RHS Girls Almost Pull off Major Upset
An underdog Revere High girls basketball team joined in the fun of March Madness with a pair of scintillating contests against favored rivals from Lynn Classical and Lynn English last week in tournament play for the first-ever Greater Boston League Cup.
The Patriots turned in a strong performance in the opening round of the tournament against Lynn Classical, a team that had defeated Revere earlier in the season.
For much of the contest, it appeared as though Classical would prevail once again. Revere fell behind early thanks to some hot shooting by the Rams to start the game, but the Patriots ratcheted-up the defensive pressure in the second half to pull out a hard-fought, 38-35 victory.
The Patriots trailed by nine points midway through the third quarter, but the Revere girls refused to concede and continued to play hard.
Lamees Al-Assad had an outstanding steal and coast-to-coast basket, plus the foul, for a three-point play to trim the margin to six points.
When Carolina Bettero, who led all scorers with 15 points, drained a trey from a few steps in front of half-court at the buzzer (foreshadowing the NCAA men’s semifinals a few days later) to make it a three-point game heading into the fourth period, the momentum had swung in the Patriots’ favor.
Skyla DeSimone, with the game tight down the stretch, then stepped up and took over offensively. Skyla scored the final six points for Revere, including a lay-up and foul with 30 seconds to play, to secure the lead for Revere for the first time in the game.
DeSimone was also instrumental on the defensive end, holding Lynn Classical’s leading scorer without a basket the whole game, including a stop in the final seconds.
Alana Nelson played a major role in the win, as she hit some big threes in the final quarter to keep it close and rebounded well all game. Haley Belloise led the team in assists and played outstanding offensively.
The following night the Revere girls took on undefeated Lynn English, the top seed in the tourney and an opponent who had handled the Patriots easily in their regular-season encounter.
Once again Revere put up a tremendous battle, but came up just short in overtime, 41-37.
The contest was a nip-and-tuck affair throughout. Nelson gave Revere the lead with a three-pointer with two minutes to go in regulation, but the Bulldogs moved out to a two-point edge on a three-point play of their own.
DeSimone, who once again turned in a stellar performance with 17 points, then hit a big layup to send the contest into OT. Other key efforts for Revere came from Bettero and Lynzie Anderson, who were outstanding on the boards the whole game as they battled against a much-bigger Lynn English squad.
“I’m very proud of this team and the effort they showed,” said RHS head coach Matt Willis of his squad.
RHS Boys Battle Against Everett
The Revere High Boys basketball team traveled to Everett last Wednesday to take on the Crimson Tide in the first round of the Greater Boston League Cup.
Revere (1-6) came in as the seventh seed while Everett (6-1) came in as the second seed.
The teams had met two weeks previously during the regular season and it was pretty much a one-sided game, with Everett in control at both ends of the floor and easily turning aside the Patriots, 73-34.
Although the Patriots knew they were facing an up-hill battle, they were coming off their first win the previous Friday on Senior Night against Malden, giving the team confidence that they were improving.
The first quarter started off well for Revere. The Patriots jumped out to an early 8-2 lead. Senior guard Jafar Barry (11 points) drained a corner three-pointer, junior guard James Clauto made a nice driving layup, and sophomore forward Jack D’Ambrosio (11 points) knocked down a three-pointer from the wing.
Everett responded by extending their pressure defense and Revere began to turn the ball over, allowing the Crimson Tide to go on a big run to move out to a 17-12 advantage after the first quarter.
The second period proved to be more of the same. Everett pounced on Revere’s mistakes and continued to score off their pressure defense. Seniors Marco Cerbone and Randy Urdaneta made consecutive baskets for the Patriots to weather the storm a bit, but Everett still had the advantage on the scoreboard at halftime, 32-21.
“We gave them momentum with our mistakes,” said RHS head coach David Leary of his team’s performance in the first half. “When our defense was set they had a real hard time scoring, but when we turned it over, they took advantage. This was the same story in our first game earlier this season.”
Everett started the third quarter with another big run, outscoring the Patriots 10-2 the first four minutes after the intermission, ballooning the Crimson Tide lead to 42-23.
Although Revere was not turning the ball over, the Patriots’ defense was allowing too many easy baskets for Everett’s top scorers, John Monexant (17 points) and Jean Louis (12 points).
After a timeout, the Revere coaching staff switched to a triangle-and-two defense. The move completely shifted the momentum of the game.
Everett had a hard time scoring, while Revere’s offense got going, Senior co-captain Calvin Boudreau (16 points, 10 rebounds) sank four straight free throws and fellow senior co-captain Dillan Day (six points, eight rebounds) knocked down a three-pointer from the top of the key to pull the Patriots within 48-34 at the third buzzer.
Revere continued to fight back, staying in the same defense with Barry and Clauto smothering Everett’s two leading scorers. Revere also built some momentum offensively behind Boudreau, Barry, D’Ambrosio, and Day, eventually drawing within 54-50 and with Revere heading to the free throw line with 2:34 to go in the game.
Unfortunately for the Patriots, the free throws did not fall and the Crimson Tide finally got some offense from their other players.
“We showed a lot of heart coming back and not giving in when we fell behind by 19, but we just could not complete the upset,” said Leary.
Everett made its free throws down the stretch and held on for the win, 62-52.
“We are so proud of these guys,” said Leary afterwards. “They played with so much heart. We were a much better team than our record showed and we were improving. “It’s too bad that we were not able to have the full season,” Leary added, “but we were fortunate to play at all. We were so happy to be together again and we kept each other safe. The guys really committed to each other. We are really going to miss these seniors.”