By Cary Shuman
The Revere High girls basketball team had its quest for a state championship halted by a taller Lincoln-Sudbury team in the Division 1 North quarterfinal round, falling to the Warriors, 51-43, before a large crowd Saturday night at the Roland Merullo Fieldhouse.
It was the first loss of the season for Revere who had reeled off 21 consecutive victories while winning the Northeastern Conference Large championship, earning the No. 1 seed in the North sectional, and defeating Lynn English in the first round of the tournament.
Despite Lincoln-Sudbury’s wide edge on the boards, Revere entered the fourth quarter in a 36-36 deadlock, paced by another superb effort from senior Morgan Jenkins (21 points) and excellent play in the backcourt from senior Marisa Parent (9 points).
A basket by senior Ashley DiFraia gave Revere a 38-36 lead but Lincoln-Sudbury’s Ashley Lutz responded with a three-pointer and the visitors added a basket to take a 41-38 lead. Parent connected for a hoop to close the gap to 41-40 before the Lady Warriors scored four straight points to open up a 45-40 advantage.
Jenkins drove the lane for a three-point play to make it 45-43 with 2:30 left, but that would be the Lady Patriots’ final basket of the contest as the Warriors scored the final six points of the game, four from the free throw line.
Jenkins was a force early on, scoring six points in the first quarter to help Revere take a 10-6 lead. Lincoln-Sudbury went on a 5-0 run before Melissa Adreani’s basket gave Revere a 12-11 lead. However in a game of runs by both teams, Lincoln-Sudbury scored the final basket of the first quarter and continued the surge to take a 19-12 lead.
Sophomore forward Caitlyn Caramello swished two free throws to launch Revere on a 10-0 run. A Jenkins three-point play made it 22-19.
Lincoln-Sudbury scored the first 11 points of the second half to claim a 31-25 edge before a basket and two free throws by Jenkins made it 31-29. Parent’s full court sprint to the basket tied the game at 33-33 before Gena Restiano’s three-pointer allowed Revere to reclaim the lead. Lincoln-Sudbury tied it at 36-36 after three periods and then outscored the Lady Patriots by a 15-7 margin in the fourth quarter to earn the victory.
A key to Lincoln-Sudbury’s success was its non-stop defensive pressure on Restiano, the Lady Patriots’ All-Star point guard and arguably one of the best players on the North Shore. Two defenders constantly swarmed Restiano past midcourt and far beyond the top of the key.
Lincoln-Sudbury coach Liza Feldman said her team focused a lot of its defensive attention on Restiano.
“We told our kids, ‘don’t leave her [Restiano] open – she’s a great shooter; you have to know where she is at all times,’’’ said Feldman. “And I thought the kids did a really good of that, the ones who were guarding her and that was a couple of different kids.”
Feldman felt her team’s edge in the rebounding department was a key to victory.
“I saw Revere play the other night and I felt the No. 1 thing we needed to do to win this game was to outrebound them,” said Feldman. “I would have been really surprised if we outrebounded them and didn’t come out with a win. Part of the plan was to try to take advantage of our height.”
Revere coach Diana DeCristoforo, the Northeastern Conference Coach of the Year, conceded that Lincoln-Sudbury’s edge on the glass was a factor.
“I think we were outsized tonight,” said DeCristoforo. “But I couldn’t be prouder of our three post players. We ran out of steam at the end.”
DeCristoforo hailed the phenomenal season turned in by Jenkins, who is headed to St. Michael’s College on a basketball scholarship. Jenkins will take her rightful place among the elite in RHS basketball annals.
“We’ve asked her to do everything,” said DeCristoforo. “I think I’ve asked her to play every position. She’s really been the glue that has brought a lot of kids together.”
Marisa Parent was all over the court and appeared to be hit unintentionally in the face by a Lincoln-Sudbury player at one point. One game earlier [ a 60-58 win over Lynn English in the first round] Parent had gallantly returned from an ankle injury in the second half to lead the Lady Patriots to a thrilling victory.
“As always Marisa was all over the place – she gets whacked in the face, her ankle injury the other night,” said Diana DeCristoforo. “Nothing was going to keep her out of this game. She would run through a wall for this team. She’s tough as nails.”
In a nice gesture by Revere fans after the game, they waited for the Revere players to emerge from the locker room and then applauded in recognition of one of the most exciting seasons in the athletic program’s history.
The large crowd was respectful and well behaved and Athletic Director Shaun Hart did a great job coordinating both tournament home games. Hart created a state tournament atmosphere and the city came out and supported the team in large numbers.
DeCristoforo praised the seniors [Morgan Jenkins, Marisa Parent, Kat Prince, Melissa Adreani, Cassandra Zullo, and Ashley DiFraia] for their leadership. “They have the preparation to succeed in life because they know how to function as a member of a team.”