Sports 02-23-2011

February 23, 2011
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Perfect ending

Girls basketball team completes 20-0 regular season

But however you say it, the history-making Revere High girls basketball team stands atop the basketball world after completing a perfect regular season with a pair of hard earned victories last week.

The Lady Patriots were 18-0 entering their final week with contests looming against Lynn Classical and Peabody. Although Revere had handled both teams with relative ease in their first meeting, Classical had improved greatly since that time and Peabody was on its home court, which always is a tough place for visiting opponents.

In addition, Tuesday’s encounter with Classical was Senior Night for the six Lady Patriots, Morgan Jenkins, Marissa Parent, Ashley DeFraia, Melissa Adreani, Kat Prince, and Cassandra Zullo, who were playing their last regular season game in an RHS uniform. Although Senior Night festivities are a wonderful event, truth be told they typically are emotion filled and serve as a distraction for the home team.

Indeed, the Lady Patriots turned in their weakest offensive output in a first half this season, and trailed 28-23 as they headed into the locker at the half, a score that nobody among the large crowd in attendance had anticipated.

But the Lady Patriots have demonstrated the hallmark of a true champion many times this season in similar situations: Instead of hitting the panic button, they regroup, dig in, and turn up the pressure on the other team.

Revere answered the bell after the intermission with their patented formula that soon dissolved any thoughts that Classical may have had of an upset. The Lady Patriots delivered their version of shock and awe by a margin of 20-7 over the net eight minutes, much to the delight of the large home crowd.

The Lady Patriots continued the onslaught in the final quarter and Classical was done for, with the scoreboard showing a final tally of 65-51 in favor of Revere.

Northeastern Conference Player of the Year (by acclimation) Morgan Jenkins led the way with 20 points, followed by Gena Restiano with 17 and Marissa Parent with 13.

That brought Revere to 19-0 with only Peabody, a long time rival of the Lady Patriots going back to when both schools were in the Greater Boston League, standing in the way of a perfect season.

With Jenkins under the weather and Peabody playing a box and one on Restiano, Revere was not at its best from the outset. However, they hung tough and never allowed Peabody to achieve the sort of momentum that might have proved fatal to a perfect Lady Patriot season.

With the score at 44-42 in Revere’s favor in the final two minutes, it was Peabody who cracked under the pressure. DeFraia hit a key basket and Caitlyn Caramello sank two clutch free throws to provide some separation. The final outcome of 52-44 in favor of the Lady Patriots showed once again that they know what to do to win the close ones.

“This is an incredible accomplishment that still is sinking in for all of us,” said RHS head coach Diana DeCristoforo. “When you think of all of the ups and downs that come your way throughout the season, and we’ve had our share, you realize how special it is and what an achievement it is to be undefeated.”

The coach and her crew now await the announcement of their opponent in the opening round of the Division I North Sectional. The Lady Patriots will be seeded No. 1 with their 20-0 mark and will enjoy at least one, if not two, home games in the opening rounds of the tourney.

DeCristoforo will keep her charges sharp this week with a pair of scrimmages against Reading and Arlington Catholic and will prepare for the tourney with some scouting of possible foes down the road.

Hockey team falls short in tourney bid

The Revere High hockey team fired on all cylinders Saturday evening to skate away with an 8-3 victory over Salem at Cronin Rink. Dale Paradise got the Patriot party train rolling with a goal at 2:15 of the opening period, assisted by Peter Marino, but a pair of Salem goals temporarily derailed the Revere express.

However, Marino got the Pats back on track at 14:00 (assists to Drew Lauria and Paradise) and the teams skated into the locker room tied at 2-2. Revere then took control almost immediately after the intermission thanks to a lamplighter at 1:11 by Pat Bartol, assisted by Marino and Paradise. A goal by Marino at 7:11 (assists to Bartol and Paradise) and another by Paradise just 12 seconds later (assists to Bartol and Marino) sent Revere full steam ahead to a 5-2 lead.

The Pats continued to build their advantage early in the final frame, with Paradise (sound familiar?) lighting the lamp with an unassisted goal at 1:00 and Dale doing it again at 4:20, assisted by Marino. Joe Corbett completed the Revere rout at 12:35 with an unassisted tally.

