Undefeated Revere girls prep for huge test against Braintree
By Cary Shuman
If you’re a high school basketball fan, there’s only one place to be Saturday afternoon: the Malden Catholic High School gymnasium just a short drive away.
That is the venue where the No. 1-ranked and undefeated Revere High girls basketball team will play Bay State Conference powerhouse Braintree at 5 p.m. in the semifinals of the Comcast Tournament.
Woburn will meet defending Division 1 state champion Bishop Feehan in the other semifinal at 3:30 p.m. It was Woburn and its phenomenal guard, Marissa Gatuso, who ended Revere’s season a year ago in the Division 1 North sectional final, one stop shy of the TD Garden.
Revere, directed by first-year coach Lianne O’Hara, is the talk of the North Shore with a perfect 17-0 record. Braintree, the 2014 and 2015 state champion, is a title contender once again. The Lady Wamps are led by 5 foot-7-inch guard Keelah Dixon, a 1,000-point scorer who is committed to play at Division 1 Colgate University.
It is expected that O’Hara will tab her ace defensive player, 5-foot-8-inch junior Pamela Gonzalez, with the assignment of covering Dixon, niece of former Cambridge and Old Dominion University star Medina Dixon. O’Hara will also look to talented guards Tatiana Iacoviello, known for her long-range shooting accuracy, and Emily DiGiulio, who has emerged as a highly capable two-way player, to help contain Dixon, the Wamps’ leading scorer.
Most Braintree fans will be seeing Revere and its sensational 6-foot-2-inch junior center Valentina Pepic, play for the first time. Pepic is averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game in what has been a superb all-around season for the reigning Northeastern Conference most valuable player.
O’Hara was set to scout Braintree Tuesday for the second time this season.
“I am so excited about our game against Braintree,” said O’Hara. “I can’t wait to see us play some really good competition at the perfect time of year going in to the State Tournament. Our girls are welcoming the challenge and they want to compete and I think they’ll do the best that they can. Hopefully I’ve prepared them enough that they’ll be able to do so.”
O’Hara is hoping that a large contingent of Revere fans will be at the intersectional showdown on Saturday.
“We’re the closest team [to MC], so if we can get a bunch of people, that would be super exciting,” said O’Hara.
Revere was simply overpowering in wins over Lynn English (65-33) and Winthrop (77-22) last week. Pepic had 18 points and 10 rebounds versus Winthrop following a 14-point, 7-rebound effort versus English. Meaghan Gotham had back-to-back strong performances with 10 points and eight rebounds against English and 13 points and 10 rebounds against Winthrop. Gotham, who has been playing very well over the past few weeks, could be the difference maker in the Comcast Tournament.
Pamela Gonzalez had 12 points in the win over Lynn English. Sophomore guard Kiana Napolitano had a season-high nine points, hitting a trio of three-pointers in the Winthrop game.
Freshman guard Erika Cheever, who provided the winning free throws in the victory over Classical, scored 10 points combined in the two wins. Emily DiGiulio had three points, four assists, three steals, and three deflections in the rout of Winthrop. Jenna Wells had 11 points in the two games while Revere’s unsung hero Samantha Woodman continued her solid senior campaign with 6 points and 11 rebounds.
The Revere girls will play Danvers today (Wednesday) at 5:30, followed by the boys’ game at 7 p.m. Revere will honor its seniors during its “Senior Night” ceremony prior to the game against Peabody Thursday at 7 p.m.
Revere School Committee member Dan Maguire, who has been a season-long supporter of the team, will lead a large delegation of city officials who should be in attendance at the Comcast Tournament.
RhS sports Roundup
RHS boys basketball hosts Chelsea tonight
The Merullo Fieldhouse at Revere High will be rockin’ & rollin’ tonight when the RHS boys basketball team hosts Chelsea. Tip-off is set for 7:00.
Although the Patriots and their ancient rival from lower Broadway have not been league opponents for a couple of decades, the schools have renewed their rivalry on the hard-court in a big way in recent years, such that the Chelsea-Revere basketball games have become the number one fan favorite for both Patriot and Red Devil supporters.
Chelsea won the first meeting between the teams earlier this season in mid-January, 57-54, before a capacity crowd at the CHS gym in an epic battle that went down to the wire, with Revere falling just short on a three-point attempt in the final seconds that would have sent the game into overtime.
The contest also has huge significance for Revere because a victory will put them with a 9-8 record, which will put them one game short (3 games left in the regular season) for a berth in the post-season state tournament for the first time in 16 years. Coach David Leary’s squad has been on a mid-season roll, winning five of their last six games to improve to 8-8, including victories this past Friday over Winthrop and Monday over Danvers.
