Her Game Is Grand
Pepic brings home her 1,000th career point
By Cary Shuman
The first major snowstorm of the year on Jan. 4 closed schools and wreaked havoc everywhere, but as it turns out, it did Revere High girls basketball star Valentina Pepic a favor: it allowed the senior to score the 1,000th-point of her spectacular career on her home court.
After Saugus officials postponed their Jan. 5 game against Revere due to the snow and frigid temperatures, all eyes were on Pepic and Revere’s next scheduled game against Everett on Jan. 9 at the Roland Merullo Fieldhouse.
Needing nine points to reach 1,000, Pepic delivered to the hometown fans, including her proud parents, the moment they had come to see. The 6-foot-2-inch center made a steal and followed with a left-handed layup and free throw to officially enter the 1,000-point club. Pepic finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds in Revere’s 62-48 victory over the Crimson Tide.
“It worked out perfectly because Valentina really wanted to score those points at home,” said RHS head coach Lianne O’Hara. “Even the setup was great, because she had seven points, got a steal on her own, scored a basket, and got fouled. It was all her. She’s deserving of this honor. She’s definitely worked hard for it and continues to work on her game and improve. She’s really stepped up as a captain as well.”
Pepic was excited about the achievement.
“I’m really grateful and I’m excited and happy I reached it at home,” said Pepic. “I really didn’t know about it at the beginning at the season that it was possible, but Coach O’Hara told me I was close to 1,000 and I said, ‘OK.’’’
As for securing the big point with a steal and left-handed layup, she said, “People were probably predicting that I would be shooting a three rather than me stealing the ball and making a lefty layup, but it was good. But I saw the ball and I said, ‘I’m going to the basket.’’’
Pepic said it was also important to get another victory for the team and continue its momentum toward a possible fourth consecutive Northeastern Conference championship.
“We’re all getting closer and the chemistry is there and we’re all working hard, so things are going really well now,” said Pepic.
Pepic expressed gratitude to her coaches, teammates, friends, and family. “I feel that they’re all a big part of why I got this [1,000 points] – for pushing me all the time and believing in me.”
Revere (5-0, 5-2 overall) has a big showdown this Friday night when it plays Lynn Classical (5-0, 7-1 overall), The game will also feature the frontcourt matchup of Valentina Pepic, who has a scholarship to Niagara, versus 5-foot-10-inch Classical senior Paris Wilkey, who has a scholarship to Franklin Pierce. Interestingly, Wilkey and Pepic scored their 1,000th point on the same night just a few miles apart.
Sophomore guard Erika Cheever also made a big contribution in the win over Everett, netting 15 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. Tatianna Iacoviello had 13 points 9 rebounds and 4 assists while Emily DiGiulio had 4 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Revere defeated Marblehead, 59-34 Friday night. Pepic led all scorers with 23 points. Iacoviello had 17 points. Cheever had eight points.
O’Hara said that Cheever is developing in to a fine all-around player this season. “She forced a lot of jump balls against Everett. She’s becoming a really great defender and rebounder. She is not known for her rebounding, but she had five offensive rebounds against Marblehead.”
Freshman Caroline Stasio continues to draw notice in a starting role. Stasio had 4 points and 4 rebounds in the rout of Marblehead. If there were an All-Freshmen Team in the NEC, Stasio would be a shoo-in.
RhS sports Roundup
RHS HOCKEY TEAM SPLITS TWO CONTESTS
The Revere High hockey team split its two contests this past week, handily defeating East Boston, 8-0 last Wednesday at Cronin Rink, but then dropping a 7-2 decision at Lynn on Saturday.
In the victory over East Boston, Patriot junior Wayne Cintolo scored the hat trick. Mike Goroshko lit the lamp twice and single goals were added by Rob Stoica, Mark Giordano, and Rick Briana.
Three nights later the Patriots fell behind early — 4-0 in the opening period — and never recovered. Revere scored twice in the middle period on goals by Corey Rufo and Goroshko,
“I was disappointed in our play,” said RHS head coach Joe Ciccarello. “Lynn is one of our rivalry teams in our division of the Northeastern Conference, but we were back on our heels all game and never got going.”
The Patriots now stand at 6-4-1 as they enter the second half of the season. Ciccarello and his crew host Everett tonight (Wednesday) at Cronin for a 6:30 face-off and will entertain Swampscott Saturday at 5:10. They will trek to Somerville next Wednesday.
