The Winthrop High girls basketball team will embark on its quest to defend its Northeastern Conference South Division title when the Lady Vikings trek northward to Gloucester Tuesday evening for a 7:00 tip-off
Coach Ignacio Oyola’s crew will be led by senior captain Ashelyne Babb, who figures to be one of the premier backcourt players on the North Shore this season. Fellow seniors Jen Adamson and Theresa Jones will lend Babb a lot of support in the leadership department.
Four juniors, twins Nikki and Poli Tsiotis, Kristen Siscamanis, and Maura Lanza, will bring a lot of experience to this year’s squad. Rounding out the 2013-14 edition of the Lady Vikings are sophomores Nina Bartlett and Shannon Mahoney and freshman Ally Love.
The Lady Vikings engaged in a pre-season scrimmage with Pope John of Everett in which Winthrop controlled the play throughout all six quarters of action this past Tuesday. The Lady Vikings figure to face a stronger challenge when they tangle with perennial power St. Mary’s of Lynn in a Jamboree at Lynn Classical Saturday afternoon at 5:20.
“The team is coming along, but we still have a lot to work on,” said Oyola, who guided the Lady Vikings to a sterling 17-7 overall mark last year, which included a victory in the first round of the state tourney. “We know expectations are high for this team, but we only will reach our goals and potential if we put in the effort. We’re excited to start the year, but we know that everyone will be waiting for us.”
Winthrop is in an NEC South alignment that includes Marblehead, Swampscott, Danvers, and Gloucester. A former long-time rival, Saugus, left the NEC this year to play in the Cape Ann League.
Young boys hoop team hosts Gloucester
If numbers alone mean anything, the Winthrop High boys basketball program is alive and well. With more than 60 boys trying out for a coveted roster spot, the competition was fierce to wear a Viking uniform in 2013-14, presenting second-year WHS head coach Mike DiMarino with difficult choices before whittling his varsity squad to 14 boys.
“We had a great turnout for a school our size,” said DiMarino. “It’s a tribute to our town and the interest among the basketball community that so many boys want to play the sport at the high school level.”
The Vikings will be led by senior captains Cody Wasson and Adam Holden. They will be joined by fellow classmates Vin Sparacino and Brendan Van Dalinda. Three juniors made the team, Bobby Fisher, Jake Chiudina, and Nick Moulasin. The balance of the Viking hoopmen is comprised of sophomores Zack Fisher, Matt Feeley, Loren Shuka, Jeff Collignon, Harry Floyd, and Jake LaFratta and freshman Chris Zuffante.
DiMarino and his crew traveled to the Cape this past weekend for an overnight stay in which they scrimmaged Falmouth on both Saturday and Sunday. “We have a young team, but they work very hard,” said DiMarino. “After playing on Saturday, we watched the film of our game, and then we did much better on Sunday.
“The weekend proved to be a great bonding experience for the entire team,” continued the coach. “This is a great group of kids who love the game of basketball and who are willing to put in the effort to get to be as good as they can be.”
Although Winthrop will be the only Division 4 school in the Northeastern Conference this season, DiMarino said his charges are undaunted by the challenge they will be facing. “We know that playing against strong competition will make us a better team,” DiMarino said. Winthrop will have two D-4 schools on its schedule, Innovation Academy and Pope John of Everett, for home-and-home matchups. If Winthrop wins two of those games, it will qualify for the MIAA post-season tourney.
under the Sullivan Rule.
The Vikings will open their 2013-14 campaign Tuesday when they host NEC rival Gloucester at the WHS gym. Tip-off is set for 7:00.