Sports 01-04-2017

RhS sports Roundup

RHS boys basketball tops Medford, Malden

It was like old times (at least for the old-timers among us) over the school vacation week as the Revere High boys basketball team took on two former rivals from the Greater Boston League in a holiday tournament.

However, in contrast to most of those contests from days gone by, the 2016-17 Patriots conquered both rivals in a pair of thrilling contests to capture the tournament championship.

In the tourney opener last Tuesday, first-year head coach David Leary’s squad edged Medford, 48-45. The Patriots shook off a 14-5 deficit after the first period and applied some defensive pressure over the next eight minutes, limiting Medford to five points, while also upping their own offensive output, to take a 22-20 lead at the intermission.

“Medford started off hot, but we were able to control them in the second quarter with our defense,” said Leary. John DiGregorio came up huge for Revere in the Pats’ second quarter surge, to light up the scoreboard for all nine of his points on the night.

“I’m not sure we would have won the game without John’s energy and scoring off the bench,” noted Leary. “He really got us going.”

The teams battled to a stand-off in the third frame, with the Mustangs holding a 34-33 edge at the end of the period. However, the Patriots bolted quickly to start the final stanza, reeling off seven unanswered points to assert control and grab a 40-34 lead.

Medford battled fiercely to get back into the game, but Revere survived a desperation Mustang three-point attempt that fell short with 2.6 seconds to go to hold onto the win.

The Patriots were led in the scoring department by senior Curtis High, who struck for 18 points. Sophomore guard Marcus Brunson-Perez also reached double-figures with 10 points.

The tourney title game two nights later against the host Malden squad proved even more dramatic, with the Patriots edging the Golden Tornados in overtime, 72-71, in an exciting and action-packed battle.

Malden led for almost the entire game (for 31:17 of the 32:00 of regulation time, to be precise), holding leads at the first three junctures of 12-10, 28-25, and 51-42.

“We really challenged our guys during the break between the third and fourth quarters,” said Leary. “We wanted our guys to be more aggressive getting to the basket and we switched to a man-to-man defense instead of the zone we had been using since the start of the game.”

Senior co-captain Brendan Hayes was given the responsibility of trying to slow down Malden standout Bernard Taylor (22 points) and blanketed the Golden Tornado opponent.

“Brendan did a fantastic job, holding Taylor scoreless in both the fourth quarter and overtime,” noted Leary.

As happened in the Medford win, Revere broke out fast to start the fourth period, striking for a nine-point run that brought the game back to level at 51-51. The Tornados’ Luke LoConte (18 points) responded with a pair of three-pointers to boost Malden back into a six-point advantage, but the Patriots remained undaunted. Revere worked its way back from the deficit and eventually took its first lead of the game, 60-59, with 43 seconds to go when High (another strong effort with 21 points and nine rebounds) made a layup on an inbounds play.

 “Curtis had an off night from his usual standard shooting the ball, but he stayed with it and helped in other ways with rebounds and steals,” said Leary. “I thought Gerald Jean-Charles (18 points) put a lot of pressure on them as well during the comeback by getting to the basket and creating opportunities for his teammates.”

After Revere made two free throws to make it 62-59, Malden guard Lionel Walker (11 points) drained a shot from three-point land with 4.6 seconds left to force the contest into overtime.

The Pats moved out quickly from the opening tap, scoring the first six points of the OT session, and held on for the eventual 72-71 victory (which was not quite as nail-biting as the final one-point margin might indicate given that Malden’s Walker sank a trey as the clock expired).

“We were very proud of the way these kids fought back all night,” said Leary. “We are always preaching about fighting through adversity and staying together as a group and the team did just that.

“We need to do a better job closing out games on the free throw line (Revere was only 22-of-40 from the charity stripe), but we are learning how to win close games, which is key,” added the coach.

Marvin Urdaneta (12 points, six rebounds) and Brunson-Perez (10 points, four steals) also played major roles in the big win.

Leary and his crew, who now stand at 3-2 at the quarter-pole mark of the season, were set to host Peabody last night (Tuesday) and entertain Marblehead Friday evening. Tip-off for those games is at 7:00. They trek to Swampscott this coming Tuesday night.

RHS hockey team hosts Gloucester Sat

The Revere High hockey team returns from its winter break this Saturday evening when coach Joe Ciccarello and his Patriots entertain Northeastern Conference South Division rival Gloucester at Cronin Rink. The opening face-off is set for 5:10.

The Patriots, who won their first two games of the season, but dropped their next two, got back on the winning track with a victory over O’Bryant High of Boston in the consolation game of the East Boston Cancer Tournament last week.

