, it’s a completely different game.”

Classical looked to answer quickly but Devyn Astuccio’s shot in the 75th minute found the side of the net.

Deleon had the last chance to break the ice but her shot, taken in the 80th minute, was off the mark and the final whistle blew on a scoreless tie.

Both coaches acknowledged that the result reflected a game between two evenly-matched teams.

“It was two evenly-matched teams that had a combined 17 seniors playing in their last game,” Sawyer said. “They were giving it all they had, trying to end their high school careers on a win. Tonight it was just meant to be a tie.”

McNeil shared similar thoughts.

“In my time coaching here, our record against them is 9-9-9,” McNeil said. “That’s how intense these games are.”


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

Girls Soccer Roundup: Classical earns first win under Sawyer

FILE PHOTO
Devyn Astuccio scored a goal in Classical’s win over Revere. 

By HAROLD RIVERA

The Lynn Classical girls soccer team earned its first win under interim coach Tom Sawyer, topping Revere, 2-0, at home Wednesday.

Devyn Astuccio gave the Rams a 1-0 lead in the first half with an assist from Julia Jordan. The two swapped roles in the second half, when Jordan found the back of the net on an assist from Astuccio to give Classical the 2-0 lead. Carly Mendonca held down the fort in net for Classical.

“She (Mendonca) was called upon to make some saves,” Sawyer said. “She handled them well.”

“I’m happy for the kids,” Sawyer added. “The last three games (all 4-0 losses),  we’ve played well but we played against some really good teams. Today we broke through and I’m happy the kids could get another win on the board.”

Classical was able to control possession for the majority of the contest, thanks to the efforts of Noemi Escobar, Alaina Gridley and Sydney Spiess. The Rams also received a boost from Olivia Pedro, who returned to action after missing time with an injury.

“She (Pedro) was a big help on defense,” Sawyer said.

Classical has struggled to find the net this season, but Sawyer said that he saw improvements in his offense in the win.

“I thought we did a real good job in connecting on passes,” Sawyer said. “We had good ideas with the ball and we’ll look to continue that against English.”

The Rams are back in action next Monday when they clash against English at Manning Field in their season finale.

“We want to compete and give a full effort for 80 minutes of soccer,” Sawyer said. “Hopefully we can put a couple of goals in net and keep a clean sheet.”

Swampscott 5, Salem 0

On senior night, Michela Agresti led the way with three goals and an assist for the Big Blue.

“Her first goal was from about 25 yards out,” Swampscott coach Ken Leeder recalled. “It was a fantastic goal.”

Jaymie Caponigro had a stellar performance of her own, contributing with two goals.

“She (Caponigro) was great,” Leeder said. “She plays very well. She had a strong senior night.”

Nikki Rosa earned her ninth shutout in net this season for the Big Blue.

“She’s (Rosa) been solid,” Leeder said. “She made some nice saves. She’s been good all year for us.”

Swampscott (14-1-1) will host Gloucester on Friday as the Big Blue look to prepare for the state tournament.

“We want to keep playing well,” Leeder said. “There are some good teams in our section. We want to do well against Gloucester. Last time we won 2-0 and their goalie was fantastic.”

Peabody 1, Danvers 1

Two of the elite teams in the Northeastern Conference played to a draw in Peabody. The Tanners (13-1-2) took a 1-0 lead as Chloe Gizzi scored on a direct kick. Danvers (13-3-1) responded in the second half as Abby Cash scored on an assist from Nicole White.

“Danvers outplayed Peabody down the stretch, putting 12 shots on goal,” Tanners coach Dennis Desroches said. “We were very fortunate to hold them to one goal. Danvers is a great team and played a great game. Much respect to coach (Jim) Hinchion and his staff.”

Hinchion credited Erica Blanche and Morgan Mscisz with strong game on defense, and Desroches was pleased with the play of Katherine Scacchi, Gizzi, Alyssa Shashaty and Ali Demeo, as well as goalie Rebecca Sabino, who Desroches said “kept us in the game by putting herself in great position to make crucial saves.”

Both teams take on Beverly next, with Peabody seeing the Panthers Friday before Danvers comes to town Monday.


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

Classical hangs tough against Peabody

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
Peabody’s Erin Melin and Classical’s Julia Jordan vie for the ball.

By HAROLD RIVERA

LYNN — In Tom Sawyer’s first week as interim coach of the Classical girls soccer team, the Rams are yet to win a game or score a goal. But sometimes the score of a game doesn’t tell the story.

