Vikings fall to st. mary’s in hard fought division 4 quarterfinal
by Bob Marra/robertmarraphotography.com
The Winthrop Vikings were scrappy and determined, but in the end, they simply had no answer for St. Mary’s mercurial Jonny Mercado, whose 29 points led the Spartans to a 68-52 win in Eastern Mass. Division 4 Quarterfinal action Thursday night March 2 at the Tony Conigliaro Gym.
Give the Vikings credit. The bottom seed of the 11-team bracket, the Vikings entered the game against the defending Division III State Champions as a decided underdog, but some dogged defense and offensive punch by Devin Pulsifer, they found themselves leading 12-4 with a little over five minutes left in the first half.
That was, ultimately, the Vikings high point. St. Mary’s offense, which had been moribund through most of the half, came to life over the last four minutes of the first half. With Mercado—(9 points in the second quarter after none in the first)–leading the way, the Spartans took a 24-17 lead into halftime.
The Spartans offense continued to click in the third period, Mercado now joined by Stephen Fama (7 points in the third period, 11 on the night) as the offensive weapons. St. Mary’s extended their lead to 12, but Winthrop would not go away. A Pulsifer (17 points on the night) 3-pointer made it 36-28 late in the third period, only seven points separated the teams after three period, St. Mary’s up 42-35.
Winthrop got the deficit down to five points, but with 4:17 left, but a Mercado layup and subsequent foul pushed the lead back to nine points. Jonathan Mola nailed a three-pointer with 2:30 on the clock that opened up a 13-point lead, 58-45, and St. Mary’s finally pulled away, led by the red-hot Mercado, who poured in 11 more points in the final frame. Winthrop simply ran out of steam, but everyone would agree that the 68-52 final was not a true indication of the kind of game it was.
Mercado led St. Mary’s with 29 points, Mola notched 14 and Fama scored 11. The Vikings were led by Devin Pulsifer’s 17 and Tyrone McKenzie’s 11. Both Jonathan VanDaLinda and Chris Zuffante added 8 points each.
From the Press Box
The Arena Jinx
By: Jim Lederman
I walked out of the Stoneham Arena last Tuesday night in disbelief. The ‘Arena Jinx’ once again was another crushing loss for Winthrop hockey team.
The Vikings (4-0) loss to the Lynnfield Pioneers, was totally unexpected. In 2016 the Vikings lost to the Marblehead Magicians at the O’Brien Arena in Woburn.
The Vikings were the number four seed in Division 2 North. Lynnfield was the bottom seed with a record of (10-8-2). I was already looking forward to a Friday night match-up with Saugus and perhaps a date with the Marblehead Magicians.
My memory of a Winthrop hockey team winning a playoff game at Stoneham Arena is not good. The most exciting game at ‘The Arena’ was in 2011, when the Lady Bulldawgs lost an overtime shootout game to Hingham (4-3). The Hingham ladies captured the Division One title. Katie Burt (present Boston College) goalie stopped 52 Hingham shots!
The Vikings had a record of (11-1-2) and I was predicting a Northeastern Conference title for captain Charlie Page (NEC MVP) and the Vikings were positive.
The Danvers Falcons (3-2) victory over the Vikings and a (3-3) tie with Marblehead, cost coach Dale Dunbar’s young team a NEC title. One point was the difference, for a co-NEC championship. The Viking should have beaten Saugus (2-2) tie and a victory in one of the two battles with archrival Marblehead, would give the Vikings the title.
The Vikings lose four seniors who provided the leadership for a final record of (13-4-4) the three ties was very costly.
Captain Charlie Page ended a ‘brilliant’ 4-year career for the Vikings. When Charlie was a frosh he played with his brother Chris (Buddy) who was NEC MVP. Charlie added that distinction (NEC MVP) to his resume. How many families can claim two NEC “Most Valuable Player” titles? We salute the Page family.
Assistant captain Dave Barry and Matt Tarantino, were named to the NEC All-Star team. Barry finished with (4-7-11) and a super year. Matt followed his Viking football career with a back injury, but he was a solid defenseman with a crushing block at key moments of every game.
Assistant captain Gene August was an ‘unsung Viking’ who played a key role for his team.
The Vikings second leading scorer – Number 12, junior Henry Brooks, was an NEC All-Star an d his totals (16 goals – 14 assists – 30 points) should be a strong candidate for a huge senior season and a candidate for league MVP. The Vikings have had three ‘MVP’ players in the last four hockey seasons (Chris Page, Pat Todisco and Charlie Page).
Junior Steve Holgerson was named NEC All-Star for the second year in a row. Steve scored (9-10-19) and the Vikings will have one of the top scoring lines in the NEC in (2017-2018).
Three standout sophomores, return to Larsen Rink next winter!
Brian Chalmers – ‘Number 9’ had (7-11-18) and displayed a rocket of a shot.
Number 17 – Sammy Yarrow will have a solid Viking career if he continues to improve Sammy’s stats (5-7-12) give the Vikings another big scorer.
