Pepic shoots for her 1,000th point Friday
By Cary Shuman
Revere High basketball star Valentina Pepic is nine points shy of the 1,000-point career milestone heading in to her next game Friday night at Saugus High.
Pepic, a 6-foot-2-inch senior center and co-captain, is considered one of the state’s best players. Pepic is a two-time Northeastern Conference North Division MVP and a reigning Globe and Herald All-Scholastic. She has signed a letter of intent to attend Division 1 Niagara University.
Pepic scored 14 points and had eight rebounds in a 65-47 loss to Holy Name (Worcester) on Saturday in the championship game of the Colonials Winter Bash at Acton-Boxborough High School.
Asked about the impending milestone, Pepic said, “I’m good. I’m excited. I’m just playing my game. I’m not really focused on the 1,000th point. When it happens, it’s going to happen.”
Pepic began her RHS basketball career as a freshman reserve for the varsity team. She did not envision that she would one day score 1,000 points.
“I rarely played freshman year,” she said. “I probably averaged 2-3 points a game.”
Pepic worked hard on her game in the off-seasons and last year, she was the leading scorer and rebounder for an RHS team that ascended to the No. 1 ranking in the state for the first time in school history.
Revere coach Lianne O’Hara expects Pepic to accomplish the feat against Saugus.
“We’re excited about this achievement,” said O’Hara. “I’m sure Valentina would like to get the point at home (RHS), but it’s the way it worked out.”
Pepic’s family and some of her former coaches will be in attendance at the game. RHS Athletic Director Frank Shea said a special presentation will be made to Pepic if she scores her 1,000th point in the game. Pepic is seeking to become the sixth player to enter the 1,000-point club.
The 1,000-point scorers in the RHS girls basketball program are Patricia Misiano, Karen Jouve, Diana DeCristoforo Finn, Christa Margossian, Morgan Jenkins, and Gena Restiano.
RhS sports Roundup
Barbosa wins two events at NEC Meet
Revere sophomore Lucas Barbosa won two individual titles at the Northeastern Conference Freshman/Sophomore Meet held Saturday at Beverly.
Lucas captured the high jump with a leap of 5’-8” and then ran away from the competition in the 50 yard hurdles in a time of 7.0 seconds. His closest competitor crossed the line in 7.7.
Christian Madrid captured a third-place medal in the mile in a clocking of 5:27. Teammates Anthony Soares and Anthony Arias earned medals in the hurdles wth fourth and sixth place finishes respectively in 8.1 and 8.5.
The RHS boys 4 x 440 relay team also medaled, coming across in sixth place in 4:16.4.
On the girls’ side, Lynzie Anderson was the lone medalist for the Lady Patriots, finishing in fourth place in the high jump with her leap of 4’-6”.
RHS hockey team splits in holiday tourney
The Revere High hockey team competed in the East Boston holiday tournament to benefit cancer research during the vacation break, splitting its two contests.
The Patriots drew Ashland as an opening-round opponent and came up on the short end of a heartbreaking 2-1 decision.
Mark Giordano gave Revere a 1-0 lead early in the contest, but Ashland brought the contest back to level before the end of the first period.
The teams remained deadlocked through the rest of the first period, all of the second, and almost all of the third, until with 23 seconds remaining on the clock in regulation, Ashland capitalized off a face-off in the Revere end, scoring the game-winning goal.
“Ashland is a good team and we played well overall,” said RHS head coach Lou Ciccarello. “It was a tough way to lose, but we have to learn from it and move forward.”
The consolation game the following night with a young and inexperienced O’Bryant High of Boston proved to be a case of nolo contendere for the Patriots, who cruised to an 11-0 win. Highlights included hat tricks by the Rufo brothers, Zack and Corey.
After a week off from games during the remainder of the vacation break, Ciccarello and his crew, who stand at 4-2-1 on the season, now will get into the heart of their Northeastern Conference schedule, with two games per week on a Wednesday-Saturday timetable.
The Patriots host Somerville this evening (Wednesday) at Cronin with a 6:30 face-off and will trek to Gloucester Saturday. They will entertain non-league foe East Boston next Wednesday at Cronin at 6:30.
RHS boys hoop hosts Saugus Friday
The Revere High boys basketball team dropped a pair of contests before the Christmas break, falling to Malden, 75-52, and to Somerville, 62-44.