Classical hosted Peabody, the top team in the Northeastern Conference, on Tuesday evening at Manning Field. The good news for the Rams is that goalkeeper Carly Mendonca was outstanding in net with 16 saves. The bad news for Classical is it couldn’t generate any offense and fell to the Tanners, 4-0.

Sawyer, who took over the coaching duties last week when Bob Burns resigned, said that although the results haven’t gone their way, the Rams have shown the effort.

“This is a great group of girls,” Sawyer said. “We’ve had three 4-0 losses, which doesn’t sound that great, but given that the competition was Beverly, Danvers and Peabody, that’s a tremendous amount of improvement from these kids.”

Sawyer, who also coaches the girls basketball team at Classical, credited his assistant coach, Kelly Lombard

“Nobody likes to lose,” Sawyer said. “We as coaches don’t like to lose, but that’s a tremendous job these kids have done since the beginning of the year. Coach Lombard has done a great job with these kids.”

Classical’s strength this season has been its defense. That was no different on Tuesday as the Rams forced the Tanners to work for their scoring opportunities.

Peabody looked to get an early goal on a corner kick by Chloe Gizzi in the fourth minute, but the ball was cleaned away by the Classical defense.

Gizzi tried again in the fifth minute on a penalty kick but her shot was saved by Mendonca. Deanna Ruggiero tried to get Peabody on the board in the 15th minute but her shot sailed high over the crossbar.

The Tanners pressured Mendonca in the early goings of the contest, much to the liking of Peabody coach Dennis Desroches.  

“We have a monster week coming up with some of the top teams,” Desroches said. “We want to make sure that we’re connecting well on the field with possession and using our width.”

Desroches added, “we wanted to make sure we kept it in their zone most of the game, which we did.”

Peabody finally found the back of the net in the 25th minute, when Emily Nelson picked up a corner kick and tipped the ball in for the goal. The assist came from Marissa Orlando.

The Tanners added to the lead in the 38th minute when Gizzi found the net on a long-distance shot with an assist from Amy Drover, giving Peabody a 2-0 lead at halftime.

In the second half, Peabody continued to maintain possession and challenge Mendonca with shots on net. Mendonca rose to the challenge and did everything she could to keep the Rams in the game.

“She (Mendonca) made some outstanding saves today,” Sawyer said. “She did a really nice job of controlling the box and I was very proud of the effort she had.”

Mendonca also received praise from the opposing coach.

“She (Mendonca) was very aggressive to the ball,” Desroches said. “She was fearless going into a crowd and she gets to the ball. You have to give her credit for that, she played very well.”

In the 50th minute, Orlando capitalized on a loose ball to give the Tanners a 3-0 lead.

Classical struggled to generate the necessary offense to climb back into the game.

“What we do against teams like this, is we control one half (of the field),” assistant coach Lombard said. “We have one forward and that’s why we don’t have many opportunities up top.”

Lombard added, “we got the score to be cut in half since the first time we played them. It was 8-0 the first game and this game was 4-0.”

The Tanners added another goal in the 78th minute when Nelson found the net for her second score of the game. With a 4-0 lead, the win was in the bag for Peabody.

For the Rams, Sawyer credited Devyn Astuccio and Sydney Spiess for strong defensive performances.

Classical (4-11-1) will look to bounce back on Wednesday when the Rams host Revere. Peabody (13-1-1) is also back in action on Wednesday when the Tanners host Danvers.

Burns resigns at Classical

By Steve Krause

LYNN — Lynn Classical girls soccer coach Bob Burns has resigned, effective immediately, principal Gene Constantino confirmed Friday, citing personal reasons.

Tom Sawyer, the girls basketball coach at the school, coached the Rams’ in their 4-0 loss to Beverly Thursday night and will take the helm for the remainder of the season.

Burns, who was hired last spring to replace Justina Gaeta, who had stepped down, had coached Classical to a 4-8-2 record prior to Thursday night’s loss.

“We appreciate Coach Burns for what he did for Classical and the girls soccer program and wish him well,” said Constantino.

The Rams have four games left in the regular season, beginning today at noon, at Manning Field, against Danvers.

After that, Classical is at home against Peabody Monday, at Revere Wednesday, and at Manning Halloween evening against English.

 

SCHOOL ROUNDUP: SWAMPSCOTT GOLF TOPS SAUGUS

By Harold Rivera

The Swampscott golf team got wins from top to bottom to close out the regular season, topping Saugus, 54-18.