Juniors Tyler Marley (5-2-7) and Tyler Mignosa, form the “team Tyler” and return for what should be an exciting senior season. Junior defenseman Jake Adams, ‘Number 14’ had an excellent season. The three-sport standout will be a leader on the (2017-2018) Vikings. He is the Vikings football quarterback.
Bryce Costin and Chris Finn return to lead the defense squad. Dean Paulson was another promising junior skater.
The Vikings have to work hard in the off-season and the Vikings will have another super hockey season.
The play of sophomore goalie Ryan Skoczylas was the surprise of the season. Ryan was named an NEC All-Star. His goals against (1.59) and his 13 victories shows he can improve and be a key to the Vikings success next winter.
Dawgs End Season
The Lady Bulldawgs lost t heir MIAA playoff game on Saturday, with a (4-2) loss to the Westford Academy Grey Ghosts at Groton Academy.
The ‘Grey Ghosts’ have been dominant in the three games they have played Winthrop. In 1993 Westford defeated the Winthrop Vikings in a super bowl game (Division 3A) with the 1993 Northeastern Conference champions (28-21) in overtime at Miller Field.
Coach Butch Martucci’s ‘Lady Dawgs’ finish the (2016-2017) season with a (12-7) record.
The ‘Dawgs’ scored their fin al goals of the season in the final minutes. Senior Sydney Adamson scored on a power play with 2.31 remaining in period number 3. Senior Mia Price and soph Bella Perrotti assisted on the tally. ‘Number 5’ – junior standout McKayla Norris scored with 57 seconds on the clock. McKayla was the Dawgs leading scorer and she will return to lead the Winthrop team next winter.
Seven seniors played their final game for the ‘Dawgs.’ All-Star goalie Gretchen Howard, assistant captains MIA Price, Abby Carleton, Meghan Chavis, Sydney Adamson and Kelsie Griffiths.
“I want to salute my senior group of players. Four were ‘pioneers’ of an outstanding program.” Said Coach Butch Martucci, “we have been in the MIAA playoffs for nine straight years.”
Coach wanted to pay tribute to senior Mia Price. “Mia had two assists to reach 100-points for year career,” “Mia joins the 100 Point Club, she is in the elite club – Taylor Brown, Caroline McKinnon and McKenzie Clark.”
The ‘BullDawgs’ will be the Lady Vikings hockey team in (2017-2018).
We salute another outstanding hockey team that calls Larsen Rink their home!
Let’s Go Lady Vikings!
Let the Games Begin!
Behind the Blue Line
The hockey experts from the Boston Herald picked Danvers to win Division 2 – North, with the Marblehead Magicians the runner up team.
In the quarter finals played on Friday night – Stoneham (No. 11) knocked off the NEC champs Danvers (4-0); the Falcons were number 3 seed.
Top seed Lowell Catholic (17-2-2) defeated Marblehead (3-2) in overtime.
The surprise team, Saugus (11-9-2) defeated Lynnfield (5-2) in Woburn. The Sachems are the only team left standing from the NEC ‘parody’ is the ‘mantra’ in the NEC in (2-16-2017) this is the same team (Lynnfield) that shut-out our Winthrop Vikings.
Saugus is in the D-2 North semi-finals to be played on Tuesday night at the Tsongas Center in Lowell. They will play the hometown first seed Lowell Catholic.
The other semi is Cape Ann league champion – North Reading vs. Stoneham.
The hockey season will end this week and ‘March Madness’ college basketball takes over.
Let the Games Begin!
The resurgence of tennis at Winthrop high school is very strong. Coach Marie Finn reports 21-players have signed up for her boys team. The 2016 squad established a record for victories.
Coach Kenny Hodgkins was thrilled to report 31 female tennis players have signed up for the Spring season.
The town council was taking a vote on the future of the present Wallace B. McClean tennis courts.
The “Save Our Courts” committee has presented a proposal to refurbish the existing courts.
Tennis is back and very strong in Winthrop! We hope the town manager and town council care about the kids who play tennis and the many adult players.
Let the tennis begin at the new McClean Courts!
The Class of 2015
The Class of 2015 had four NEC championship teams – football, basketball, hockey and cheerleading.
We salute four outstanding female athletes. The big three on the championship hoop team had outstanding sophomore seasons in college.
Niki Tsiotos (Saint Rose of Albany, New York
Kristen Siscamanis (Caldwell College – New Jersey) played in the Division 2- NCAA Tourney.
Nina Bartlette (Goldey Beacom College) three-division 2 college players!
MacKenzie Chiudina (Wheaton College – soccer).
We salute these four outstanding female student athletes playing in college!
Let the Games Begin!
The temperature on Sunday morning was 9 degrees. The Winthrop winter sports season is over. I’m ready for the NCAA college hoop tourney.
The new team I was cheering for on ESPN basketball was Winthrop University – ‘The Eagles’ out of Rick Hill, North Carolina.
The Eagles won the ‘Big South’ Tourney with a record of (26-6), they will join the ‘top 68’ Division One college – March Madness begins next week.
The final week for teams to qualify for the ‘Final 68’ is exciting. I have been impressed with UCLA (ranked no. 3 in the top 25).