Revere had an easy time of it against an inexperienced O’Bryant team, allowing Ciccarello to use all of his skaters liberally. Among the goal scorers for Revere were Sebastian Bolivar, Jim Pandolfo, and Chris Anderson.

The Patriots previously had dropped a 3-1 decision to Ashland in the tourney opening round. Sophomore defenseman Cam Mazza accounted for the Pats’ lone tally. “We didn’t play all that well,” said Ciccarello of the contest with Ashland, which stood at 5-2 and came into the tourney with a three-game winning streak during which it had outscored its opponents 18-3.

Ashland eventually fell in the tourney title game  by a score of 3-2 to host East Boston, a team that Revere had defeated 5-3 in the season-opener.

After Saturday’s contest with Gloucester, the 3-2 Pats will trek to Salem State College next Wednesday evening for an 8:15 encounter with Swampscott, another NEC South Division foe.

Frozen Fenway on tap for RHS hockey team

The Revere High hockey team will get to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience when they take to the ice at Fenway Park tomorrow (Thursday) for a scrimmage game with Pembroke High.

The contest on the Frozen Fenway playing field is set for an hour time-slot from 3-4 in the afternoon.

“The kids are pretty excited about it,” said RHS head coach Joe Ciccarello. “It should be a lot of fun.”

Three RHS runners score points at NEC Meet

Three members of the Revere High boys and girls indoor track teams earned ribbons at the annual Northeastern Conference Freshman/Sophomore Meet held Saturday in Beverly.

Cristian Acuna was the top finisher for the Patriots, scoring eight points with his second place performance in the 1000 meter run. Cristian’s time of 3:06 was just 0.6 seconds off the winning 3:05.4 pace set by Winthrop’s Cormac MacPhail.

Teammate Jonathan Nushi also came home with a ribbon for his sixth place performance in the mile run. Jonathan crossed the line in a fine time of 5:37.2.

On the girls’ side, the lone point-producer for the Lady Patriots was Ghizlane Guisser, who tied for fifth place in the 600 dash with a clocking of 2:05.62.

“Ghizlane has really taken well to the mid-distance events and has worked hard at practice,” said RHS girls track coach Antonio LaBruna. “The best times are yet to come for her, but it was nice for her to get rewarded as our team’s lone scorer on Saturday.”

The full boys and girls squads are off until January 12, when they will host Lynn English in a dual meet at the RHS Merullo Fieldhouse.

Revere wins Acton Boxborough girls basketball tournament title:Valentina Pepic named MVP; Pamela Gonzalez is All-Tournament

By Cary Shuman

The 2016 Colonials Holiday Classic in the town of Acton provided an excellent opportunity for the Revere High girls basketball team to see how it matched up against three of the strongest Division 1 programs in Massachusetts.

Coach Lianne O’Hara’s Patriots showed they not only belong among the elite, but they may be at the top of the ladder, earning impressive victories over host Acton Boxborough and Lexington, to take home the championship and remain unbeaten.

Led by Tournament MVP Valentina Pepic, All-Tournament selection Pamela Gonzalez, rising sophomore star Emily DiGiulio, and junior guard Tatianna Iacoviello, Revere rolled to a 61-36 victory over Lexington in the championship game Friday night at Acton Boxborough High School.

Pepic led four scorers in double figures with 15 points to go along with seven rebounds. The 6-foot-2-inch junior had 13 points and eight rebounds in a 57-45 win over Acton Boxborough.

Pepic was asked how it felt to be named the MVP and win the tournament versus three likely state-tournament-bound teams.

“I don’t know how I feel about [MVP] but I feel like it was a team effort,” said Pepic. “We held strong all four quarters and we worked hard. I think my rebounding and hustling at both ends of the court were most important in the tournament.”

Gonzalez scored 12 points and added three steals and three assists and the 5-foot-8-inch guard was calm and confident against AB’s defensive pressure.

“It wasn’t just me, it was the team,” said Gonzalez. “I think the team is creating good scoring opportunities. We’ve been passing the ball well and I’ve been getting people the ball when they’re open. Coach O’Hara is helping me a lot and I feel I’ve become a better defensive player because of her coaching.”

DiGiulio, who had 11 points and five steals, keyed Revere’s second-quarter surge at both ends of the court that led to a 32-13 lead over Lexington at the half. Coupled with her 11 points and five assists versus AB in the semifinal, DiGiulio was a strong candidate for MVP and All-Tournament recognition.

