Middle School Girls Hoop Are Undefeated

March 18, 2014
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If you had to choose a song to describe the Revere/Marblehead girls Middle School basketball game on February 3rd it would certainly be Michael Jackson›s classic THRILLER. It was the Lady Pats first visit to Marblehead since the Lady Magicians ended their 47 game winning streak in last seasons final game.

Coach Palermo’s teams have never played well in the Marblehead Middle School gym and this year would be no different. Our girls came in at 7-0, 2 games ahead of the 7-2 (with both losses coming at Revere) Magician squad and the home team was poised for another upset.

Revere got off to it’s typically slow start allowing their opponents to jump out to a quick 6-0 advantage before Alina Giuliano cut the lead in half with a long 3 pointer midway through the quarter. That shot ignited the offense and the good guys led 9-8 after 1 period. The 2nd stanza was an offensive disaster for the Lady Pats as they were outscored 9 to 2 and fell behind 17-11 at the break, the largest deficit that they had faced all season long.

Whatever Coaches Spinney and Palermo said at halftime obviously motivated their troops and the young Pats came out flying in the 3rd quarter scoring 8 points before Marblehead knew what hit them, and by the end of the period Emily DiGiulio (6 points) and Valentina Pepic (4 points) had put their team up by 2 (21-19) heading into the final 8 minutes.

One thing that you can be sure of is that Marblehead will never quit, especially in their house, and they roared back into the lead by scoring  6 quick points. The next few minutes was a true see-saw battle with each team trading hoops. With time winding down the home team scored to go ahead 27-25 with less than 30 seconds left on the clock.

Revere had the ball with a chance to tie it but turned it over and Marblehead looked like a lock to ruin Revere’s perfect season for the second straight year until Emily DiGiulio stole the ball and was fouled as she drove to the hoop and was awarded 2 free throws with 10 seconds left.

You could cut the pressure with a machete as the 7th grader strode to the line needing to make both shots to extend the game. She swished the first, took a deep breath and calmly tied the game by making the second.

With the game tied at 27 the Lady Magicians had 10 seconds to try to win it. As the home team brought the ball up the court Emily D raced back, stole the ball, and headed toward the basket with what could be the winning hoop.

However she got fouled again and headed back to the line with a chance win the game with .3 seconds remaining. This time pressure prevailed and she missed both shots and into overtime we went.

In the OT Coach Palermo›s group clamped down the D and limited Marblehead to just 3 free throws. In the meantime DiGiulio and Pepic scored all 5 of their team’s overtime points between them to secure Revere’s 8th win of the season vs no losses.

Only 4 players scored for the Patriots. Victoria Correia had 2 points, but once again played outstanding defense and Alina Giuliano contributed 5. Valentina Pepic dropped a hard earned 12 as she was double and triple teamed most of the time and Emmy DiGiulio led all scorers with 13 (12 in the second half and overtime). Michael Jackson would have been proud. This was a true Thriller. Revere now stands at 8-0.

On February 6th Gloucester visited SBA and it easily could have been a trap game for our girls after the emotional OT win at Marblehead 3 days earlier. However the well prepared Lady Pats methodically throttled the winless visitors by shutting them out in the first half and cruising to a lopsided win to improve to 9-0.

11 players made the score sheet led by (who else) 6ft Valentina Pepic who had 10. She was closely followed by another 6 footer Jasmina Mujic who scored a career high 8. Gabby Rotondo was next up with a season high 6. Emily DiGiulio added 5 and Taylor Sujko  dropped 4. Jenna Wells and Tatiana Iacoviello went for 3 each, Alina Giuliano and young Erika Cheever finished with 2 apiece and Marina Robinson rounded out the scoring with 1. Revere will travel tomorrow to Lynn to face the much improved Breed Middle School Lady Bulldogs.

