When the Revere fifth-grade basketball team lost the first game of the Eastern Travel League’s double-elimination playoffs, head coach Pat Hayes and assistant coach Bob Urquhart weren’t worried a bit.
Their Revere team had won 13 of 15 games during the regular season and the coaches were confident that the players would respond to the challenging road ahead.
The coaches were right on the mark. The Revere players – call them the Terrific Ten – stormed through the loser’s bracket and then defeated Rockport twice to claim the championship.
Curtis High, the team’s leading scorer and point guard, tallied 14 points to power Revere to a 47-40 victory over Rockport in the final game that was played in its opponent’s backyard, Manchester-Essex High School. High displayed some good dribbling skills and offensive moves and his hot hand allowed Revere to open a comfortable lead in the second half.
John DiGregorio excelled alongside High to form one of the league’s best backcourts. DiGregorio used his quickness to lead Revere’s defense in the two wins over Rockport.
The starting forwards, Brendan Hayes, Eddie Sullivan, and John Burke also made outstanding contributions to the title-clinching win.
Hayes was the team’s leading rebounder and contributed a lot of key baskets all season. Sullivan played aggressive basketball and used his speed to his team’s advantage at both ends of the court.
Burke was the unsung hero on the team, “doing all the little things to help out the team in a big way,” according to coach Hayes.
Anthony DelVecchio epitomized the team’s hustling style of play and its tenacious defensive pressure. Robbie Cobb was the team’s most improved player.
Vincent DeGregorio was one of the team’s most forceful rebounders, displaying a lot of toughness on the court. “Vincent is starting to add some finesse to his game,” said Hayes.
Robert Caldarelli was a strong rebounder and defensive player. Anthony Scoppettuolo had a key basket in the championship game to finish off a solid season as a key reserve player.
Early in the season Hayes felt his team had the necessary ingredients to be the best team in the league. He saw that the players had a good grasp of the fundamentals and they worked well as a cohesive group in practices and in games. The one-point loss to Rockport in the playoff opener didn’t alter his beliefs.
“The toughest game for us to get to the championship round was against Melrose, who was the No. 1 seed,” said Hayes, an IAABO-certified basketball referee. “We ended up beating Melrose, 39-37, and we were on our way.”
The Revere team celebrated its championship at an end-of-the year pizza party Sunday at the Lincoln School. Each player received a team sweatshirt from the Revere traveling team’s board of directors.
The future looks good for Revere basketball. While the fifth-grade team was taking home its crown as champion, the sixth/seventh grade team, and the eighth-grade team also enjoyed successful seasons. In fact, the eighth-grade team lost only three games all season – all to Malden – including a one-point setback in the championship game.
“We had great kids on the team,” said Hayes, who will coach the sixth-grade team next season. “I’m already looking forward to next year. I think we have a good shot.”
After a memorable run to the 2010 championship, a repeat is certainly within reach.