The delayed — but highly-anticipated — 2021 winter sports season gets underway this coming week for Revere High sports teams.
Although the pandemic has altered the high school sports scene along with everything else in life, the Patriot hockey, basketball, and swimming athletes will have the opportunity to participate in a shortened winter season against their Greater Boston League (GBL) opponents.
The possibility of even having a season seemed bleak up until just recently because of the continued high positivity rate for COVID-19 in Revere and the communities that compete in the GBL. However, all of the GBL schools, with the exception of Chelsea, have received the go-ahead to play and the coaches and players are eager to get their season underway.
Seniors Will Lead the Way for Boys Hoop
“The Revere High School boys basketball program is excited to be back!” proclaimed boys’ head coach David Leary.
“We are both enthusiastic and grateful for the opportunity,” said Leary. “The coaches are excited, the kids are excited, and we think the community is excited. We are very thankful to Mayor Arrigo, Dr. Kelly, Dr. Perella, the RTA and the Revere School Committee for giving us this opportunity. We will follow the guidelines, compete hard, and make our city proud.”
The heavily-senior edition of the 2021 Patriots (14 of the 15 players are seniors) will feature a lot of experience, returning eight players from last year’s team that finished their season with a six-game winning streak to qualify for the state tournament.
The Patriots were eliminated from the tourney at Waltham in late February and no doubt never imagined what was about to come world-wide when they had their final meeting to return uniforms.
“The past 12 months have been filled with team Zoom meetings and trying to stay positive as a group until the news came that a season was possible,” said Leary. “Although there will be no state tournament bid to compete for this year, we are solely focused on how we will stand up to our talented GBL foes (Malden, Medford, Somerville, Everett, Chelsea, Lynn Classical, and Lynn English).”
The Patriots will be led by co-captains Calvin Boudreau and Dillan Day.
“Calvin will be a point forward for the team, as his experience in big games, his toughness, and rebounding ability will be crucial to the team’s success,” said Leary of Boudreau, a great leader on the court as well as on the football field, where he is a four-year starting quarterback.
Day, a GBL All-star last year, is a four-year varsity player and three-year starter.
“Dilllan will certainly make his presence felt on both ends of the floor,” noted Leary. “He is a very versatile player who can score in multiple ways and is an excellent rebounder for his size.”
Crisrael Lithgow, a shooting guard and also a returning GBL All-star, will be back as a two- year starter. Cris led the team in scoring, steals, and three-point shooting a season ago and will help provide an offensive punch as well as be a pest on defense.
Junior guard James Clauto adds great athleticism to the team and will also be leaned on to be a scorer and a defensive stopper. Senior guards Richard DiMarzo, Jafar Barry, Nathan Ramos, Marco Cerbone. and Jack D’Ambrosio can all shoot it from three-point range and will be contributing factors to the Patriots’ success.
“The balance and depth on this team might be its biggest strength and there are plenty of senior forwards to provide toughness, rebounding, and shooting that the team needs,” said Leary.
Forwards Steven Leone and Randy Urdaneta can play multiple positions defensively and knock down open shots, while forwards Jarrod Natola, Louis Cardozza, Zach Bowden, and Volnaire Don will add toughness, solid defense, and rebounding.
“The team is optimistic that we can get off to a good start, despite only being in the gym for a brief time,” said Leary. “We are expecting the seniors’ experience to be a big factor.”
Leary also expressed how happy the coaching staff is for the senior players.
“These seniors have been through so much together these past four years and especially this past year, we are just ecstatic as a staff that we get to be around them and work with them one last time and continue to build memories,” said Leary. “We can see their smiles through the masks. They are just happy to be going back to school, getting to play the game they love, and representing their city one last time.”
Revere will be hosting the Rams from Lynn Classical on Friday night at 6 p.m. in their season-opener — without spectators. The Patriots then travel to Everett next Monday for a 6 p.m. road game before coming back home on Wednesday to face the defending Division 1 State Champion Lynn English Bulldogs at 6 p.m.
All home games will be streamed live on RevereTV.
Four Captains Will Lead RHS Girls Team
“It’s certainly a different environment,” said RHS girls head coach Matt Willis, “but the kids have worked so hard to begin the season and they’re having a lot of fun. You can tell how excited they are to be back playing sports.”