A triumph tonight over Chelsea will provide Revere with the crucial 9th victory and one more chance to punch their ticket for a journey to the tourney. The boys head to Peabody on Thursday evening.
RHS boys track team defeats Swampscott
The Revere High boys indoor track team captured six of the nine individual events, as well as the 4 x 400 relay, to defeat Swampscott, 49-37, last week at the Merullo Fieldhouse.
The first-place finishers for the Patriots were: David Sinatra (who followed up his Northeastern Conference championship the week before) with a time of 7.0 seconds; Gabriel Felix-Martinez in the shot-put with a throw of 40’-11”; Jonathan Hysenaj in the 50 dash in a clocking of 6.0; Wesley Zambrano in the 300 dash with a sprint of 41.3; Zach Gentile in the 600 in 1:34.2; and Sebastian Mejia in the two-mile in 11:26, handily defeating his nearest rival by 36 seconds.
Yussuf Buda, Arthur LaCerda, Andy Em, and Colby Everton earned three points for the Revere side of the scoresheet with second-place finishes. Yussuf took second in the 300 dash in a time of 42.0; Arthur finished runner-up in the mile in 5:25.2; Andy was second in the hurdles in 7.4; and Colby grabbed a second-spot medal in the 1000 in 2:58.2.
Two Patriots finished in third place to post single points onto the Revere score, Edi Mujan with a high jump of 5’-8” and Cody Jeglinski with a shot-put throw of 39’-10”.
The Revere 4 x 400 quartet came a across the line with a final time of 4:01, three seconds ahead of their Swampscott counterparts.
The victory gave the Patriots a winning record in the NEC North with a 3-2 mark, good for third place in the division, and an overall record of 4-3 for the 2016-2017 campaign.
Fitzpatrick leads girls in sweep of the mile
Although the Revere High girls indoor track team came out on the short end of a 57-29 decision to Swampscott last week, a highlight of the meet for the Lady Patriots was a sweep in the one-mile event.
Revere’s ace trackster, junior Hannah Fitzpatrick, led the Lady Patriot 1-2-3 finish with a time of 5:55.9. She was followed by teammates Monica Posada in 6:36.5 and Ghizlane Guisser, who made her debut in the mile event and ran a 6:37.2.
“Ghiz’ has had a great rookie season and has helped us in all of the mid-distance events, running the 400M, 600M, and 1000M,” said RHS head coach Antonio LaBruna., “I wanted to have her run the mile to see how her endurance would hold up and we talked about breaking 6:40, which she did, so we have a lot to build on for next season.”
Revere girls who scored three points for the Lady Patriot cause with second-place performances were: Claritza Vasquez with a high jump of 4’-6” (Claritza also grabbed a third place in the 50 dash in 7.3); Rachel Shanbar with a shot-put toss of 30’-4”; Helen Perez in the 600 in 2:01.2; and Olivia Novoselsky with a two-mile run of 15:39.
“Olivia ran a great race and showed a lot of toughness,” said LaBruna of Novoselsky, who surpassed her previous personal record by 40 seconds, “She was passed twice in the final three laps, but both times she answered by passing right back and holding on for second.”
Third place points were added by Azra Lakacha in the high jump with a leap of 4’-4” and Estefania Velasquez in the hurdles in 8.9.
The Lady Patriot 4 x 400 relay quartet (comprised of Claritza Vasquez, Hannah Fitzpatrick, Estefania Velasquez, and Monica Posada) concluded the meet — and ended the team’s season on a high note — by defeating their Swampscott counterparts by a wide margin. The Revere girls’ finished in a time of 4:49.7 compared to Swampcott’s 5:03.8.
The Revere squad, which finished the season with a 2-5 overall record, will have two Lady Patriots competing in Friday’s Division 2 State Meet. Rachel Shanbar will represent Revere in the shot-put and Hannah Fitzpatrick will wear the Revere colors in the 1000.
RHS hockey team’s tourney hopes alive
The Revere High hockey team held onto its chances for qualifying for the post-season state tournament with a split of its two games this past week.
Last Wednesday the Patriots took the measure of Hamilton-Wenham with a 5-1 victory. After battling to a 1-1 deadlock in the first period, the Patriots scored two goals in each of the next two periods to skate away with the triumph.
Mike Giordano scored two goals for Revere. Teammates Jim Pandolfo, brother Marc Giordano, and Anthony Cecca also reached the back of the H-W net.
“It was nice to get back on the winning track,” said RHS head coach Joe Ciccarello, whose squad had been without a “W” in its previous four games.
Three nights later the Patriots were back home at Cronin Rink to host Saugus in a contest that was highlighted by Senior Night festivities.
