The Winthrop High girls basketball team opened its season on a positive note with a pair of victories over Northeastern Conference rivals Swampscott and Gloucester this past week.
Fridayâ€™s season opener against Swampscott, which has been one of the top teams in the NEC the past few seasons, was a defensive struggle all the way. The teams battled even-steven through the first two period (10-10 after the first quarter and 15-15 at the half), but Winthrop made a nice push after the intermission, limiting Swampscott to just two points in the third frame, to take a 25-17 advantage at the third buzzer.
However, Swampscott began to whittle away at the Winthrop lead and drew within three points with about a minute to go. The visitors then tried for a three point field goal on their last possession in an effort to send the game into overtime. That final possession turned into a hair-raising 45 seconds-long ordeal for Winthrop fans, as Swampscott got off three shots, thanks to long offensive rebounds. However, none of the Swampscott attempts fell through the cylinder and Winthrop held on for the victory.
â€œWe played poorly on the offensive end, especially at the free throw line,â€ said WHS coach Ignacio Oyola, who noted that his squad shot a paltry 4-for-20 from the charity stripe. â€œI told the girls that this was what is known as an â€˜effort win.â€™ Our level of play was below standard, but we played hard enough to beat Swampscott with our full-court zone and man-to-man presses.â€
Ashelyne Babb, the Lady Viking point guard who sprained her ankle in the second period, but who came back to play in the second half, led Winthrop in the scoring department with nine points.
Kristen Siscamanis added seven points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Nikki Tsiotis chipped in four points, followed by the trio of Temison Meggison, Nina Bartlett, and Liana Ferullo with three points apiece. Theresa Jones scored two points to round out the Lady Viking scoring.
After a slow start in Tuesday nightâ€™s 43-31 triumph at Gloucester, in which the host Lady Fishermen led 5-4 after the first period, the Winthrop offense kicked into gear to move out to a 20-13 lead at the half. The Lady Vikings slowly built their advantage into double figures after the intermission to come away with a 43-31 triumph.
Winthropâ€™s foul shooting was much improved, as the Lady Vikings hit on 17-of-30 from the charity stripe. â€œWe still expect to shoot better than that from the free throw line, but it was a big improvement over the first game,â€ said Oyola.
Eight Winthrop girls got onto the scoring sheet, led by Meggison, who turned in a powerful double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Front court mate Siscamanis hit for eight points and snared nine boards. Nikki Tsiotis also tingled the twine for eight points, followed by Jen Adamson with five, Babb (who sat out the weekâ€™s practice sessions because of her ankle) with four, Bartlett with four (to go with her eight rebounds), Jen Adamson with two, and Alyssa Mackey with a free throw.
The 2-0 Lady Vikings trek to Marblehead tomorrow (Friday) evening and are off until the Friday after Christmas when they travel to Georgetown.
Girls hockey teamÂ ties, wins first twoÂ
The Winthrop High Lady Bulldog hockey team earned three of a possible four points in the opening week of their season, tying Medford, 4-4, and defeating Cambridge, 4-2.
The season opener last Wednesday at Medford was a see-saw affair from the opening faceoff. Lady Bulldog Kara Donati warned the distinction for her team of lighting the lamp for the first time in 2012-13 at just 0:05 of the first period. However, any thoughts that Winthrop may have had of an easy win soon were dispelled when Medford tied matters at 1-1 shortly thereafter.
Ariana Dembro gave Winthrop a 2-1 advantage later in the period, but that margin also proved shortlived when Medford evened the count before the end of the first frame.
Medford took a 3-2 lead early in the second stanza, but Juliana Kennedy tied matters for the Lady Bulldogs with her first goal of the season. However, Medford continued to press and scored before the period ended to hold a 4-3 edge.
Gabby Kenniston lit the lamp to knot matters for the fourth time in the contest midway through the final period, from where matters remained at 4-4 until the final horn.
Lady Bulldog Caroline McKinnon, who centers the first line between Dembro and Donati, was credited with three assists on the night, including Kennistonâ€™s game-tying tally.
Saturdayâ€™s encounter with Cambridge at Larsen saw the Lady Bulldogs once again battle back from a deficit after two periods. Cambridge scored in the opening stanza and made it 2-0 shortly into the second. However, Donati, whose magic number must be â€œ5â€, got Winthrop back into the game with a lamplighter with just 0:05 left in the period to make it 2-1 after two. Seventh grader Emma English assisted on the goal.
â€œThat was a big goal for us, because it really sparked the team and gave us the momentum going into the third period,â€ said Lady Bulldog head coach Anthony Martucci. Indeed., the third period belongedÂ to the Lady Bulldogs. Kennedy scored early in the frame to tie matters at 2-2; Dembro made it 3-2 midway through the stanza; and then McKinnon added an insurance marker for the 4-2 finale.
Winthrop goaltender Gretchen Howard turned in what Martucci labeled as a â€œstellar performance,â€ turning aside 21 Cambridge shots.
â€œWeâ€™re still just getting into the season and trying to figure out how everybody fits in,â€ said Martucci. â€œWe have a lot of young players so it will take some time for it all to come together. But the fact that we came back in the third period in both games shows that we have a lot of character, which will be important as the season goes on.â€
Among the newcomers to the varsity who have been pleasant surprises are English and fellow seventh grader Jillian Olevitz, both of whom play at center on their respective lines.
Martucci and his crew were set to travel to Lowell last night (Wednesday) to take on Shawsheen Tech and then will trek to Peabody Saturday afternoon for a 2:00 encounter. The Lady Bulldogs will return home to Larsen next Saturday to entertain Watertown. Face off time for that game is 5:00.