Andrew Dove won at the No. 1 spot, 5 1/2-3 1/2, Jake Goldman took his match, 8 1/2-1/2 at No. 2, Adam Dishman won 6 1/2-2 1/2 at No. 3, Mike Johnson won 7 1/2-1 1/2 at No. 4, Ryan Graciale took his match 5 1/2-3 1/2 at No. 5, David Peterson won 7 1/2-1 1/2 at No. 6, Max Pegnato won 6-3 at No. 7 and Owen Madigan-Fried finished off the day with a 7-2 win at No. 8.

“The season went very well,” coach Jason Knowles said. “I’m very pleased with how we played and improved throughout the season, and I think we’re ready for the tournament.”

Peabody 48 , Revere 24

Ethan LeBlanc, Connor Corrigan, Chris Gillen, Connor McCarron, Scott Chaplain, Ryan Fera and Andrew Hamel all won their individual matches for the Tanners in their season finale.

“They played well,” Peabody coach Peter Cronan said. “It was a cold, windy day and they played very well.”

Cronan shared his thoughts on Peabody’s season.

“It was a tough season,” Cronan said. “They’re great kids. We just had a difficult time when we got around the green. Next year, hopefully it will be different.” Cronan added, “We worked hard and gave the effort every day.”

Peabody started the season at 1-7 but turned things around in the latter stretch to finish at 5-10. “We did get better,” Cronan said. “I saw definite improvement in the short game. It just came four weeks too late. We’ll work on it for next year.”

GIRLS SOCCER

Beverly 4, Classical 0

The Rams (4-9-1) received strong performances from Devyn Astuccio, Rachel Jordan, Izzy McGaughey and Sydney Spiess.

“They all played very good defense throughout the game,” said Tom Sawyer, who has stepped in as the team’s head coach for the remainder of the season.

Goalkeeper Maddie Dana “made a few outstanding saves that looked like they were sure goals before she saved them,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer credited the Rams for a positive effort against a skilled opponent in Beverly.

“Stepping in for my first game I didn’t know what to expect,” Sawyer said. “I was proud of the way we competed today. They never let down and they never gave less than 100 percent.”

Classical will look to bounce back into the win column on Saturday when the Rams host another talented team in the Danvers Falcons.

“We need to give a great effort and compete for all 80 minutes,” Sawyer said. “We know Danvers is a very talented team. I’m looking for them to compete and bring the effort that’s necessary.”

Swampscott 2, Saugus 0

Michela Agresti led the way with a goal and an assist, while Jaymie Caponigro added a score of her own for the Big Blue (11-1-1).

“I thought we played well,” Swampscott coach Ken Leeder said. “Saugus is a really good team. They’ve really improved since the season began.”

Nikki Rosa earned the shutout in net with four saves.

“She played strong,” Leeder said. “She’s played great all year. This was her eighth shutout this season.”

Swampscott is back in action on Saturday with a road game at Wakefield at 4:00 p.m.

Peabody 7, English 0

On senior night, the Tanners (12-1-1) had six different girls contribute points to the win. Brianna Gaynor and Emily Nelson led the team with three points each, Chloe Gizzi and Kirsten Bradley had two,and Molly Tansey and Katherine Scacchi each added one. Amy Drover, Jillian Amirault, Alyssa Shashaty, Katie Wallace and Rebecca Sabino also played well for Peabody.

Danvers 8, Revere 0

It’s only fitting that on senior night, all five of the seniors on the Danvers roster were able to score a goal. “We were trying,” Danvers coach Jim Hinchion said.

“They were trying to set up their senior teammates and it was nice that they were able to do it. I was pretty happy for them.” The five senior goal scorers were Jess Boutchie, Kelly Connors, Teagan Gillis, Morgan Mscisz and Nicole White. Danvers (11-3) will clash against Classical at Manning Field on Saturday.

VOLLEYBALL

Lynnfield 3, Peabody 0

In a battle between two powerhouse teams, Lynnfield prevailed over Peabody in straight sets, 25-21, 25-13, 25-13.

“It was more competitive than the scores lead on,” Peabody coach Lisa Keene said. “I think we played well and I think we learned a lot of things that we need to work on. It’s going to get us ready for the tournament and that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Alyssa Alperen (16 digs), Melissa Gray (six kills) and Hannah Kemp (16 assists) were the top performers for Peabody. With the loss, Peabody’s streak of 11 consecutive wins comes to an end.

“We never focused on the winning streak,” Keene said. “It was always a win to win (approach.) We were always looking forward to facing those good teams. Now we’re focused on Danvers.”