“Saugus as always is a strong team, but we usually play with a lot of emotion on Senior Night,” said Ciccarello, “and our game with Saugus was no exception. We did a good job matching up against them and although we lost, the entire team turned in a strong effort for all three periods.”
The Patriots fell behind early, 2-0, but a goal by Pandolfo near the end of the first period gave Revere a big lift at the first intermission. Although Saugus scored to start the middle stanza to make it 3-1, the Patriots battled back to bring the game to level by the second horn on lamplighters by Mike Giordano and Mike Goroshko.
The contest stood tied at 3-3 through most of the final 15 minutes until Saugus pulled ahead with about 4:00 to play. The Patriots pulled goalie Ken Uminski in favor of a sixth skater in the final minutes, but Saugus found the empty net to make it 5-3.
However, the Patriots remained undeterred and Ciccarello once again pulled Uminski, this time with success, as Goroshko lit the lamp with 45 seconds to play.
Revere continued to skate with a man-advantage in the final ticks of the clock and applied strong pressure, but was unable to put home the tying tally.
“You are never happy with a loss, but the team gave 100 percent right to the end,” noted Ciccarello. “We played as well as we could.”
Ciccarello and his crew now stand at 6-9-1 on the season with four games to play and will need to capture seven of those eight points in order to punch a ticket for a Journey to the Tourney.
The Patriots play at Medford tonight (Wednesday) in a so-called exclusion game (it does not count toward the tourney) and then will make the long trek to West Springfield to take on Minnechaug Regional Friday evening. The Patriots will stay overnight, but then will be back on the ice Saturday night at Everett before returning back to Cronin to host Gloucester Tuesday at 4:30 in a make-up encounter.
The season finale is set for next Friday at Cronin against Lexington.
RHS sports Through the Years
10 years ago
February 14, 2007
Despite a 6-2 loss to Gloucester before 2000 fans on the Fishermen’s home ice, the RHS hockey team remains atop the Northeastern Conference with a 10-1-2 record, two points ahead of Gloucester. Chris Mastropietro and Jay Sasso scored the goals for the Patriots. In a 7-2 trouncing of Winthrop, Anthony DelloIacono scored the hat trick and Anthony Morico scored two goals for Revere. Brandon Pezzutto and freshman George Weiner also scored for coach Jim Palumbo’s Patriots.
20 years ago
February 19, 1997
John Burke won the high jump with the best leap of the season in the GBL, 6’-0”, to lead the RHS boys track team to a 52-33 win over Medford and thus clinch a share of the GBL crown with Cambridge with a 7-1 record.
RHS star hockey player Dave Patch, who has surpassed the 200-point career scoring total, presently is in second place in scoring in the GBL.
The RHS girls basketball team kept alive its hopes for qualifying for the post-season state tournament with a stunning 58-50 win over Peabody, the first win over a Peabody team for the Lady Patriots since 1988. Lauren Fisher scored 25 points and Kristen Mucci added 11. Both girls have been named to the GBL all-star team.
The RHS girls gymnastics team captured its first-ever GBL title with a 119.54-91.7 win over Malden. Renee Barzykowski, Meredith Sclafani, Jamie Pinto, and Marla Misci led the way for the coach Ann Montani’s Lady Patriots team.
30 years ago
February 18, 1987
The RHS girls basketball team improved to 17-2 overall and 11-1 in the GBL with a 55-47 conquest of previously-undefeated Peabody, thus all but ensuring that Revere will share the GBL title with the Lady Tanners. The defeat was the first loss in the GBL in five years for Peabody and only Peabody’s second in 10 years. In a 64-57 win over Everett a few days later, Diana Odoardi set a new RHS girls’ record for points in a game with 28. Teammate Kim Kelley added 21.
Revere’s Rich Casoli won the Class B. State title in the 50 yard dash with a time of 5.71 seconds this past week.
Sal Bottari set a new single-game scoring mark for the RHS boys basketball team, pouring in 41 points, but the Patriots dropped a 72-71 decision to Everett.
40 years ago
February 16, 1977
The RHS hockey team clinched a berth in the state tourney with a 3-1 win this week. Bobby Troisi made 29 saves in goal for the Pats. Eddie Perullo, Chip Bulmer, and Steve Annese scored the Revere goals.
60 years ago
February 14, 1957
The Immaculate Conception High basketball team defeated Don Bosco, 41-38, to clinch the Catholic League championship for a third straight season. Joe Morgan, who led all scorers with 15 points, swished a basket with 90 seconds to play to clinch the win for Immaculate. John Kelleher added 13 points and Joe O’Sullivan hit for seven. IC finished the season with a 12-1 record in league play and now awaits word of its opponent in the post-season tournament.