Sports 12-22-2011

Hoopmen win two, improve to 3-0

The Winthrop High boys basketball team defeated both of their opponents this past week to improve to 3-0 on the season The contests were a study in contrasts, as the Vikings handily dispatched Gloucester on Friday, 65-35, but then barely edged Marblehead Tuesday, 48-46.

The easy victory over the Fishermen made for a festive bus ride on the long trek home for Coach Dave Brown and crew. After a tight first quarter that saw Winthrop grab a slim 15-14 lead, the Vikings clamped down on defense in the second frame, limiting Gloucester to just two points to move out to a 30-16 bulge.

Winthrop continued its tough defensive play after the intermission, holding the Fishermen to just five points and widening the gap to 50-21 after three stanzas to essentially put the game away.

Josh Babb was a model of consistency for the Vikings in the scoring department, tingling the twine for 10 points in each half for a game high 20 points. Quinton Dale was next on the point parade with 16 points, while also pulling down 13 rebounds. Joe D’Amore made the most of his 16 minutes of action, hitting for 13 points, while Ervin DeJesus made a nice contribution with seven points.

Dale was the hero of the Marblehead win, draining the game winning hoop with a jumper from foul line range with two seconds to go. Jeff Laguerre found Dale at the top of the key as time ran down, from where Quinton put the ball on the floor,  took two steps toward the hoop, and let go his shot with a Marblehead player in his face.

However, WHS head coach Dave Brown was not overly pleased with his team’s performance. “The game was a lot closer than it should have been. We did not play our best,” said the coach, who noted that his Vikings committed in the range of about 30 turnovers. “But somehow we found a way to win.”

Dale forwarded his third double-double of the season with a game high 20 points and 13 rebounds. Babb reached double figures with 12, D’Amore added eight, and Joe Levesque chipped in with six.

Brown and his crew host Danvers tomorrow evening (Friday) and then will host a Christmas tournament next week in which Malden, Bedford, and Wakefield will be the other participants.

Two exciting wins for girls hoop team

The Winthrop High girls basketball team pulled out a pair of exciting victories this past week, edging Gloucester in the final seconds on Friday and then nipping Marblehead on Tuesday.

Sophomore Theresa Jones scored the winning basket against Gloucester with less than two seconds to play to give the Lady Vikings a thrilling 47-46 triumph before a delighted home crowd. Winthrop trailed 47-46 and inbounded the ball under their ow basket with about 10 seconds to go. Sophomore Ashelyne Babb then took off downcourt and drove to the basket, drawing the Gloucester defense. Ashelyne then dished off a pass to Jones, who was perfectly positioned underneath the hoop, for the winning shot.

The nice connection between the duo capped a fine night of work for both, with Babb leading Winthrop with 12 points and Jones reaching double figures with 10. Temison Meggison and Angie Favaloro each hit for seven points, while freshman Kristen Siscamanis and Taylor Duplin added four apiece. Liana Ferullo chipped in with three points.

Winthrop trailed 15-8 at the end of the first period and 24-16 at the half, but came back after the intermission to even the count at 30-30 after three frames in which the Lady Vikings held the Lady Fishermen to just six points.

“That third period was a key for us,” said WHS head coach Ignacio Oyola. “We picked up the tempo on offense and played tougher on defense.”

Tuesday’s win over the visiting Lady Magicians was also a close encounter, though not quite as dramatic as the previous contest. Winthrop grabbed an early 11-6 advantage over Marblehead after the first quarter, but could not pull away, with the visitors making it a 24-23 affair after three frames.

The game down to Babb at the free throw line for Winthrop in the waning seconds, with Ashelyne sinking both of her attempts with about 10 seconds to play to put the game on ice.

Meggison turned in her strongest performance of the season with a nifty double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds. Favaloro hit for eight points, Duplin added five, Babb had six, and Siscamanis and Jones chipped in four each. Ferullo drained a key three pointer in the final period.

“We’re doing a lot of good things, but we still have a lot to work on,” said Oyola, whose squad has missing the presence of Alyssa Mackey, who still is day to day recovering from a mild concussion.

Oyola and his crew, who now stand at 2-1 on the season, will play Danvers (today) Thursday at Endicott College. (The Danvers gym is being renovated..)  The Lady Vikings will take on Georgetown in an away-and-home series Tuesday and Thursday and then meet Wayland next Friday.

Saugus rallies to tie Viking skaters

The old adage that a tie is like kissing your sister prove more true than Saturday night for the Winthrop High hockey team in its contest with Saugus at Larsen Rink.

Saugus came into the game rated as one of the top teams in the Northeastern Conference by No. Shore prognosticators, but for the first 44:10, the Vikings controlled the action, giving strong evidence that Dale Dunbar and his crew will be more than capable of defending their NEC crown, as Winthrop held what seemed to be a solid 3-1 lead as the clock wound down to the final minute of play.

However, Saugus pulled its goalie twice in those last 50 seconds and by now you’ve probably guessed that the visiting Sachems took full advantage of the man advantage situations to light the lamp twice and leave Larsen with an improbable 3-3 tie.

“We had a couple of breakdowns and it cost us,” said Dunbar. “We practice these sorts of situations, but we simply did not execute what we had to do. But give Saugus credit, because they never gave up.”

Winthrop notched single goals in each of the three periods, with Danny Eruzione scoring in the opening frame and Chris LeBlanc potting markers in the second and third stanzas, including a short handed goal in which he stripped the Saugus defenseman of the puck, skated in on the Sachem net, and let go a blast that cleanly beat the Saugus netminder.

Linemates Eruzione and Drayton Chastain earned assists on LeBlanc’s second goal. LeBlanc assisted on Eruzione’s marker and Jimmy Barker was credited with an assist on LeBlanc’s first lamplighter.

The Vikings opened the season a few nights before on Wednesday at Danvers and came out on the short end of a 3-2 decision. Once again Winthrop was in a position to win or tie the game, but a Danvers goal with about five minutes to play proved the difference.

Eruzione had the distinction of scoring the first goal of the 2011-12 season on a power play in the first period and lit the lam again in the second frame. LeBlanc had two assists and Adam Lundberg had one assist.

“The first week was a bit frustrating because we easily could be 2-0-0 instead of 0-1-1,” said Dunbar. “We have a lot of young players who are learning their positions and it simply will be a matter of time for them to gain the necessary experience for us to gel as a team.”

The coach lauded the work of freshman netminder Ray Feeley who saw his first varsity action in both games, as well as LeBlanc, who had a hand in all five of the Winthrop goals in the two contests.

“Ray gave us a chance to win both games, and that is all you can ask of your goalie,” said the coach.  “Chris LeBlanc is playing superbly,” added Dunbar of his senior captain, who already has established himself as one of the premier skaters in the NEC and a top candidate for Player of the Year honors.

Dunbar and his crew were back in action last night (Wednesday) against Peabody at which the Vikings will raise their 2011 NEC North championship banner. Many alumni were expected to be on hand for what promised to be a festive evening.

The Vikings then will play in the Walpole Christmas Tournament starting Monday.

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