The Tanners are back in action when they host Danvers on Tuesday evening.

Hamilton-Wenham 3, Marblehead 1

The Magicians fell in three sets, 25-17, 16-25, 21-25, and 17-25. Clara Pollard had six aces and five kills, and Jenny Norcross added 12 kills.

Arlington Catholic 3, Bishop Fenwick 0

Senior captains Sam Mancinelli (20 assists), Molly Camelo (11 kills) and Julia Fusco (16 digs) played well for the Crusaders in the loss. Fenwick will have another challenge Friday, as it takes on Northeastern Conference powerhouse Danvers.

FIELD HOCKEY

Fenwick 7, Arlington Catholic 0

Caitlin Dwyer and Lauren Hallice scored their first varsity goals in the win.

“They’re definitely excited,” Fenwick coach Marybeth Mahoney said of Dwyer and Hallice. “They’re both defenders but they have strong hits, so I put them on corner plays and they capitalized.”

Lauren Fortini and Stefanie Libby each scored two goals for Fenwick (6-9-1), while Fredi Deguglielmo contributed with a goal of her own.

“Overall it was a great team win,” Mahoney said. “The girls played really well together.” Fenwick is back in action on Monday at home against Medfield.

Let’s enjoy BC baseball’s ride

PHOTO BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
Members of the Boston College baseball team celebrate on the field after beating Tulane in an NCAA regional tournament game on Sunday.

BY STEVE KRAUSE

Rarely — except in hockey — does this area of the country experience the incredible highs that go with college athletics. And that’s especially true for Division 1 sports.

So let’s hope that the area’s sports fans can appreciate what this year’s Boston College baseball team is doing. The Eagles, who are certainly not perennial participants in the NCAA baseball tournament, made it this year, and blitzed their way through their regional. Now, they find themselves in the Super Regional, with a 2-out-of-3 series in Coral Gables, Fla., against the University of Miami, a fellow ACC combatant.

To get to Coral Gables, the Eagles had to go to Oxford, Miss., and sandwich two victories over Tulane around a win against Utah.

The Super Regionals are the baseball equivalent of the Sweet 16 in basketball. There are eight of them, each best-of-three series, with the winners advancing to the College World Series in Omaha.

What makes this special, beyond the rarity of any journey by a Boston-area team into the rarified air of upper-echelon college athletics, is that former St. John’s Prep star Peter Frates is director of baseball operations at BC. Frates, from Beverly, who played his high school ball at St. John’s Prep, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis four years ago. He is the one who promoted the ice bucket challenge two summers ago to help fund research for the disease.

There is no delicate way to put this. You see Frates, or hear from his family about his daily struggles, and of how overwhelming it all is, and you realize how precious life is, and how important it is in all our lives to seize the moment and make what you can of it. Carpe diem.

The Boston College baseball team is seizing its moment with Frates as its inspiration. It is a beautiful story. And if you have any kind of a soul at all, you want it to continue as long as it can.

— Some early returns are in from almost two weeks of MIAA tournament action, and here are a few observations. Meghan Leavitt, the catcher for the Classical softball team, could play for me anytime. She’s a gamer, a tough out at the plate, and someone who’s always in the game, both mentally and physically … For the last three years. St. Mary’s has had an embarrassment of riches on the mound with Michaela Hamill and Mia Nowicki. Most coaches would kill for one lights-out pitcher who keeps the ball from being put into play too much. Spartans coach Paige Licata has two. Nowicki’s performance in the John Holland Tournament, in which she struck out 24 batters over two games, was astounding. Hamill will be pitching at Endicott next season.

Logan McDonald, the Austin Prep freshman who spun a perfect game against Lynnfield Tuesday, pitched the game at Lynn Woods Field where St Mary’s got a three-run walkoff homer to win their game on May 6. She had a long stretch during the game where she was unhittable, though. And coach Frank Sorrenti said afterward that despite giving up eight runs that day, she’s still the strength of the team. I should say so.

—  A shoutout to my neighbor Andre Gaudet, who was first baseman and captain for the Classical baseball team this season. He’ll be attending St. Anselm’s in the fall, which is great for him and bad for me. He’s kept me shoveled out in the winter for the last four years! Now what am I supposed to do? On the other hand, it’s not too far from Goffstown, N.H, to Lynn, is it?

— Lest anyone think that tennis is a secondary sport, it gives me great pleasure to report that Classical principal Gene Constantino was there for the entire girls tennis match Saturday, as were athletic director Bill Devin and girls basketball coach Tom Sawyer. The Rams may have lost, but it had to have meant the world to them that the school supported them in the manner it did.