Caponeâ€™s late goalÂ earns 1-1 tie for boysÂ Â
David Capone scored a goal with just over 2:00 to play to give the Winthrop High boys hockey team a 1-1 tie at Mansfield last Wednesday. Luke Hodgkins earned the assist on the play.
â€œMansfield is one of the up and coming programs in the south, so to come away with a tie against them on their ice in the season opener was quite an accomplishment,â€ said WHS head coach Dale Dunbar. â€œI told the team I just wanted them to go out and play hard and compete, and thatâ€™s exactly what they did.â€
After a scoreless first period, Mansfield took a 1-0 lead in the second frame. But that would prove to be the only time that the home team would beat Viking netminder Ray Feeley, whom Dunbar lauded for playing â€œa super game in the net for us.â€
With the staunch Viking defense and Feeley keeping Mansfield off the board the rest of the way, the connection of Hodgkins-to-Capone made their teammatesâ€™ hard work pay off.
â€œIt was a total team effort,â€ said Dunbar of his Vikingsâ€™ performance. â€œEverybody did their job and gave 100 percent effort.â€
Winthrop was scheduled to host Peabody last night (Wednesday) and will entertain Gloucester Saturday evening at Larsen with the face-off at 5:00.
WHS track girlsÂ defeat ClassicalÂ
The Winthrop High girls indoor track team handily defeated Lynn Classical 59-27 in the opening meet of the 2012-13 indoor season.
The Lady Vikings won a commanding eight of the 10 events to cruise to the victory. First place finishers for Winthrop were: Julia Wallace in the high jump with a leap of 4-10; Ashley Jurovich in the shotput with a toss of 31-11; Carly Oâ€™Keefe in the 50 yard hurdles in 8.2 seconds; Jordan Griffiths in the 600 with a clocking of 1:59.5; Amy Sena with a run of 3:37 in the 1000; Michaela McCarthy in the mile with a time of 6:46; Abigail Love in the two mile run in 15:16; and the 4 x 400 relay squad that edged their Classical rivals by 3.5 seconds with a time of 4:44.3.
The Lady Vikings also garnered a large number of second finishes: Sena with a high jump of 4-8; Jurovich with a 50 yard dash of 6.8; Mario Rago in the 1000 in 3:48; and Wallace in the two mile in 15:44, barely nipping a Classical girl for second spot.
Contributing single points to the Winthrop cause with third place performances were: McCarthy with a high jump leap of 4-8; Elizabeth Anderson with a shotput throw of 28-3 and a 7.2 clocking in the hurdles; Jurovich with a sprint of 9.5 in the 50 dash; Holly Benson in the 300 in 48.4; Olivia Rago in the 600 in 2:10; and Kristen Ford in the mile with a run of 7:18.
The Lady Vikingsâ€™ next meet is set for next Thursday against Saugus.
Four Vikings winÂ firsts in meet with LCÂ
Although the Winthrop High boys indoor track team came out on the short end of their season-opening meet with Lynn Classical last week, a number of Vikings turned in fine performances.
Jordan Corbett-Frank sprinted to victory in the 50 yard dash in a time of 6.1 seconds. Joey Bosco captured the 1000 yard run in 3:34.2. Shawn Preble took the mile in 6:25. Zack Bonilla reigned supreme in the two mile in 13:34.
Viking Amin Louali earned points in two events, taking a second in the high jump with a leap of 5-0 and a third in the 50 yard hurdles in 8.6.
Other Vikings who competed were Marc Bouche, whose time of 45.8 in the 300 was good for fourth place, just 0.8 seconds off a third place finish. Trevor Hetherton came home fifth in the 50 yard hurdles in 8.8. Russell Trainor likewise finished fifth in the 50 yard dash in a good time of 6.6 seconds.
The boys will be back in action next Thursday against Saugus.
Boys hoop teamÂ plays well in twin lossesÂ
The Winthrop High boys basketball team dropped a pair of encounters this past week, falling to Northeastern Conference rivals Swampscott and Gloucester.
Fridayâ€™s encounter against a tall Swampscott squad, which features three front court players who stand at 6-5, 6-5, and 6-4, saw the Vikings fall behind by as many as 24 points in the second half.
However, led by the backcourt duo of Jeff Laguerre (24 points) and Josh Babb (17 points), Winthrop battled back to slice the margin to seven midway through the fourth quarter.
However, the Vikings were never quite able to get over the hump as Swampscott made some shots down the stretch to preserve a 66-53 victory.
Tuesday nightâ€™s contest with Gloucester at the Holland gym was a nip and tuck affair all the way. The Vikings came out strong and led by two at the half. However, Gloucester began to execute its offense and made some shots to move out to a lead that ranged from four to six points the rest of the way en route to a final margin of seven, 69-62.
â€œWe missed some easy shots down the stretch and they made theirs,â€ said WHS head coach Mike DiMarino. â€œIt was our best effort of the season, but we came up just a bit short.â€ DiMarino lauded his teamâ€™s defensive performance, especially at the perimeter. Gloucester had sunk 111 three pointers in its previous game against Saugus, but Gloucester did not hit any treys against Winthrop.
Babb and Curtis Lockett shared scoring honors with 19 points apiece for the Vikings.
The Winthrop boys will host one of their top Northeastern Conference rivals, Marblehead, tomorrow (Friday evening). Tip off is at 7:00.
DiMarino and his crew then are off until after the New Year.