FITZPATRICK WINS AGAIN FOR RHS GIRLS TRACK
Senior captain Hannah Fitzpatrick turned in the best performance of the day for the Revere High girls indoor track & field team with a first-place finish in the 600 meter dash.
Hannah crushed the field, coming across the line in a time of 1:46.9, almost 14 seconds faster than her closest Peabody competitor. Her time also was 17 seconds faster than any recorded in the other meet held that day between Malden and Everett at the Peabody facility.
A number of Fitzpatrick’s teammates also turned in fine efforts to add points to the Revere side of the scoresheet:
Kiana Napolitano – 45Y Dash (6.3)
Yulissa Santana – 2 Mile (16:39)
Stephanie Vu – 300M (51.2)
Olivia Novoselsky – Mile (6:51)
Ghizlane Guisser – 1000M (4:06)
Lynzie Anderson – High Jump (4’6″)
Lynzie Anderson – 45Y Dash (6.4)
Kathy Umanzor – 300M (51.9)
Jessica Vo – 45Y Hurdles (8.1)
The final score showed Peabody claiming the meet by a score of 65-20.
“Our times in the mid-distance and distance events weren’t our fastest as a team in this meet,” said RHS head coach Antonio LaBruna. “Peabody isn’t exactly a fast track, so that was certainly a factor as well.
“Lynzie Anderson has cleared 4′-6″ three meets in a row and is getting closer to making the 4′-8″ jump,” noted LaBruna. “She wants it bad and we’re going to start to incorporate some more plyo work for her so she can clear 4′-8” by season’s end.
“Stephanie Vu (senior captain) has gotten much faster over the past few years,” LaBruna added. “We’ve discussed breaking 50 seconds as a season goal and are hoping to hit that goal at the NEC meet in a few weeks.”
A contingent of Lady Patriots took part in the Division 1 State Relay Meet this Friday at 4:30 at the Reggie Lewis Center. The girls will be running a sprint medley team comprised of Kiana Napolitano, Lynzie Anderson, Ghizlane Guisser, and Hannah Fitzpatrick.
The next dual meet for Revere was set for yesterday (Tuesday) against Gloucester. LaBruna and his crew will host Beverly next Wednesday.
Aldarazy is victor in Peabody meet
Abu Aldarazy was the leading light for the Revere High boys indoor track & field team in last week’s meet at Peabody, capturing first place in the 1000 dash in a clocking of 2:59.2. Aldarazy dominated the race, outdistancing his closest Peabody opponents by 18 seconds. His time also was 14 seconds faster than anybody in the Malden vs. Everett meet which also was held that day at the Peabody facility.
RHS ace hurdler Lucas Barbosa grabbed second place in the 45 yard hurdles in a time of 6.3. Lucas was nosed out by his Peabody rival, who finished with the same official clocking.
Sebastien Altieri earned a point for his third place finish in the 600 dash in 1:41.9, as did teammates Anthony Arias in the 300 dash in 45.0 and Kevin Bardhi in the shot put with a toss of 39′-6″.
The Patriots were scheduled to host Gloucester yesterday (Tuesday) and will entertain Beverly next Wednesday.
RHS boys hoop drops two contests
The Revere High boys basketball team came up on the short end of both of its contests this past week.
Last Tuesday night the Patriots traveled to play the Crimson Tide of Everett. Revere played evenly with the heavily-talented Everett squad early on, with the score standing at 6-6 midway through the first quarter.
However, Everett closed the period with a 13-2 run to grab a 19-8 lead at the first buzzer. The second quarter played out in similar fashion, with the young Patriots defending well, but unable to find their touch on offense.
Although trailing 32-12 at the intermission, the third quarter proved encouraging for Revere, as senior captain Devon Avery (10 points, five rebounds) and junior forward Omar Bendjahene (nine points, three assists) helped lead the way to a 21 point quarter, as the Patriots stood toe-to-toe with a top-10 team in the state.
“We knew going in this was going to be tough, but we told the kids to embrace it and challenge themselves,” said RHS head coach David Leary. “I think that third quarter proved to ourselves the level we can play at as a group. Now we just need to do that more consistently. I was proud of the effort shown on the floor tonight.”
The fourth quarter did not go as well, as Revere’s shooting problems continued, leading to fast breaks for Everett and eventually ending the game with a final score of 80-42.