The undefeated, first place, Revere Middle School girls boarded the bus for the short trip to Lynn on 2/7 to play the Lady Bulldogs of Breed Middle School. Coach Spinney and Palermo›s team had soundly beaten (41 points) Breed earlier in the season at home and came into the game understandably overconfident. The Lady Pats soon realized that taking their opponent lightly was a mistake as a jacked up Breed team jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead. The Revere offense sputtered early, but Emmy DiGiulio (3 pts) and Valentina Pepic  (2 pts) scored 5 combined points late in the quarter to lead their team to a slim 5-4 lead after 1 quarter. The game turned into a physical contest of traded baskets and the Revere squad knew that they were in an old fashioned dog fight (no pun intended) with the Bulldogs as they only led by 2 (16-14) at the half. The girls from Breed continued to hang tough as the second half began and actually outscored our girls in the 3rd period and held a 21-20 advantage entering the final 8 minutes. The hotly contested play continued into the 4th quarter and the lead changed a few times before Revere finally dug down on the D and on the strength of 10 combined points by DiGiulio and Pepic avoided an upset by pulling out a 30-27 victory to preserve their unblemished record. Only 2 Revere players broke into the scoring column as Valentina Pepic scored a season high 17 and Emily DiGiulio dropped in 13. Coaches Spinney and Palermo praised the entire team for digging down in the face of adversity and gutting out a tough win. The Lady Pats are now 10-0 with a road game looming a Swampscott on Feb. 10.

On a bitterly cold winter day our young Lady Pats traveled to Swampscott to do battle with a much improved Swampscott  group. The Revere 5 came out in their customary stifling pressing defense led by 8th grader Victoria Correia who plays a top speed all the time. She was all over the court creating steals and Swampscott turnovers in the early going. Offensively the good guys played at a steady, but not dominating pace and found themselves up only 10-8 at the end of the first 8 minutes. In the second quarter 8th grader Alina Giuliano took over and paced the Pats by scoring 8 of her team’s 12 points in the session as Revere pulled out to a 22-10 lead at the break. The girls extended their lead in Qtr 3 as 7 different players scored and this allowed Coaches Palermo and Spinney to empty the bench in the last period  and the reserves finished the job and carried the team to a 20 point win. Pepic led all scorers again with 11 points. Giuliano finished with 8. Emmy DiGiulio put up 5  (in limited PT), followed closely by Victoria Correia who got 4. Emily Wykes chipped in with 3 and 4 players, Marina Robinson, Erika Cheever, Taylor Sujko, and Tatiana Iacoviello all went for 2 apiece. The win was Revere’s 11th without a defeat leading into the season finale at home vs arch rival Marblehead on February 12.

The Lady Magicians of Marblehead came into the SBA gymnasium on February 12th with deja vu on their minds intent on ruining Revere’s perfect record for the second consecutive year in the season’s final game. Coach Palermo’s ladies were well aware of their opponent’s intentions and let Marblehead know from the opening tip that history would NOT repeat itself. The Lady Pats scored early and often in period one led by Victoria Correia’s  5 points and Emily DiGiulio’s 2 3pointers as they jumped out to a 17-4 lead after the first 8 minutes. Our gals kept the pedal to the metal in Qtr #2 and led 31-13 at halftime on the way to a 20 point rout, an undefeated season, and the NEC Middle School Championship.

The scoring summary for the season finale was as follows. Team leading scorer Valentina Pepic, Alina Giuliano, and 7th grader Em DiGiulio all hit for double figures with 14,12, and 10 points respectively. Victoria Correia was next up with 7. Jenna Wells had 3 with a loooong 3-pointer, and Emily Wykes and Tatiana Iacoviello dropped in 2 each. Gabriella Rotondo and Marina Robinson closed it out with 1 point each.

The 8th graders, Val Pepic, Alina Giuliano, Jasmina Mujic, Marina Robinson, Emily Wykes, Victoria Correia, and Tatiana Iacoviello that all move on to RHS next year have been well prepared by Coaches Anthony Palermo and Tim Spinney, two of the most knowledgeable and dedicated youth coaches anywhere. Their Middle School and traveling/CYO programs are second to none. All in all this Middle School team dominated and the girls who played for 3 years (6th, 7th, and 8th grades) walk away with a pretty impressive 39-1 record.

Overall the Middle School Hoop program (Boys and Girls) represented themselves and Revere with pride and respect wherever they played both at home and especially when they traveled to other cities. These budding young adults that participated in this Middle School program are young people that everyone in this city can be extremely proud of.

Finally thanks go out to Middle School administrators (Principals and Assistants) for their awesome cooperation throughout the season, and a special shout goes out to Whelan/SBA custodian Bobby Haas for all he did in setting up and breaking down the gym for home games.

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