The 2021 Patriots will be led by a quartet of captains, seniors Lynzie Anderson, Erika Anderson, and Alana Nelson, and junior Skyla DeSimone.
Other senior members of the squad are Nina Cassinello, Isabella Cuartas-Lopera, Frankie DeAngelais, Gianna Losano, and newcomer Alexis Iacoviello. They will be joined by junior Carolina Bettero (who is an All-New England soccer player) and who has been playing very well thus far, according to Willis.
In addition, there are three freshmen, Bella Stamatopolous, Haley Belloise, and Lamees Al Asaad, who have made the jump to the varsity from last year’s championship middle school team and who have been impressive thus far in the pre-season.
Willis and his crew open their 2021 campaign Friday against Lynn Classical. They will face Everett on Monday and Lynn English next Wednesday.
Hockey Team Looks Forward to Season
The Revere High hockey team, which now is a co-op program with Malden and Matignon, opens its season this Sunday with a contest against Lynn, which is a combination of Lynn Classical and Lynn English.
“We’re very excited to be able to play hockey,” said veteran RHS head coach Joe Ciccarello. “When the kids happily were getting dressed for practice in the parking lot in 20-degree weather, it made you realize how much they enjoy playing the game.”
Ciccarello greeted his largest group of players in recent years, with 27 boys turning out for the 2021 season. The team will be led by a trio of senior captains, Dylan Griffith, Nick Fabrizio, and Nick Summers.
“One of our most important goals is to give everybody a chance to play,” said Ciccarello, “so we’ve been trying to schedule junior varsity games with the other GBL schools.”
Ironically, the Patriots have not had the use of Cronin Rink, which already had its time slots filled for the spring. The Revere squad has been practicing at Allied Veterans Rink in Everett, which also will be the venue for its home games.
“The team is enthusiastic and is working hard,” said Ciccarello. “We’re just happy to have a season, especially for the seniors.”
After Sunday’s opener with Lynn, the Patriots will meet Everett next Thursday.
The 2021 campaign will consist of eight regular-season games — two each against the other four GBL opponents (Medford, Everett, Lynn, and Somerville) — with a post-season playoff schedule to be determined after the season concludes on April 13.
RHS Swimmers Back in the Pool on Monday
The 2021 swimming season — which will be conducted virtually — gets underway this Monday, March 15, when coach Chris Hill and his Revere High swimmers will take on Malden.
The season will consist of four more meets against GBL rivals Lynn English, Lynn Classical, Somerville, and Medford, with the last meet set for April 5.
“The team is really excited about having a season — and grateful,” said Hill. “These kids have missed out on so much in the last year, they are just over the moon to have something normal like swim team.
“All of our meets will be virtual,” Hill continued. “The plan is that most of the meets will happen at the same time, or at least on the same day. Medford had a schedule conflict so they will swim the day after we do.”
The Patriots will be led by a quartet of captains, Alexandra Burke, David DelRio, Reked Caushaj, and Isabella Veraldiall. All four are seniors and are the only seniors on the team. All four have been on the team for four years, and Alex, David, and Reked were captains in 2020.
The New-Look GBL Resurrects Old Rivalries
Revere will be competing in the newly-reorganized Greater Boston League, which will be a mix of new and old schools from that venerable conference.
When long-time GBL members Somerville, Everett, Malden, and Medford decided to end their three-year relationship with the Northeastern Conference, Revere — which was one of the original members of the GBL (dating back to the 1950s, but which joined the Northeastern Conference in 2005) — also jumped the NEC ship.
Shortly thereafter, both Lynn Classical and Lynn English decided to forsake the NEC, the league to which both of those schools had belonged since 1970.
Chelsea, an original GBL school from the ‘50s, also will figure into the mix. The Red Devils have been a member of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference since about 1990, but are playing an independent schedule this year and are slated to rejoin the GBL next year (except in football).
However, Chelsea will play a predominantly-GBL schedule this season if the Chelsea School Committee gives the athletic program the green light to compete.
The end result is a vibrant Greater Boston League of eight schools that share a commonality in many respects, particularly geography (there’ll no more of those long bus rides on school nights to Gloucester!), as well as rivalries that transcend the generations.
For the 2021 basketball season, the GBL has created a seven-game regular season to be followed by a three-game playoff system. Hockey also will feature a championship playoff after its eight-game regular season.