One of Revere High’s greatest basketball players is now a head coach.
Gena Restiano, a 1,000- point scorer, three-time Northeastern Conference All-Star and league MVP during her four varsity seasons in Revere, has been named the girls basketball head coach at Chelsea High School. She will also take over the CHS softball program next spring.
Restiano, daughter of Lawrence and Debra Restiano, was promoted from her junior varsity basketball coach position to head coach. At 24, she becomes one of the youngest head coaches in the area.
“I’m 24 so it feels a little surprising that they gave me the job, but I’m happy they did because I worked hard to get it,” said Restiano, who has been involved in a player-training program at the CHS gymnasium this summer. “I know a lot of the players because I was a teacher at Chelsea High, too.”
Restiano said she has a few players returning from last year’s Red Devils contingent that just missed qualifying for the State Tournament. One of the returnees is a 6-foot-3-inch center.
“I’m going to bring in [former RHS and Suffolk teammate] Caitlyn Caramello to work with our centers and forwards,” said Restiano.
At Revere High, Restiano was a consistent, double-figure scorer, playing two seasons each for head coaches Diana Finn and Katelyn Leonard. During her sophomore season, Restiano was the electrifying point guard for a 20-0 Revere High team that defeated Lynn English in the State Tournament before being ousted by Lincoln-Sudbury.
Despite her career being hampered by knee injuries, Restiano would eventually eclipse the 1,000-point milestone in her final game against Westford Academy in the State Tournament. The 1,000th point was a free throw, she recalled.
She played one season of basketball at Babson College before transferring to Suffolk University. She sustained two more ACL injuries at Suffolk, but true to her determination and competitive nature, she worked hard in rehabilitation, returned to the court, and completed her collegiate basketball career.
“I had a better high school career than I did a college career, but I was able to finish, which was nice,” said Restiano. “It was great to be reunited with Caitlin at Suffolk and play basketball for Coach [Ed] Leyden.”
Following her graduation from Suffolk in 2017 with a degree in Marketing and a concentration in data analytics, Restiano worked for the Bank of New York Mellon and Nike before deciding to enter the field of education and become a teacher.
The jump to basketball coaching was a natural for Restiano, who was always fundamentally sound and a highly respected teammate and mentor to other players. She is one of the few high school basketball players to have mastered the behind-the-back dribble at full speed. She also thrived in three-point land, setting the RHS record at the time with seven in one game from beyond the arc.
And now she’ll have the opportunity to pass on the knowledge and the techniques she has acquired to the next generation of players.
“I’m very excited to have this opportunity in Chelsea,” said Restiano. “I’m hoping to be in Chelsea for a long time and build a program.”
Interestingly Chelsea will be resuming its rivalry with Revere when Chelsea becomes a member of the Greater Boston League in 2021.
“We’re going to scrimmage Revere this year and next year we’ll schedule a game and eventually we’ll see them in the GBL,” said Restiano.