Joe Levesque sank two clutch free throws with just 1.5 seconds showing on the clock to provide the margin of victory for the Winthrop High boys basketball team in a thrilling 47-46 triumph at Swampscott Friday.
The contest was a hard fought battle all the way, with the teams tied at 19-19 at the intermission. Swampscott scored a bucket with 15 seconds to play to take the lead, setting the stage for Levesqueâ€™s heroics. Joe had been set up underneath by a nice pass from Jeff Laguerre and he drew the foul.
Quinton Dale turned in his usual double/double for Winthrop with 15 points and 12
rebounds, while Joe Dâ€™Amore came close to the double/double feat with 12 points and nine boards. Laguerre reached double figures with 10 points, while Josh Babb dished out four assists.
Winthrop gave Coach Dave Brown some easier breathing Tuesday night with a 69-53 triumph over Gloucester. The Vikings enjoyed a 46-18 bulge at the halfway mark, ensuring an easy cruise to the â€œW.â€
Dale topped the scoring column with 16 points, followed by Ervin DeJesus with 13, Dâ€™Amore with 12, and Babb and Laguerre with nine each. The big margin allowed Brown to use some of his younger players, with freshman Jake Chiudina scoring three points, sophomore Adam Holden scoring two points, and freshman Bobby Fisher hitting a free throw.
The twin victories raised Winthropâ€™s record to 10-2 in the Northeastern Conference, bringing the Vikings even with Danvers for first place in the NECâ€™s South Division and assuring that at least a share of the South title will be at stake when the teams collide Monday at Danvers.
Winthrop, which defeated Danvers in their initial meeting this season in a thriller, first will have to tackle Marblehead (which knocked off Danvers this past week) this Friday evening in the local gym which will feature Senior Night festivities.
Lady Bulldog hockey team continues to roll
The Winthrop Lady Bulldog hockey team, fresh off its sterling victory over perennial power St. Maryâ€™s of Lynn two weeks ago, continued its superb play this past week.
The Lady Bulldogs first dispatched Beverly, 3-1, on Wednesday to clinch an outright championship of the Northeast Division of the Eastern Mass. Girls Hockey League.
Chelsey Bartlett put Winthrop in the board in the opening period, assisted by linemate Hannah LoPresti. Ariana Dembro, assisted by Kara Donati, and Donati, assisted by Dembro, provided the winning and insurance goals.
Gretchen Howard played a fine game in the goal, turning aside 18 Beverly shots.
â€œOur second line of Ariana, Kara, and Caroline McKinnon is really starting to produce for us,â€ said Lady bulldog head coach Anthony Martucci. â€œWe typically have used them as a defensive line, but now theyâ€™re starting to score goals,â€ added the coach, who noted that McKinnon â€œis one of the best defensive centers in Eastern Mass.â€
With the Northeast Division title in hand, Martucci and his crew trekked to Barnstable for a rematch with their rivals from the Cape who were ranked number six in the state coming into the contest and who had edged Winthrop 1-0 in the season opener for both teams at Larsen Rink.
But just as they did against St. Maryâ€™s the week before, the Lady Bulldogs came out with intensity from the opening face off against Barnstable. Winthrop lit the lamp three times before Barnstable finally got on the board. The Lady Bulldog first line of Mackenzie Clark, Bartlett, and LoPresti took control of the contest from the outset, with Clark beating the Barnstable goalie thrice to record a hat trick, including the fourth Winthrop tally that removed any notion of a Barnstable comeback after Barnstable had sliced the Winthrop lead to 3-1.
â€œMackenzie always seems to step up her game against the top opponents,â€ said Martucci. Linemate Bartlett assisted on all three goals and LoPresti earned an assist on one.
Donati also lit the lamp for Winthrop with Kasey Harris being credited with the assist.
Brittany MacPherson, the other half of the Winthrop goaltending corps, picked up the win to remain undefeated at 6-0 on the season.
â€œThe team exudes a confidence now that we did not have at the beginning of the season,â€ said Martucci. â€œThey know they can beat anyone and they know what they have to do to win.â€
The Lady Bulldogs, who now stand at 10-2-1 on the season and who are ranked at number 14 in the Globe poll (though higher in others), travel to Cambridge today (Thursday) for a 4 p.m. encounter and then will host Everett Saturday evening at Larsen. Face off is 6:10 and will be highlighted by what promises to be emotional Senior Night festivities.
Viking boys hockey falls short vs. Danvers
The Winthrop High boys hockey team gave it their all, but came out on the short end of a 4-2 decision to Danvers Saturday evening in a showdown with a share of first place in the Northeastern Conferenceâ€™s North Division on the line.
Larsen Rink was packed with the Viking faithful, but had little to cheer about through the first two periods as Danvers skated to a 3-0 lead. However, the venerable arena was rockinâ€™ and rollinâ€™ midway through the final period when Dan Eruzione, assisted by Chris LeBlanc, finally got Winthrop on the scoreboard.
The big crowd then sensed that a comeback was more than possible when Jimmy Barker lit the lamp, assisted by Adam Lundberg and LeBlanc, to close the gap to 3-2 with about four minutes to play.
Eruzione had a golden opportunity to even matters with a minute to play when he intercepted a Danvers pass and skated in alone on the Danvers goalie, only to see his shot deflect off the knob of the goaltenderâ€™s stick.
WHS head coach Dale Dunbar pulled his goalie for a 6-on-5 advantage in the final minute, but Danvers slid home an empty netter for the 4-2 finale.