— Congratulations to Swampscott native Matt LeBlanc, who was named New Hampshire State Coach of the Year in Division 3. LeBlanc, who cut his teeth coaching in the Swampscott Little League with his father, Victor, is the head coach at Belmont High School in Gilmanton.

— In case anyone’s wondering, Agganis Week is fast upon us. It begins Sunday, June 26, and runs through Thursday, June 30, unless rain pushes everything back a day.

 

Classical wraps up season with banquet

ITEM PHOTO BY KATIE MORRISON
From right – Jeylly Medrano, Paris Wilkey, Chenysse Hill, Tyarah Horton, Soneta Srey.

By KATIE MORRISON

LYNN — The Lynn Classical girls’ basketball team held its annual banquet at Old Tyme Italian Cuisine in Lynn on Wednesday night.

The highlight of the evening was when seniors Shannon Magner, Chenysse Hill and Christina Behen delivered heartfelt speeches and thank-yous to their family, coaches and teammates, as a final send-off from the program.

Rams’ coach Tom Sawyer thanked the seniors for their “energy, dedication and all of the laughs” they provided throughout their careers.

“The three seniors have greatly impacted this program, and they will be truly missed,” Sawyer said.

Magner was forced to miss her entire senior season due to an ACL tear, but was lauded by her coaches and teammates for how she handled the devastating injury with grace.

“This season started tough,” said Sawyer, referring to Magner’s injury. “Shannon had dedicated herself to basketball like she never had before. She’s everything a student-athlete should be. I told the team that she wouldn’t want us not to play, and that she’d die to be out there, and I think it served as motivation for us.”

“She couldn’t have set a better example for the team,” added assistant coach Helen Ridley. “She led the team with a smile every day.”

Magner thanked her teammates for her four years in the program, and for respecting her and allowing her to lead as a captain, despite her inability to play. She also encouraged them to cherish every day in the Ram uniform, since no one ever knows when their last game will be.

“This injury helped me find myself as a person, not just an athlete,” Magner said, holding back tears. “I found my strengths and weaknesses, and learned not to take anything for granted. As much as the injury broke my heart, it broke my parents’ hearts more. I’m so thankful for them, they’re my heroes.”

Magner, who was presented with the academic achievement award, also reminisced about the day she and Hill found out they’d made the varsity team as freshmen.

“I’ll always remember us jumping and hugging each other,” she said.

Hill, another four-year varsity player, was a NEC All-Star this season, and led the Rams to a first-round playoff victory.

“I love you all, and I wish I could have one more year with this team,” said an emotional Hill, who said the younger girls on the team were like little sisters she never had. “There have been so many memories I’ll never forget. We’re like one big family.”

Hill was presented with the Lady Ram award for her fierceness and competitiveness on the court.

Behen, who was presented with a coaches’ award, was unsure at the beginning of the season if she even wanted to play basketball her senior year. But after a talk with Sawyer, she decided to stick it out.

“I wasn’t sure if my heart was in it,” she said. “But I’m so glad I played, because it was my best season yet.”

Behen urged the younger players to “never put down the ball, and to take every opportunity your coaches give you,” and said she’d “remember this season for the rest of (her) life.”

Sophomore Jeylly Medrano was presented with a coaches award, and junior Soneta Srey was named most improved player.

Paris Wilkey, who led the team in scoring, recording 16 games in double figures and scoring a season-high 31 points against Revere, was named the Offensive Player of the Year.

Sawyer recounted the many highlights from the Rams’ season, which ended with a loss to No. 1-seed Lowell in the quarterfinals of the Division 1 North tournament.

Sawyer said that after the game, Lowell’s coach approached him to tell him that the Rams “played the game the right way.”

“That’s the greatest compliment a coach can receive,” Sawyer said.

Classical knocks out Beverly

PHOTO BY CONNER GRANT
Classical’s Paris Wilkey attempts a shot over the Beverly defense.

By GORDON VINCENT

BEVERLY – The difference – as it usually is in the post-season – was defense.

The Lynn Classical girls basketball team shut down a potent Beverly squad, and earned a 45-34 win in the first-round Division 1 North tournament on Wednesday night at Beverly High.

Paris Wilkey led Classical with 15 points, including 11 in the second half, while Cheynesse Hill and Soneta Srey each added 10. For the No. 8-seeded Panthers (13-8), Olivia George led the way with 15 points and Melissa Lubas added 11.

