The Revere High girls basketball team defeated two of three opponents this past week to raise their record to 13-4 on the season.
The Lady Patriots opened the week with a 56-22 thumping of former long time Greater Boston League rival Malden. Revere led from the opening tap and enjoyed leads of 19-8 at the end of the first period and 37-13 at the half en route to the runaway triumph, allowing RHS head coach Diana DeCristoforo to use her reserves liberally for some significant playing time.
Morgan Jenkins topped the scoring column with 15 points, followed by Julie Lu with nine, Gena Restiano with eight, Melissa Adreani with seven, Ashley DeFraia with six, Caitlyn Caramello and Denisse Batista with four each, Michaela Maguire with two, and Nicole Kjersgard with one.
Although Salem proved a somewhat tougher opponent the following night, turning a 14-9 Revere lead at the end of the first frame into a 22-17 advantage at the half, the Lady Patriots returned to the floor with fire in their eyes and turned matters around in the third period.
“I was not happy with the way we played in the first half against Salem,” DeCristoforo said in a bit of an understatement. “We simply were not playing with the intensity that we need to sustain in every game and I let the team know it at the half. Every game starts at 0-0 and you need to prove yourself each night you take the floor.”
The lone exception to the lethargic half for the Lady Pats was senior captain Kjersgard, who hit for 10 of her 16 points in the first 16 minutes to keep Revere within striking range.
As they have done so many times this season, the Revere girls came out of the locker room and applied intense defensive pressure to start the second half. By the time the third buzzer sounded, the Lady Pats had regained the momentum and were back in control, 38-30, from where they went on for a 58-38 victory.
Jenkins once again led the way in the scoring department with 18 points. After Kjersgard’s 16, the score sheet showed Caramello and Marisa Parent with seven apiece and Restiano and DeFraia with four points each.
Friday brought the long awaited rematch with undefeated Lynn English, a team which easily handled the Lady Patriots earlier in the season. The Lady Bulldogs long have been known for their physical style of play, but this year have parlayed that with some talent to reach the top of the Northeastern Conference.
“We were ready for them this time,” said DeCristoforo. “We knew what to expect and we were prepared to take them on.”
Indeed, the upset of the season in the NEC appeared in the making as the Lady Patriots took it to English through the first two quarters, building a 15-9 first period lead into a 36-25 advantage at the half. Although the Lady Bulldogs cut the gap to 46-39 after three frames, Revere still appeared to be in prime position to knock English from the unbeaten ranks.
However, English came out firing on all cylinders to start the final period. The girls from across the Gen. Edwards Bridge poured in 29 points in the final eight minutes thanks to some aggressive defense, a few lapses by Revere, and some close calls by the refs that went their way.
“Despite the final outcome, I could not be more proud of my team,” said DeCristoforo. “They did everything I asked them to do and they left everything out on the floor. We didn’t back down from English and we gave it our best shot. But English has some great players and you have to give them credit for coming back the way they did.”
Jenkins turned in an all-star caliber performance with 22 points. Parent reached double figures with 10, followed by Kjersgard with eight, DeFraia with six, and freshmen Caramello and Restiano with four each.
“This really had the feel of a tournament game, so it was a great learning experience for our team,” said DeCristoforo. “It was good for us to play against an opponent with that kind of atmosphere and intensity.”
With their tickets for the Journey to the Tourney well in hand, the Lady Patriots now will seek to wrap up their season with the goal of finishing with as a high a seed as possible to ensure at least one, if not two, home games in the tourney. DeCristoforo and crew played at Beverly last night (Tuesday) and will play at Lynn Classical Friday. Next Tuesday will be senior night in the season finale at 7:00 at home against Peabody.
All three contests will come against quality opponents and should further prepare the Lady Pats to be battle tested for the post season.
LADY PATRIOT NOTES
Although the big focus of attention has been on the varsity team and its stellar play, the Lady Patriot JV and freshman teams also have been enjoying outstanding seasons under JV coach Amy Chamberlin and frosh coach Stephanie Gaeta.
“As the varsity coach, it’s a great thing to know that the future of the program is in good hands with coaches as talented as Amy and Stephanie,” said DeCristoforo.
Another little known fact about the Lady Pats is that their team grade point average is in the 4.0 range with 4.0 being an “A.”
“I’m awestruck at how the girls manage to get it all done,” said their coach. “They play a varsity sport, take AP courses, and also participate in student government. They’re an amazing group of kids.”