â€œWe were ready for this game, but they got an early goal that took the wind out of our sails,â€ said Dunbar. â€œBut we never gave up and began to outplay them, but it just wasnâ€™t enough.â€
Winthrop had set up the battle royale for first place with a 2-0 win over Swampscott three nights earlier. The teams dueled to a 0-0 draw after two periods before LeBlanc scored on a power play goal midway through the third stanza, assisted by Eruzione and Matt Todisco.
Chris then put the game on ice with an empty net marker with 11 seconds to play when he won a face off in the Swampscott end and then flicked a backhander into the open net.
The Vikings, who now are 8-5-2 on the season, were back in action last night (Wednesday) at Saugus and will travel to Peabody Saturday and to Gloucester next Wednesday.
Gymnasts do well in final home meet
The Winthrop High girls gymnastics team hosted Gloucester last Wednesday in the final home meet of the season. Although Winthrop came out on the short end of a 130-124.5 decision, a number of the Winthrop girls turned in outstanding performances.
The scores for all of the Winthrop girls were as follows:
Tiffany Burbank: 5.9
Mackenzie Chiudina: 7.3
Julia Duplin: 7.5
Jessica Fahey: 7.9
Caitlin Page: 8.0
Christa Vacarro: 8.3
Julia Duplin: 6.5
Jessica Fahey: 6.9
Carolyn Hetherton: 7.2
Isabella Kennedy: 7.7
Caitlin Page: 7.8
Christa Vacarro: 7.9
Caitlin Page: 6.3
Carolyn Hetherton: 6.4
Rebecca Lewis: 6.6
Christa Vacarro: 7.8
Isabella Kennedy: 8.1
Mackenzie Chiudina: 7.4
Samantha Mooney: 7.9
Jessica Fahey: 8.0
Isabella Kennedy: 8.1
Caitlin Page: 8.2
Christa Vacarra: 8.65
The meet also was highlighted by Senior Night festivities at which flowers were presented to senior Jessica Fahey and her mom, Debi, and fellow senior Tiffany Burbank and her sister, Krystal.
â€œThis was a great meet for Christa Vacarro,â€ said WHS head coach Melissa Wiles. â€œShe scored one of her highest scores on floor and performed a new skill on vault. She got a great score.
â€œCaitlin Page proved to be a big part of the team again with her high scores on vault and floor. Caitlin is very dedicated and hard worker. She can both have fun and get her turns in,â€ continued Wiles. â€œWe need girls like that on the team. It is important that the girls are also having fun in between all of their hard practicing.
â€œThis week was Rebecca Lewisâ€™s first time competing this season,â€ noted Wiles. â€œShe was the first up on beam and stuck her routine. Only the top four scores on each event count towards the team score and Rebeccaâ€™s score counted. I was very happy with her performance.
â€œCarolyn Hetherton has been an amazing help to the team,â€ added the coach. â€œShe could be an all around performer if we were allowed to have more than two. She has competed in all four events at different meets this year. Itâ€™s great to have someone whom I can put on any event when I need her.â€
This past Sunday morning, seniors Fahey andÂ Burbank competed in the â€œSenior Super Bowl.â€ â€œThis is just a fun meet for the girls,â€ said Wiles. â€œThey competed with about 80 seniors from all over the state. Itâ€™s just to celebrate the girls being seniors and their last year of gymnastics. They had a great meet and the whole team was very proud of them. Jessica competed bars, floor, and vault. Tiffany competed floor and beam.
â€œWeâ€™re really going to miss these girls,â€ added Wiles. â€œItâ€™s a bittersweet feeling because I want to see them move on and do well, but I also donâ€™t want to lose such great teammates.â€
Winthropâ€™s next meet is today (Thursday) vs. Marblehead. at the Marblehead YMCA. The league meet is Saturday at the Sterling YMCA in Beverly at which only two girls from each team in the league will get to compete on each event.
Girls hoop teamÂ Â drops two contests
The Winthrop High girls basketball team dropped both of its games this past, falling to Swampscott last Friday, 40-31, and to Gloucester on Tuesday, 53-35.
The Lady Vikings hung tough for most of both contests, but costly turnovers late in the game allowed their opponents to pull away.
After spotting Swampscott, which is in first place in the South Division of the Northeastern Conference, a 12-4 advantage in the opening period and 23-12 at the half, Winthrop whittled away at the lead after the intermission, making it a 29-23 affair after three periods and then getting as close as two points midway through the final frame.
However, turnovers down the stretch allowed Swampscott to capitalize at the other end and hang on for the victory. Angie Favaloro enjoyed a fine game, hitting for 11 points, including a pair of three pointers in the third stanza that keyed the Winthrop third quarter surge.
Temison Meggison reached double figures with 10 points, followed by Alyssa Mackey with four, Theresa Jones with three, Ashelyne Babb with two, and Liana Ferullo with a free throw.
The Lady Vikings made the long trek to Gloucester Tuesday and battled the Lady Fishermen evenly through the first period (9-9) and at the half (22-19 in favor of Gloucester).
However, Gloucester opened up some space after three periods (37-28) and then pulled away in the final stanza. Mackey led the Winthrop point parade with nine points, followed by Favaloro with six,Â Kristen Siscamanis with five, Jen Adamson with four, Taylor Duplin with four, Babb with three, Ferullo with two, and Niki Tsiotis with two.
The Lady Vikings, who now are 6-11 on the season, travel to Marblehead Friday night and host Danvers Tuesday.