It had been six years in coming, but the Revere High boys basketball team put it all together to defeat Lynn Classical 73-66 last Thursday evening at the Merullo Fieldhouse. The triumph marked the first time that a Patriot boys basketball team had defeated Classical since Revere joined the Northeastern Conference six years ago.
“It was a great win for our team and for the boys program,” said a delighted RHS head coach Rick Hayes. “It shows that we can play with anybody in the NEC.”
The contest was a back and forth affair from the start with Revere taking a 42-31 advantage into the locker room at the half. The Patriots were firing on all cylinders on offense.
They initially hit their outside shots (including two three pointers each by Greg Cabral and Sean Quiroz) when Classical played a box and one on Revere’s low post man, Trae Weathers. Then, went Classical went man to man, Revere fed Weathers inside, who in turn feasted on his Classical defenders to the tune of 13 points in the first half.
However, the third quarter appeared to be deja vu all over again for Hayes and his crew, as they began to play tentatively and allowed Classical to seize the momentum. Their 11 point halftime lead turned into a 52-50 deficit at the third buzzer.
The teams then engaged in an all out battle at both ends of the floor to start the final frame, but Revere’s quick as-a-flash Quiroz picked the pocket of a Classical ball handler at mid court and sped in for an uncontested layup to tie the score at 60-60 with four minutes to play.
Sean Q’s nifty move fired up his teammates. After a Patriot defensive stop, Paul Norton drained a three pointer to give Revere its first lead since late in the third quarter, 63-60. Classical responded with a hoop, but B.K. Khalieng drove around a double screen for a key bucket to make it 65-62 with about two minutes to go.
Classical then started fouling the Pats, who made the visiting Rams pay, as Cabral, Norton, and Weathers came through with some clutch shooting from the charity stripe down the stretch. That trio combined to make 10 of 15 free throws in the final period to give the Pats the needed boost in the final period for the victory.
Cabral enjoyed his best night of the season with a game high 27 points, including 11 of 14 from the free throw line. Weathers ended up with 13 points, while Quiroz reached double figures with 10. Norton and Khalieng, who played his best game in an RHS uniform, made nice contributions with eight points each, while Soda Nov and Cris Palladino chipped in with two points each.
Although Frank Colleran did not make the scoresheet, Hayes praised the senior for his fine defensive work and rebounding that proved key in the fourth quarter surge.
The win over Classical was preceded two nights earlier by a 72-56 loss to Beverly, which had lost by 17 points in its prior game to Classical.
To say that Hayes was not pleased with his team’s performance is a bit of an understatement. “We had played so well in our first two games against Salem and English, despite losing both of those games, but then against Beverly we stopped playing as a team. It was more like street ball. It was very disappointing to see them play like that,” said Hayes, who gave his squad a dressing down both after the game and the following day in practice, which obviously paid off in their subsequent performance against Classical.
Weathers led the way against Beverly with 20 points, but hit only eight of 17 from the free throw line. Cabral and Quiroz had 10 each, with Colleran adding seven. Palladino chipped in with six and Nov with three.
The Patriots have the week off, though Hayes will be putting them through their paces with some extra heavy duty workouts. The boys will be back in action on Tuesday, January 4, when they travel to Peabody and then will stay on the road for the long trek to Gloucester on Friday. They will return home on Tuesday, January 11, to host Saugus.