Meanwhile Iacoviello was on target from three-point land in the final, hitting three treys and finishing with 11 points after scoring 13 points in the semifinal.

Freshman Erica Cheever (6 points) and seniors Elizabeth Lake (3), Samantha Woodman (2), and Meghan Gotham (1 point, 7 rebounds) also showed the depth of the Revere roster.

Gonzalez scored the first basket of the game and AB answered before Revere responded with a 10-0 run on its way to a 12-5 lead after one period.

DiGiulio was the chief catalyst in the second quarter with a conventional three-point play and a long-range three as Revere took a 32-13 lead at the break.

AB made a run in the third quarter but a three-pointer by Iacoviello, two free throws by Cheever and a three-pointer by Lake allowed Revere to maintain a comfortable 48-30 lead.

Revere held its ground in the fourth period, with the highlight being a top-of-the-key three-pointer off the glass by DiGiulio that made it 56-34 with 3:41 left. Pepic completed the rout with two free throws.

Acton Boxborough coach Tim Bassett and Lexington coach Steve Solly gave the Patriots their due.

“Revere is a good team, probably the best overall team that we’ve faced,” said Bassett. “Defensively we had a game plan to try to limit No. 41 [Pepic] and their guard, No. 3 [Gonzalez] and we did a really good job on them, but their other players made shots down the stretch and that’s what did us in. In the end, I think the more talented basketball team won.”

Solly, whose team lost to Revere in the second round of last year’s State Tournament in Revere, was impressed by the Patriots.

“Revere is very good, a solid team, big and physical and they can beat you from the outside and inside. They were hot shooting the ball tonight. Pepic is tough to stop on the block and [Meghan] Gotham complements her well. And Gonzalez is great in the open court.”

Revere High Girls Hoop Notebook

DiGiulio, Iacoviello excel in AB Tournament

By Cary Shuman

The pre-determined process for selection to the Colonials Classic All-Tournament Team was one player from each of the four teams (Revere, Acton Boxborough, Lexington, and Holy Name of Worcester), along with a Most Valuable Player Award.

Revere’s Valentina Pepic deservedly received the MVP Award while Pamela Gonzalez earned her spot on the All-Tournament Team.

Sophomore guard Emily DiGiulio and junior guard Tatianna Iacoviello also merited strong consideration, but the dynamic backcourt duo fell just shy of the awards.

DiGiulio had back-to-back 11-point games in the tournament but her five assists and eight rebounds versus AB and five steals versus Lexington affirmed her continuing stellar contributions in all phases of the game.

DiGiulio also had a big, top-of-the-key three-pointer that hit off the backboard and fell though the basket. We’re not sure Emily called “glass” on the shot but it counts equally in the scorebook.

Iacoviello scored a total of 24 points in the tournament and the Revere offense is at its best when she is hitting her three-pointers as she did in the championship game. In addition to her 11 points, Iacoviello also had seven assists versus Lexington which means she was directly involved in more than 50 percent of Revere’s points from the floor.

“If we could have had more players on the All-Tournament Team, Emily and Tatianna deserved it easily,” said head coach Lianne O’Hara.


Coach O’Hara said her team played well against  top-flight Division 1 teams. “I’m very encouraged by our effort in winning the tournament. They survived well against good, non-league competition. We still have to work on certain aspects of our game.”

 Freshman Erika Cheever gave Revere a big boost off the bench with six points in the championship game. Cheever was fouled while attempting a three-point shot, thus awarding her three free throws of which she swished two. Cheever has a nice shooting touch. Also helping out off the bench were Elizabeth Lake, Jenna Wells, Kiana Napolitano, and Kayla Novak.

UMass/Lowell and Southern New Hampshire (SNHU) have expressed interest in Pamela Gonzalez.

Coach Lianne O’Hara took it in stride when the Acton Boxborough public address announcer introduced the Revere team first in the championship game, even though Revere was the home team and should have been introduced last. The mere fact that O’Hara reacted instantly to the snub (but chose not to correct the announcer in mid-introduction) shows how very knowledgeable she is about the protocol of the game. But overall tournament officials did a great job running the event and they were very hospitable toward the Revere contingent and its fans who made the trip to Acton Boxborough High School.

Acton Boxborough (consisting of the towns of Acton and Boxborough) has been a Dual County League powerhouse in multiple sports, but interestingly it has never won a girls basketball state championship, which shows how difficult it is to win a state title.

Revere (6-0) was set to play Peabody Tuesday night. The Lady Patriots travel to Marblehead Friday night.


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