I used to attend the ‘Big East’ Tourney at Madison Square Garden in N.Y. with the Anderson Family. The ‘Big East’ lost Boston College and U Conn. Thousand fans from Boston used to travel to New York to cheer for the BC Eagles.
I have to cheer for Winthrop!
Let the Games Begin!
Faces In The Crowd
The capacity crowd at Stoneham to watch the Vikings playoff game included: Michael Welch, a member of the WHS Athletic Hall of Fame.
‘Big Mike’ was a standout football player for coach Bob DeFelice’s Viking team in 1972. Mike played football at the University of Pennsylvania (another WHS Ivy League grad). He also excelled on the hand court. Michael was the ‘rebound king’ on the hoop team that played in the legendary Boston Garden. He was the player who was an excellent rebounder when the Vikings led by captain Chris Tsiotos (29 points per game) had only one loss.
Michael was watching his cousin Tyler Marley play for the Vikings.
Lou Chiulli was another ex-WHS grad and the manager on the 1976 WHS state champs (26-0-1). Lou is manager at the Stoneham Arena. 41 years ago – can you believe it?
Best wishes for a complete recovery for Doug Chalmers, on his knee operation. He was the leading “cheerer” for his son – Brian Chalmers on the ice.
WHS SPORTS roundup
Boys basketball team wins tourney opener, falls to St. Mary’s
The Winthrop High boys basketball team ran into a familiar post-season rival in the quarterfinal round of the Division 4 North Sectional of the MIAA state basketball tournament when the Vikings trekked to St. Mary’s of Lynn last Thursday evening.
Coach Ignacio Oyola’s crew put up a spirited battle through the first three quarters, but eventually succumbed to the defending D-4 state champs by a final score of 68-52.
Both teams were as cold as ice from the floor in the opening period, with the Vikings holding a slim 6-4 advantage at the end of the first period. However, as had been anticipated, the remainder of the contest featured offensive fireworks on both sides as the uptempo offenses of the Vikings and the Spartans revved into gear.
St. Mary’s outscored Winthrop 20-11 in the second period to move out to a 24-17 lead at the half, and both teams fired away after the intermission, scoring 18 points apiece in the third stanza, to leave matters at 42-35 entering the final eight minutes.
But it would be St. Mary’s, led by former Winthrop coach Dave Brown, that would up the ante in the final period to pull away for the 16-point victory.
Devin Pulsider paced Winthrop with 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Tayjuan McKenzie reached double figures with 11 points and grabbed eight boards.
Johnathan Van Dalinda and Chris Zuffante chipped in eight points apiece. David Diaz added six points and Alex Dernier contributed two.
Two nights earlier the Vikings, who entered the D-4 North as the 11th seed of the 11 teams in the sectional, dispatched sixth-seeded Maimonides, 73-44. After running-and-gunning to a 20-20 deadlock in the opening period, the Vikings’ defense kicked up its intensity in the second quarter, outscoring Mainonides 17-6, to take a 37-26 lead into the half.
Winthrop stretched its bulge to 57-34 by the third buzzer and coasted from there.
Pulsifer led all scorers with 25 points and made six steals. McKenzie turned in a powerful double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. David Diaz sank five-of-six shots from the floor to tally 11 points and dished out four assists.
Dernier hit for five points and recorded a game-high six assists. Van Dalinda chipped in five points, followed by Zuffante and Luigi Spinazzola with four apiece, Christian Lyons with three, and Elliot Frank with two.
St. Mary’s, the third seed in the D4 North with a 15-5 mark, defeated Pope John XXIII of Everett, 60-48, in their North Sectional semifinal to advance to the D-4 North championship contest against Lowell Catholic. St. Mary’s rates as a strong favorite to win that battle inasmuch as Pope John defeated Lowell Catholic twice during the regular season.
WHS girls hockey falls to Westford, 4-2
The Winthrop High Lady Bulldawg hockey team dropped a 4-2 decision to Westford Academy this past Saturday at the Groton School in a first round contest of the MIAA Division 1 girls state hockey tournament.
Winthrop entered the tourney as the 11th seed with a 12-6 record, while Westford was seeded sixth with a 15-3-2 mark.
WHS sports years
10 years ago
March 8, 2007
The undefeated season and hopes for a state championship of the WHS girls basketball team came to a crushing end with a 48-46 loss in overtime to Wilmington in the Division 3 North semifinal. Wilmington scored the winning basket in OT with 5.5 seconds to play. Northeastern Conference MVP Courtney Finn scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Meredith Soper scored 16 points and pulled down 14 rebounds for coach Peter Grimes’s Lady Viking squad, which had entered the D-3 North as the top seed with a 20-0 record.
The WHS boys basketball team was eliminated from state tourney play for the second straight year by Ipswich, the No. 1 seed in the D-4 North Sectional, by a score of 62-58 in a quarterfinal contest at Ipswich. Free throw shooting proved the difference, as Ipswich shot 83 percent from the charity stripe and the Vikings hit on only 38 percent of their attempts. Jason Griffin led coach Dave Brown’s Winthrop team with 20 points.