Sports 12-05-2012

RHS girls basketball team readying for upcoming season

“It’s hard to believe we are getting ready for a new season,” said Revere High girls head basketball coach Katelyn Leonard this week as she put her team through their paces in anticipation of the 2012-2013 campaign.

The Lady Patriot basketball program has been a bright spot for Revere High athletics the past few years, first under the direction of Diana DeCristoforo and last season  under Leonard, who guided the Lady Pats to a fine 11-10 record, which included a berth in the post season state tournament, despite having lost a large group of key seniors from the year before and then her all-star guard, Gena Restiano, to a knee injury midway through the year.

However, with Restiano back on the hard court, Leonard and her crew, who will be led by the senior captaincy duo of Restiano and Caitlyn Caramello,  will set their sights on compiling yet another winning year and qualifying for the state tourney.

“Gena is back and at full speed,” said Leonard. “She worked her heart out during her rehabilitation to get back on the court, and if she didn’t have the knee brace on, you’d never know she had surgery last February. “

The Lady Patriots were set to begin their pre-season scrimmage schedule today (Wednesday) against Hamilton-Wenham and Friday in a tri-scrimmage with Methuen & Burlington. The girls then will compete Saturday night in the Jamboree at Lynn Classical, taking on St. Mary’s of Lynn at 8 p.m.

In addition to the experienced pair of Restiano and Caramello, who carried the team on her shoulders when running mate Restiano went down with her injury, two other seniors, Amy Rotger and Jacqui Noel, are returning from last year’s varsity quintet. Junior Jen Fajardo and sophomore Tiphani Harris, both of whom played key roles in last year’s success, also are back. Coming up from the junior varsity squad are seniors Gianna Bua, Danielle Smith, Aliza Anderson, and Adrianna Borriello. All-around junior athletes Logan DiCarlo and Cassandra DiBella and freshmen Ally Hinajosa and Adanna Hector round out the varsity roster.

“This proved to be one of the most competitive tryouts I have ever been a part of as a coach,” said Leonard, which no doubt is a tribute to the success of the RHS program in recent years and the strength of the city’s girls youth basketball program. “There are a lot of talented players in all grades, which will both prove to be helpful now and makes the future look bright.

“The team has worked very hard this first week of practice to prepare for the season,” added the coach.. “We have some youth on the team, but our senior class has been excellent at setting a tone of hard work and no quit to bring the newer players up to speed.”

Shooting and smarts look to propel boys hoop team

If enthusiasm is an indication of good things to come, the Revere High boys basketball program team should have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming 2012-13 season.

RHS head coach Rick Hayes greeted a group of 65 candidates for the 24 spots on the junior varsity and varsity squads last week for the start of the new campaign, forcing him to make many difficult decisions.

“I really dislike this time of year,” said Hayes. “There are so many nice and talented kids who come out for the team, but you cannot keep everybody.”

The final 12 for the varsity roster include returning seniors Dom Boyce and Geo Gomez, who were elected the captains by their teammates. Boyce will play mostly at point guard and shooting guard, with some time at the three spot, while Gomez, a standout shooter, will figure prominently at the small forward spot.

Senior Tom Sor, junior Mike Dreezen, and junior Jason Seigal, all of whom saw significant playing time last year and all of whom are excellent shooters, will complete the RHS backcourt.

Junior Mike Ciambelli, junior Doug Zingali, and senior Paul Bedford will anchor the Patriots up front. Bedford is the tallest of the crew at 6-3, whom Hayes labels as a raw talent.

“Paul came to the program only last year as a first time basketball player, but with his height and athletic ability, he has the potential to make a big contribution to our team,” said Hayes.

Senior Chris Hinojosa, junior Ravi Ryland, junior Steven Selesnick, and senior Sean Leonard also figure to see significant action during the season. All four bring strengths to the RHS lineup.

Hayes in addition will dress juniors Ben DiGiulio and Dante Lauria for varsity games. The pair will split their time with the JV, but Hayes said, “Ben and Dante both bring defensive intensity to the table. They’re the type of kids you want on your team.”

As usual for the Patriots, a lack of size will be a drawback, but Hayes said he’s hoping to utilize his team’s hoop smarts and shooting ability to neutralize the height advantage of many of their opponents.

“We have some superb shooters and our team has great basketball IQ,” said the coach, noting that off the court, his Patriots are a team with many outstanding academic scholars in the classroom. “We have a great group and we’re looking froward to the season.”

Hayes and his crew have a busy week of pre-season scrimmaging on tap. They face Masconomet tomorrow (Thursday), which is coached by Frank Shea of Revere, who is a teacher in the local school system. Friday night they will meet Winthrop, under the direction of new coach Mike DiMarino (another local teacher who taught every one of the RHS team members before they entered high school) in the Jamboree at Lynn Classical. On Saturday they will engage in a tri-scrimmage with Wakefield and Newburyport.

Hayes and his crew will open their season on Friday, December 14, when they travel to take on the Bulldogs of Lynn English, the perennial big dogs of the Northeastern Conference.

New coach, new era for RHS hockey 

With a new head coach assuming the reins, it’s a new era for the Revere High hockey team.  Joe Ciccarello will be taking over behind the bench for former long time RHS mentor Jim Palumbo, a coaching legend who was inducted into the prestigious Massachusetts Hockey High School Coaches Hall of Fame a few years ago.

Cicarello greeted a group of 25 candidates for this year’s team and all 25 will stick with the program (although under high school rules, only 22 will be allowed to dress for a varsity game).

The Patriots competed over the weekend in a tournament at the hockey arena complex in Marlborough, taking on Watertown. “Watertown is a good team,” said Ciccarello. “We started out slowly, but then held our own as the scrimmage progressed.”

The Patriots will be led by a trio of captains, senior goaltender Jon Papasadora, junior defenseman Brandon Mastropietro, and junior forward Marco Mazzarelli.

“It’s always a transition when a new coach comes in. The players have to get used to a new system and the coach has to get to know his players,” said Ciccarello, who took on a similar situation when he became head coach of the RHS softball team a few years ago and soon brought the program to success.

“The team is working hard and we’re looking forward to the start of the season,” added the coach.

The Patriots open their 2012-13 campaign next Wednesday, December 12, hosting former Greater Boston League rival Somerville in a non-league encounter.

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