The Winthrop High School girls basketball team made sure the last game played at the Holland Gymnasium would be a memorable one, racing past North Reading, 48-27, in a Division 3 North quarterfinal round game Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Nina Bartlette had 16 points while senior Theresa Jones and junior Kristen Siscamanis each scored nine points to power the Lady Vikingsâ€™ attack in the final game at the gymnasium which will make way for a brand new middle/high school on the site.
The 6-foot-1-inch Bartlette enjoyed one of the best offensive games of her sky-is-the-limit varsity career, but it was her defensive presence in the paint, coupled with the assistance of Siscamanis, that kept North Readingâ€™s 6-feet-5-inch sophomore Jessica Lezon away from the basket and second-chance hoops.
Meanwhile, Winthrop junior point guard Niki Tsiotos (6 points) was devastating in the backcourt, creating problems all game for the North Reading guard tandem. Included in Tsiotosâ€™s defensive masterpiece were two clean blocks of NR breakaway layups.
Bartlette took early command in the lane with three first-quarter baskets. Siscamanis heated up quickly with eight first-quarter points, while Jones set the tone from outside with a three-pointer, helping the hosts build an 18-8 lead after one period.
Senior guard Ashelyne Babb (4 points) extended Winthropâ€™s lead to 20-10 with two free throws. Tsiotos and Company then held North Reading to a season-low two points in the second quarter while taking a 27-12 lead at the half.
Winthrop, with help off the bench from senior Jenn Adamson (4 points), pulled away to an impressive win over a strong Cape Ann League contingent.
The only question in the fourth quarter to be addressed was: Who would score the final point in the gymâ€™s existence? That distinction belonged to junior Poli Tsiotos on a free throw, perhaps a fitting honor for a family that has been so synonymous with excellence in Winthropâ€™s basketball history.
Head coach Ignacio Oyola and staff had their team ready for its postseason debut. He was pleased with the overall performance.
â€œJust an excellent team effort,â€ said Oyola. â€œFirst and foremost we wanted to make sure we rebounded with North Readingâ€™s size and to make sure we get the ball downcourt in transition and draw some fouls.â€
Bartlette drew high marks from the head coach. â€œNina did a great job on their center. Kristen also helped out and we played a zone sometimes. But Nina did an sterling job of bodying her, fronting her, and playing behind her. We changed it up and our defense did a great job.â€
The Vikings were undefeated (9-0) at home this season, truly saving their best for the last-ever game.
â€œWe were happy to get the last victory on this floor,â€ said Oyola.
Winthrop (20-3) was scheduled to play Manchester Wednesday night at St. Johnâ€™s Prep. The winner of that game will play St. Maryâ€™s of Lynn in the North Sectional championship game Saturday at the Tsongas Center in Lowell.