The Winthrop High boys basketball team served notice on its Division 4 opponents for the upcoming state tournament that it will be a team to be reckoned with after pulling out a pair of hard fought victories over NEC rival Beverly and non league foe Lynn Tech.
What was significant about the victories was that Winthrop put them into the â€œWâ€ column by playing a combination of tough defense and clutch offense in the waning minutes of close encounters.
â€œThese are the kinds of games that we were losing earlier in the season,â€ said WHS head coach Dave Brown.â€But this team has matured incredibly over the past two months and now knows what it takes to win.â€
A 68-64 triumph over a Beverly team that needed a victory to reach the state tourney saw Winthrop turn a 14-12 deficit after one quarter into a 34-24 advantage at the half. However, Beverly put on a run after the intermission and made it a nip and tuck affair the rest of the way.
The deciding buckets came from the shooting hands of Vikings Michael Griffin and Taj Generazzo, who took turns draining treys in the final minute that proved the difference. Winthrop received what has become standard double-doubles from Quinton Dale (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Anthony Hatzisavas (13 points, 10 rebounds).
Griffin ended up with 17 points, Generazzo hit for double figures with 10, and J.P. Doherty and Joe Dâ€™Amore chipped in five apiece.
A 75-66 triumph over Lynn Tech, the champion of the Small Division of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference, once again saw Winthrop battle evenly with its opponent for most of the game, but take charge in the final part of the contest.
Hatziâ€™ turned in a monster effort with 23 points and 17 rebounds. Griffin tossed in 22 points and Dale contributed a nifty 18. Generazzo added seven and Dâ€™Amore put in five.
The Vikings thus concluded their regular season with a 14-6 overall record (10-6 in the NEC), though they still have a game to play tonight against Malden. That contest and an earlier win over Malden are so-called exclusionary games from consideration for seeding in the MIAA state tourney.
â€œWe had lost eight seniors from last yearâ€™s team,â€ said Brown, â€œso we knew we had a lot of question marks. But this team has worked hard and is executing well on both defense and offense, especially when the game is on the line.â€
The MIAA is expected to announce the seedings and pairings for the D-4 North Sectional on Friday.