In the encounter with Malden, Revere got off to a slow start offensively and, combined with a hot-shooting Golden Tornado squad, fell into a hole from which the Patriots never were able to recover.
The Golden Tornadoes sank four three-pointers in the opening period and drained 12 treys altogether (compared to four for Revere).
The second quarter proved more of the same, as Malden continued their rapid pace, led by senior point guard Tyler Holness (22 points, four three-pointers), and opened up a 51-20 advantage at the half.
However, the young Patriots fought hard in the second half, improving defensively to limit Malden to just 24 points after the intermission.
Revere junior forward Omar Bendjahene was a bright spot, scoring a team-high 19 points and grabbing six rebounds.
“Malden is a senior-heavy, experienced team,” said RHS head coach David Leary. “We were overmatched tonight on both ends of the floor. We cannot afford to come out slowly against a team that talented. I was proud of our guys competing hard in the second half and Omar showed his potential tonight. We just have to keep working hard and focus on improving everyday.”
Two nights later the Patriots traveled to Somerville to take on a very well-coached and athletic Highlander squad.
Once again, a slow start by Revere resulted in an early 6-0 deficit. However, after Leary called a time-out, the Patriots responded, jumping ahead 8-6 after junior guard Marcus Brunson-Perez (12 points) made some tough shots in the lane.
The Highlanders counterpunched, coming out strong after their own timeout and closed the quarter on a 16-2 run, leaving Revere trailing, 22-10.
The second quarter mirrored the first and Somerville took a 44-20 lead into the locker room at halftime.
“We really challenged the kids at the half,” said Leary. “We were playing timidly and not competing on every possession, especially on the boards. Somerville had 20 offensive rebounds in the game.”
The Patriots responded to their coach’s call for action and, led by senior center Devon Avery (14 points, six rebounds), began to chip away at the huge deficit.
Junior guard Scott Montefusco knocked down a couple of triples and Bendjahene made some nice moves to the basket. Somerville however, displayed a balanced attack, with four players scoring in double figures, and held on for the victory, 62-44.
Although the loss drops Revere to 0-3 on the young season, there have been some positives to focus on, according to Leary.
“We obviously need to do a better job early in games to give ourselves a chance, but I was impressed in the second half when we held Somerville to just 18 points,” said Leary. “We used the time over Christmas break to work on us, with no games and a bunch of practices. The goal is to improve day-in and day-out, game-in and game-out. That’s where our focus is.”
Leary announced this week that the team and the coaching staff voted over vacation to select senior center Devon Avery, who was the overwhelming choice by his peers, to be the Patriot captain for the 2018 season.
“This is a tremendous honor and we know Devon will do a great job holding himself and his teammates accountable,” said Leary.
Revere falls to Holy Name in Colonials Basketball Tournament
By Cary Shuman
The Revere High girls basketball team dropped a 65-47 decision to Holy Name High School of Worcester in the championship game of the Colonials Winter Bash Saturday at Acton Boxborough High School.
Revere fell behind 22-10 after one period and was unable to slow down a hot-shooting Holy Name contingent. Holy Name (4-2) is one of the top Division 1 teams in central Massachusetts.
Senior co-captain Valentina Pepic, who was double-teamed for much of the game, scored 14 points and had 11 rebounds. Holy Name coach Barry Finneron said the defense focused its effort on containing Pepic.
“We really thought we had to box out [Pepic] and keep her away from the basket,” said Finneron. “We tried to neutralize her the best we could. Our other goal was to keep the basketball out of No. 13’s [Tatianna Iacoviello] as much as possible.”
Iacoviello, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, finished with 10 points. The senior guard scored 15 points in the Patriots’ 50-47 victory over Lexington in the semifinal.
One noteworthy performance came from freshman guard Ayah Harper, who scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the final. Freshman Caroline Stasio also continues to impress, netting 10 points in the win over Lexington and four points versus Holy Name.
Sophomore guard Erika Cheever had eight points in the win over Lexington. Junior guard Emily DiGiulio also played well, contributing six points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Chloe Giordano had a three-pointer in the championship game.
Jaini Edmonds, an outstanding sophomore forward for Holy Name, was selected as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Revere coach Lianne O’Hara felt her team’s slow start was crucial in the result.
“I thought we started off slowly, played them evenly in the second quarter, but we never regained the momentum to catch up to them,” said O’Hara. “They’re a really good shooting team.”
Revere plays at Saugus High Friday night. Pepic enters the game with 991 career points.