On Friday night at Revere, the Marblehead Magicians rolled into town. After falling behind 10-2 early on, the Patriots came roaring back with great team work and ball movement on offense and closed the quarter on a 15-2 run to take a 17-12 lead.
Revere faced some adversity early on in the second quarter, as Avery and starting junior point guard Marcus Brunson-Perez (12 points) had to sit with foul trouble.
The Patriots however, rallied around the sharp-shooting of junior guard Scott Montefusco (13 points, including three three-pointers) and junior forward Omar Bendjahene (16 points) to explode offensively and take a 39-34 halftime lead.
The third quarter ended up being the difference in the game as the Magicians began to use their size around the basket, both scoring and on the boards.
Revere fell behind by as many as 16, but closed the deficit to 61-51 behind some nice baskets from sophomore guard E.J. Leone (11 points) heading into the final frame.
However, Marblehead would not allow the Patriots to get much closer than that as they continued to make tough shots in the lane and at the foul line down the stretch to hold on for an 84-68 win.
“We continue to make strides,” said Leary. “We’ve had some good quarters here and there this year, but tonight we played our best half of the season, especially offensively, in the first half.
“We told the kids that if we are going to start winning games, we have to play a full game, not just a half, and it has to be on both ends of the floor,” continued Leary. “They just have to keep working hard and believing in each other and stay positive. There is a lot of basketball left in the season.”
The Patriots play this Friday night at Merullo Fieldhouse against Lynn Classical at 7 p.m. The Revere Middle School team will scrimmage at halftime in front of the home crowd. Leary and his crew then will host Winthrop on Tuesday evening.
Boston is top sports city in USA
By Seth Daniel
As the New England Patriots get ready to host their playoff game in Foxboro, one might think it’s the success of the city’s football team that makes Boston the best sports city in America.
But according to a recent study done by WalletHub, Boston if the #1 large sports city in America not only because of the prolific Patriots and historic Red Sox, but also due to the rabid fan bases for the Bruins, the college hockey teams and the Celtics.
And in a bit of a surprise, pro soccer for men and women scored rather highly as well.
In the highly mathematical study, WalletHub used more than 50 metrics to weight each large city – giving more weight to pro teams over college teams. For example, a good NFL score could get as high as 70 points, while a good college football score could only go as high as 30 points. The study looked at pro and college programs for football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer.
In the study, Boston beat the #2 contender, New York City, and the #3 contender, Los Angeles. The top five were rounded out with Pittsburgh and Chicago.
Boston edged out New York with a total study score of 47.22 to 45.25. However, it was the Patriots or the Red Sox that pumped up the scoring, but rather strong returns for the Celtics and Bruins. It was also noteworthy because, aside from hockey, Boston doesn’t have a lot of interest in college athletics.
“Sports are rarely objective, but that’s what we went for here,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “The methodologies of our reports are created in conjunction with academic experts, using data collected from official sources. It’s hard to argue with numbers, whether they’re performance-based or on fans filling seat.”
One of the key metrics in the study was how many championships, division championships or conference championships any pro or college team has won, and with ‘Title Town’ in full effect, Boston scored well.
“It’s pretty unique that Boston’s sports franchises have claimed at least one championship in almost every major sport within the past decade – namely, hockey, basketball, baseball and football,” Gonzalez said. “This definitely affected the city’s rankings in a positive way. Boston’s 2nd place among the best hockey cities, for example, is due to the outcomes in metrics such as Number of Stanley Cup Wins (ranking 3rd at six won), Number of NHL Division Championship Wins (1st at 25) for NHL, and Number of NCAA (Division 1) Championship Wins (1st at 10) and Number of NCAA (Division 1) Regular Season Championship Wins (1st at 34) for NCAA Division 1, Men’s.”
Another very strong show for Boston sports was in the overall rankings, where the basketball and hockey rankings were both #2 out of all the cities studied. Comparatively, football was at #5, baseball at #6 and soccer at #8.
New York, as a bit of a punch in the gut for any Red Sox fan, scored as the #1 baseball city in the study.
Yet another interesting aspect in the measurements was the engagement of the fans, and after the study, Boston can truly say it has some of the most invested fans in pro sports and college hockey.
For fan engagements, Boston was #3 for pro football, #1 for pro basketball, #2 for pro baseball, #3 for pro hockey, #10 for men’s pro soccer and #8 for women’s pro soccer.