Nicolette D’Itria’s legacy as one of the most successful players in the history of the powerful St. Mary’s High School of Lynn girls basketball program is already assured.
A superb 5-foot-6-inch senior guard from Revere, D’Itria was a starter and major contributor the last two seasons as St. Mary’s played Hoosac Valley in the 2018 state championship game and defeated Rockland in the 2019 state semifinal at the TD Garden (The state final, a rematch with Hoosac Valley whom the Spartans had bested earlier in the season, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
Basketball observers will agree that St. Mary’s, currently 15-1 and in first place in the Catholic Central League, would have been one of the favorites for the 2021 state title but the ongoing pandemic has forced the cancellation of the entire MIAA Basketball Tournament.
St. Mary’s head coach Jeff Newhall said D’Itria is worthy of all the accolades.
“Nicolette’s record of success here is one of the best in the history of our program,” said Newhall. “I think if we didn’t have a pandemic she would have been the first person here to start in three consecutive state championship games.”
As her exciting high school varsity journey winds down (and her now legendary 30-point JV explosion as an eighth grader remains a school record), D’Itria has announced that she will be continuing her academic and basketball career at Endicott College in Beverly.
“I made the decision the other day after I had a phone conversation with the Endciott coach,” said D’Itria. “I had talked about it with my parents before and we decided that it would be my best option to go to Endicott.”
D’Itria also considered Framingham State, Suffolk, and UMass/Dartmouth among her final choices before making the decision.
D’Itria has toured Endicott’s beautiful, picturesque campus, met the basketball coaches in person, and attended a Lady Gulls’ game. D’Itria will play her home games at the Dr. George MacDonald Gymnasium inside the Post Center, which is an excellent facility for college basketball.
A Rising Star from her Start in Revere
Nicolette D’Itria’s skills and fundamentals on the basketball court were obvious from the beginning, a product of her father Mike D’Itria’s teachings.
She first played organized basketball in the fourth grade for the Revere Runnin’ Rebels travel team coached by Tim Spinney and Anthony Palermo. Spinney is currently an assistant coach at St. Mary’s. “Mr. Spinney has been with me in basketball the whole time and I’m grateful for all of his support and coaching,” said D’Itria.
She attended Immaculate Conception School and excelled as a leading scorer for the school team in grades five through seven.
D’Itria also attended Jeff Newhall’s Spartans Summer Basketball Camp and enrolled at St. Mary’s after completing seventh grade at IC.
A Promotion to the Varsity as an Eighth Grader
Once Nicolette D’Itria arrived in the St. Mary’s girls basketball program, Coach
Newhall recognized her potential to contribute at the varsity level right away.
Newhall moved the talented eighth grader to the varsity and there was no looking back after that. D’Itria became a four-year starter and this season she again pairs with Jirsy Queliz to form one of the state’s best backcourts.
Though she has exhibited her outside shooting ability in virtually every game (she had a 25-point performance in Florida that earned a special ‘Player of the Game Award’), D’Itria is known widely as “a complete player.”
D’itria can finish drives with either hand. She is an adept dribbler. She is a strong rebounder and tenacious defender. She is generous in the distribution of the basketball, making her a perfect complement to teammates, including 1,000-point scorer Maiya Bergdorf, Alyssa Grossi, Kelly Preira, Van Nguyen, Pe’jae Parent, and her aforementioned backcourt partner, Yirsy Queliz, a future college basketball prospect herself.
Nicolette’s work ethic – a key facet in her consistent improvement instilled in her by her father, Mike – is second to none, according to Newhall.
“Nicolette has worked on her game more than any player we have had in our program and she deserves everything she gets,” said Newhall.
She has sharpened her game in the off-season playing AAU basketball for the MCW Stars under the leadership of coaches Mandy Zagarowski and Jesus Rodriguez.
Basketball has Been a Great Experience at St. Mary’s
During her career, the St Mary’s basketball team has traveled to play games at Disney World and in South Carolina, New York, and Cape Cod.
“The whole experience has been a lot of fun,” said D’Itria. “I have great teammates and friends at the school. You’re able to do a lot more on the court with them and it’s just an overall better game because of their talent and teamwork.”
An excellent student and a member of the National Honor Society who performs community service, D’Itria said the coaches at St. Mary’s have been awesome mentors.
“I want to thank Mr. Newhall and all the coaches for everything they have done for us,” said D’Itria. “Coach Newhall is always very honest with us and pushing us to do our best.”
Nicolette said she truly appreciates Head of School Dr. John Dolan for attending the team’s games, including the meaningful Senior Night Ceremonies. “Our administration and teachers are always so supportive of our team,” she said.
One of her favorite teachers is also one of her basketball coaches, Mike Jalbert, who teaches U.S. History at St. Mary’s.
“Mr. Jalbert always been there for my basketball and my schoolwork,” said D’Itria.
A Lot of Support from her Family
Nicolette, 17, is thankful for the support and inspiration of her parents, Mike and Tami D’Itria, and her brother, Anthony, a stellar Steph-like shooter and perhaps the next member of family to help bring a state title home to St. Mary’s.
“I want to thank my family for always having my back on everything – my dad, for always taking me out to the gym for extra hours just to put up some more shots and put me through some drills and always pushing me to my limit,” said D’Itria. “And my brother is always there to tell me what I can do better on the court.”