“Our defense was outstanding tonight,” Classical coach Tom Sawyer said. “We know what they’re going to do and they know what we’re going to do. You can’t let this (Beverly) team catch and shoot because they’ll kill you. I thought we did a good job of making sure they didn’t do that tonight.”

Classical employed a 1-2-2 zone press with Hill at the top that made the Panthers work to bring the ball up the floor. When the Rams weren’t forcing turnovers, they were taking precious time off Beverly’s shot clock and making the Panthers hasty in their half-court offense.

The first half was a grind offensively. Beverly opened the game with a 6-0 run, which turned out to be its largest lead of the game at the 5:49 mark of the first quarter. The Rams rallied and took their first lead when Srey hit a couple of inside shots to make the score 9-8 with 7:38 left in the first quarter. Classical maintained a one-point lead (14-13) at halftime.

Two free throws by George put the Panthers back on top midway through the third quarter. But the Rams went on a decisive 14-0 run behind Wilkey, who scored seven straight points, the last two on a pair of free throws to give Classical a 30-18 lead.

Beverly got as close as five points when Jess Cross swished a 3-pointer from the left elbow with 4:54 left in the game. But Classical’s Rebecca Walker, who scored 8 points with all but one coming in the second half, answered with a three from the top of the key, as the Rams took command with a 7-0 spurt.

A free throw by Walker with 20.6 seconds left gave the Rams their biggest lead of the game at 45-32.

The No. 9-seeded Rams (15-8), who lost to the Panthers twice during the regular season, will play top-seeded Lowell (20-2) in the quarterfinals on Friday (7) at Lowell.

Familiar foes could meet in girls’ hoops tourney

FILE PHOTO
Classical’s Paris Wilkey and Beverly’s Tessa Armbruster will meet again in the first round of the playoffs.

By CONNER GRANT

The MIAA girls’ basketball state tournament brackets were released Friday afternoon, with many local teams set to begin their playoff runs next week. The first round of the tournament will kick off on Tuesday.

The Lynn Classical team (14-8) grabs the No. 9 seed in a tough Division 1, and will set to square off against a familiar opponent, No. 8 seed and Northeastern Conference foe, Beverly.

In their two meetings this year, Classical fell twice to Beverly, once by just a point, and the other by 11 points.

“The key to this game is to get off to a good start” said Rams’ coach Tom Sawyer. “Both games this season we fell behind, and it took a lot of energy to crawl our way back.”

The Rams just missed earning a home game, and will have to take on Beverly on their home court on March 2 at 7 p.m.

Also in the Division 1 bracket is NEC champion, Revere, which landed the No. 4 seed and will take on No. 13 Arlington Catholic at home on Friday. The Patriots lost just two games in league play this season (one of which came against Classical), going 15-5 overall.

One of the highest-seeded local team, St. Mary’s (18-4), drew the No. 3 seed, and will have to wait for the winner of the Saugus and Georgetown tilt in the first round.

With the layoff, Spartans’ coach Jeff Newhall has the challenge of keeping the girls fresh during the wait.

“We scheduled scrimmages against Newburyport and Woburn, and continue to practice hard,” said Newhall.

But that layoff could work in the Spartans’ favor. No. 6 Georgetown (13-9) and No. 11 Saugus (9-11) will play on Wednesday, and the winner will have to take on the powerful Spartans on Friday night.

Saugus, a team that snuck into the playoffs with the lowest seed, will have their work cut out for them against Georgetown, but will look to go on the road and pull off an upset.

St. Mary’s rival Bishop Fenwick earned the second seed in the Division 3 bracket. Both the Spartans and Crusaders went 18-4 on the year and claimed a share of the Catholic Central League title. The two could very well meet again in the semifinals; Fenwick will have to go through the winner of No. 7 Amesbury and No. 10 Charlestown to get there. The Crusaders and Spartans have met twice this season, with Fenwick getting the better of St. Mary’s in both matchups.

In other rivalries, Swampscott and Marblehead both earned mid-level seeds in the Division 2 bracket, with 15-5 Swampscott earning the fifth seed, and 14-6 Marblehead grabbing the seventh.

Swampscott will take on No. 12 Dracut (10-10) in the first round at home on Wednesday, while Marblehead will square off against No. 10 Belmont (11-9) at home on Thursday.

Danvers (12-8) earned the No. 9 seed in Division 2, and will take on No. 8 Chelsea in what could be a tightly contested playoff game. The Falcons will go on the road on Tuesday.