Staying alive is the most important thing in life and postseason basketball â€“ and the Revere High School (RHS) girls pulled out a 60-58 win over Lynn English Thursday night that stayed close all the way to the last buzzer.
It was a win, and the teamâ€™s first tournament win as a squad â€“ having lost in the first round last year â€“ but not too many of the players and coaches were satisfied with the style of win.
â€œIâ€™m glad we got out with a win, of course,â€ said Coach Diana DeCristoforo. â€œOur girls were inconsistent in our desire and didnâ€™t respond at the times when we would typically respond. Lynn Englishâ€™s â€˜hands up on defenseâ€™ chant seemed to rattle us. That canâ€™t happen against Lincoln-Sudbury on Saturday or it will be a long night.â€
Revere will play at home on Saturday against Lincoln-Sudbury.
Revere had started out on a roll despite a very quiet first half from anchor player Morgan Jenkins, a senior and captain. At one point, the girls streaked ahead of English by 18 points.
That lead was stoked by the hot shooting of sophomore Gena Restiano, who hit several three-pointers. Revere seemed to be cruising behind the scrappy defensive play of Marisa Parent, Ashley DiFraia, Caitlyn Caramello and Melissa Adreani.
Lynn English continuously hoisted three-pointers with no luck, and Revere grabbed the rebounds consistently.
Then the bottom fell out of the game.
Parent went down with an ankle injury and didnâ€™t return until the second half.
Lynn English began to break Revereâ€™s press and hit layups.
They ran the floor, and when they missed, they cleaned the glass and made their put-backs.
The game stood at 32-27 going into halftime, and the boisterous, large crowd was stunned. Revere had led by as many as 18 in the second quarter, only to see that big lead wiped away and a Lynn English team that was gaining momentum.
English carried the momentum into the second half and stayed close the entire way, taking the lead once down the stretch and putting Revere fans on the edge of their seats.
Down the stretch, Revere seemed to get some distance behind some scrappy, tough play underneath from Jenkins â€“ who never really got up to her normal speed during the game.
She hit a number of improbable, tough shots underneath and helped the team pull out to a 60-52 lead.
But then English hit the gas, driving the length of the floor and hitting uncontested layups, and bringing the score to 60-58 with 59 seconds to go.
Revere struggled mightily from the foul line, hitting 14 of 48 shots from the charity stripe, and it seemed to hurt them down the stretch as they missed numerous free throws.
With 11 seconds left in the game, Jenkins went to the line to shoot two.
She missed the first.
Then she missed the second.
English grabbed the rebound. Their coach didnâ€™t call a time out, but rather let them play on.
They drove down the court and into the corner, passed it to the top of the key where Freshman Catherine Stinson hoisted up a straight-on three-pointer at the buzzer that hit the back of the iron and popped out.
Revere won 60-58.
The crowd went mad.
The Revere team rushed into frenzy and the whole team jumped into a celebratory pile on the center of the court.
â€œNa na na na, na na na na, hey, hey, good-bye,â€ chanted the crowd as Lynn English strode off the court.
DeCristoforo said here nerves were maxed out by the effort, but she said the game identified things to address in practice.
Most notably the free throw shooting and the lack of focus at the line.
â€œI think Saturday will be much better on free throws,â€ she said. â€œYouâ€™re obviously disappointed missing 25 free throws, but weâ€™ve never done that before. I think it was more of a lack of focus.â€
Revere will tip-off against Lincoln-Sudbury at 7 p.m. this Saturday night.