RHS boys win Gen. Patton tourney; march into post-season
The Revere High boys basketball team completed a magnificent, six-game winning streak to clinch a berth in the post-season state tournament by capturing the championship of the General Patton Tourney last week.
Coach David Leary and his crew had punched their ticket for a Journey to the MIAA Tourney with a victory over Arlington Catholic in the preliminary round of the Patton Tourney last Monday, elevating their record to 10-9 and thereby assuring themselves of the .500 regular-season record that is required to qualify for the post-season.
Then the following night, Revere took home the General Patton Trophy with a 56-50 victory over the Marblehead Magicians in the championship game at Hamilton-Wenham High School.
The hard-fought contest with Marblehead, which entered the fray with a 9-10 record and needed a win in order to qualify for the state tourney, was emblematic of the gutsy encounters that the Patriots had faced throughout their six-game run to a tourney berth.
“We knew we were going to get Marblehead’s best shot,” said Leary. “They are tough, well-coached, and were hungry to get into the tournament. We needed to match their intensity all night and I feel we did that.”
Revere started down 4-0 early thanks to the Magicians’ full-court pressure that forced early Revere turnovers. However, the Patriots soon were able to settle down and get their offense going.
Senior co-captain Amara Bockarie (five points, five rebounds, four assists) made a nice, left-handed layup on a fast break and junior guard Crisrael Lithgow was able to find his range twice from three-point land.
Sophomore forward John Capozzi then set up junior forward Calvin Boudreau for a nice, back-door layup and the Patriots ended the first quarter with a 15-12 lead.
The second quarter was not kind to Revere however, as the turnovers continued to pile up and the shots would not fall even when the Patriots had open looks.
Marblehead went on an 8-0 run to begin the frame and took a five-point lead midway through. But that’s when Capozzi (14 points, seven rebounds) began to assert himself, knocking down a pair of mid-range jump shots and then putting back an offensive rebound.
But other than another trey by Lithgow, Revere proved unable to muster any further offense and managed to score just nine points in the period, enabling Marblehead to grab a 29-24 advantage as the teams headed into the locker room.
Despite the deficit at halftime, Leary remained optimistic about his team’s prospects.
“We took some big punches in the first half, but we didn’t go down,” said the coach. “We kept coming off the ropes. Dillan (Day) really controlled the boards for us and did a nice job in the middle of our press-breaker, finding open teammates.”
The Patriots came out on fire after the intermission. Lithgow and Bockarie drained back-to-back three-pointers and a few minutes later, senior co-captain Robert Raduazzo (five points, three assists), despite playing a little bit hobbled with a sprained wrist, bounced in another long range shot to give Revere a brief 33-32 edge with 3:19 remaining in the third.
The Magicians responded, getting the ball inside and ending the quarter on a 6-2 run to take a 39-35 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Revere came out of the stoppage with a different approach on defense. The Patriots came out of their man-to-man coverage and employed a full-court zone press, falling back to a zone defense.
The strategy paid dividends immediately. Revere began to create turnovers instead of making them. Day (three points, 14 rebounds, five assists) continued to clean up the boards and find open teammates, particularly Lithgow (25 points, 6-13 on three-pointers), who drained two treys consecutively on assists from Dillan.
With the Revere defense in lock-down mode on the Magicians, the Patriots moved out to a 48-40 lead with two minutes to go, leaving Marblehead with no choice but to start fouling to stop the clock.
Patriot forwards Capozzi, who hit on 6-of-6 attempts from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter, and Raduazzo, who was 2-for-2 from the line, were clutch down the stretch, enabling Revere to close out the game for the 56-50 finale.
The win gave the Patriots the General Patton Tournament trophy for the first time in their four years competing in the event. Raduazzo and Capozzi were voted to the all-tournament team and Lithgow was voted the tournament MVP.
“We (the staff) are so proud of what this group has accomplished over the past few weeks,” said Leary. “Going from a 5-9 record to 11-9 is not an easy thing to do, but these guys came together and are peaking at the right time of year.
“All of our guys have been pulling on the rope and it’s a great feeling,” continued Leary. “Obviously Cris (Lithgow) showed how talented he is and was feeling it a bit. John (Capozzi) gave us the spark we needed, but Dillan (Day) was key in our press-breaker, and for him to grab 14 rebounds was huge. We honestly have had a few different guys step up every night during this run and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Keeping it going is exactly what Leary and his crew were seeking to do when they traveled to Waltham last night (Tuesday) to play a first-round game in the Division 1 North Sectional of the MIAA State Basketball Tournament. Waltham (16-4) is the #6 seed and Revere (11-9) is the #11 seed.
“We spent the weekend learning as much as we can about, and preparing for, Waltham,” said Leary Friday. “They are a very tough, experienced team with seven seniors and are well-coached. But when you get to the state tournament, those teams are all there for a reason — they are good. We just need to continue to be us and do what we do. This group has worked for everything it’s gotten.”
If the Patriots prevailed in last night’s encounter, they will face the winner of the first-round game between #3 Chelsea (17-3) and #14 Boston Latin (12-10). The Patriots are quite familiar wth the Chelsea Red Devils, their arch-rivals from across the Parkway. The teams met twice this season, splitting their two encounters.
A match-up between the two squads would take place at Chelsea High at a date to be determined — and a capacity crowd is sure be on hand for what could be an epic battle.
Del Rio finishes
sixth at D-1 Meet
Revere High junior David Del Rio scored 14 points at the recent Division 1 Massachusetts State swimming championship that was held at the Boston University swim enter.
David competed in two events, the 200 IM and 100 backstroke. In the IM, an event in which Del Rio was seeded 32nd out of 36 swimmers, he swam a season-best of 2:02.94, lowering his seed time by almost a full second, to finished in 16th place, earning a point for Revere High on the scoreboard.
Then, in the 100-yard backstroke, David turned in an even more amazing performance, lowering his best time — which had been 58.85 — by over three seconds to 55.78 and easily winning his heat.
Del Rio had to watch three more heats to see how his time would hold up. In the end, only five other swimmers could beat his time and he finished in sixth place in the state.
“It was a great way for David to finish his junior season,” said RHS swim coach Chris Hill.