Altogether, the line of Paradise, Marino, and Bartol accumulated 16 points on the night with Paradise scoring four goals and assisting on three others. Marino scored twice and had four assists, while Bartol had a goal and two assists.

The big win kept alive Revere’s hopes for qualifying for the state tourney because it left them in the running for a second place finish in the South Division of the Northeastern Conference, a spot that is guaranteed a tourney berth.

The only problem was that the Pats’ final NEC encounter was a makeup with Winthrop, the hottest team in the NEC, which had bombarded Peabody 9-0 the week before and easily handled Beverly, 5-1, Saturday evening in a battle between those teams for first place in the NEC.

Although the Pats gave it their all, they were unable to pull off the kind of magic they needed to reach the tourney, either a tie or a win. The final score at Larsen Rink in Winthrop showed the home team Vikings on the up side of 7-1 decision. Marco Mazzarelli potted the lone Patriot tally with 21 seconds left in the game.

Coach Jim Palumbo and his crew will wrap up their campaign in the Newburyport Bank Classic this week. They were set to play Triton yesterday (Tuesday) and will play in either the championship or consolation round Thursday against either Matignon or Haverhill.

RHS boys hoop team falls short

A few weeks ago, the Revere High boys basketball had completed exactly half of their season and was sitting nicely with a 5-5 record, the first time that a Patriot boys team had been at the .500 mark at the halfway point in 10 years.

But since then, a combination of tough luck and some of the toughest teams in the Northeastern Conference has sent the Patriots to a winless skein that has left them 5-13 on the season.

“It’s been a very frustrating stretch for us,” said RHS head coach Rick Hayes. “We play so well at times, but then we just seem to lose our focus.”

Last Tuesday’s 74-56 loss to Lynn Classical was typical of many of the last eight games for the Patriots. Revere spotted Classical a 14-0 lead to start the game and trailed 25-9 at the first quarter mark before the Pats finally asserted themselves. However, despite playing Classical evenly the rest of the way, and even outscoring them 25-9 in the final frame, the Pats could not overcome the initial deficit.

Greg Cabral led the Pats with a 19 point effort and Sean Quiroz reached double figures with 12 points.

The following night Revere met a Chelsea team whom the Pats had defeated by a 22 point margin earlier in the season in their first encounter. Although Revere played well, the end result was a 57-54 Chelsea victory.

“It was a terrific game by both teams,” said Hayes. “It was up and down all night and went down to the very end.”

Revere had a chance to tie the contest in the final seconds, but a three point shot by Quiroz front rimmed the basket. Trae Weathers led the Pats with 22 points and Quiroz hit for 12.

Friday was Senior Night against Peabody to honor departing seniors Weathers, Cabral, Paul Norton, Frank Colleran, and D.K. Khalieng. The Pats easily had handled Peabody in their first encounter, but this time around Peabody prevailed by a 76-66 margin.

Weathers came through with a tremendous game, pumping in 29 points and pulling down 18 rebounds. Cabral also forwarded a fine effort with 19 points.

Although the Pats will not reach the state tourney, a bright spot for Hayes and his crew is that Weathers is just 30 points shy of the 1000 career point mark. Trae has two games left to do it in the Masconomet Tournament this week. Revere was set to play the host team last night (Tuesday) and will play in either the consolation or final Wednesday against either Malden Catholic or Reading.

If Weathers can reach the 1000 point plateau, he will become only the second RHS boys basketball player to do so, the other being Sal Bottari, who did it in his career in the late 1980s.

Fitzpatrick qualifies for All State Meet

Junior Michael Fitzpatrick took eighth place in the 600 meter run at Friday’s Division 1 State Meet at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center to earn a point and a medal for the RHS track team.

Michael’s time of 1:24.83 also qualified him for a spot in Saturday’s All State Meet. “Fitzy is ranked No. 18 in the state,” noted RHS head coach Jack Mosko.

Other Patriots who competed in the D-1 Meet included sophomore Joey Ritchie, who turned in a nice effort in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, .75 inches, that placed him 11th among the competition and bettered his own RHS record by .50 of an inch.

Brahim Rahzi turned in a personal record time of 2:39.52 in the 1000 to finish in 13th position, while Breny Guzman also ran well in the 300 with a clocking of 38.38.

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