Sports 07-13-2017

From the Press Box

The Engineer


By: Jim Lederman

I received a call last week from an old football teammate. In 1957 I was a sophomore on the Winthrop high school team, with senior tackle Richard Lawton.

The captain of the team was WHS Athletic Hall of Fame halfback, Frank ‘Buster’ Ferrara. WHS played all their games on the road, because of the work being done on Miller Field.

Richard was a proud graduate of RPI (This time I will get the spelling correct) Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York. Richard had a very long and distinguished career in the construction industry as a project engineer (I recall selling one of his companies a copy machine).

Lawton has been a key member of four new school building committees. The 1965 WHS, the Fort Banks-Gorman School, the Arthur T. Cummings School and the $88 million new WHS/Middle School.

Richard asked Jim McKenna (town manager) to be on the Miller Field Committee and was left off of the 14-member committee. I am happy to report he has been added to the Miller Field Committee this year. He reported to me, the new Miller Field and track will be ready for the Thanksgiving (2017) day Revere-Winthrop game!

We are blessed to have Richard Lawton and Tom Chiudina (architect) on the Miller Field Committee.

I had to look up the 1958-Echo yearbook! My first year of WHS football! Our locker room and showers – the old Miller Field House is now history! We used to stop at Lupoli’s for subs – at the corner or Cross and Shirley streets. Talk about history!

The grandson of the Lupoli family is Sal Lupoli – he owns 100 – Sal’s Pizza Restaurants. He owns Salvatore’s Restaurant in Boston and half the city of Lawrence.

Some of my teammates – 60 years ago, I see Buster Ferrara and Bobby DeFelice often! When I enjoyed my conversation with the ‘engineer’ Richard Lawton – I had to refer to the 1957 “Blue Devils’, yes, we were Blue Devil’s – Blue and grey uniforms – the Vikings were established in 1962 – Bobby Katz and John Tipping were in junior high school. Steve Calla was a standout guard on the 1962 WHS football team. I’ve watched a few WHS teams in my Viking career!

Bobby Milne (Cornell University was Hall of Fame) and speedy Al Luongo at halfback – Bobby Vadebouncoeur at quarterback

The fastest player – a bolt of lighting on a sunny day, Mikey Williams was a junior.

60 years ago! Talk about some memories.

Great to see the ‘engineer’ Rich Lawton on the committee to build the new Miller Field!

Giving all to his community!

Keep the Tradition Alive!



The Starting Vikings line up in 1957 – the line – Johnny Fay and Cliff Yarrow (both deceased) were the ends –

Big Bob Massa – he attends Vikings games to watch his grandsons play.

And the ‘Engineer’ – Rich Lawton at tackles

Robert A. DeFelice (two super bowl titles 33-game win streak – the coach and the late Paul Shell at guards.

Jimmy Matarazzo (lived 2 doors from Lupoli’s Sub Shop).

Buster Ferrara one of the best!



In Danny We Trust

There is a ‘saying’ if you’re a New England Patriots fan “In Bill We Trust” – coach, president or general manager – Bill Belichick has built a dynasty, leading the Patriots to five Super Bowl titles.

Danny Ainge, president of basketball operations and general manager, of the Boston Celtics has had a great summer in the NBA draft lottery and in the free agent ‘market,’ signing Gordon Hayward to a four year $134 million dollar contract. Hayward was coached by Brad Stevens at Butler University. Leading Butler to the final four and almost upsetting Duke for the National Championship.

Gordon will bring his 22-point NBA average and all-star status to the Celtics. The scoring talents of Hayward combined with all-star Isaiah Thomas (29-point average) and last years singing of Al Horford – will give the Celtics three NBA all-stars in the starting lineup of a team that reached the finals of the NBA-East and won 53-games.

The drafting by Ainge of 6-8 forward Jayson Tatum looks like the best player out of the 2017 draft. The Celtics and Jaylen Brown the 2016 top draft pick for the Celtics, this team can reach the finals with Cleveland once again!

Celtics fans have put their trust in Danny Ainge and this adds to the legacy of great teams with championships. The Patriots, the Celtics and we have to add the Boston Red Sox.

In Danny we Trust!

Let the Games Begin!



The Super Soph

There were many outstanding former WHS basketball players at the dedication of the ‘Chris Tsiotos Court.’ A surprise visitor was Arnie Springer, WHS class of 1959 and aka – the Super Soph Arnie was a three-year starter at center for three NEC basketball championship teams. Arnie played in the ‘legendary’ Boston Garden on three WHS teams that played in the Tech Tourney.

The team had a (16-2) regular season record. Arnie established a new WHS single game scoring record of 42-points. Chris Tsiotos broke the record with a 53-point single game. Arnie set a new (1959) NEC – 14 game record with 305 points (21-pints per game) Arnie was named Boston Globe and Boston Herald ‘All-Scholastic.’

Arnie captured the State High Jump Title (Class B) with a leap of 6/4. Arnie started a center for Brandeis University for three years.

Arnie was inducted in the WHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.

Let the Games Begin!



Miller Field Update

I was very encouraged talking to Richard Lawton last week. He promises me the Vikings will play on Thanksgiving Day at the new Miller Field (Jim McKenna made that promise to me last November).

I honestly had 10-yes ten Viking fans (including 5 parents of Viking players) ask me – Will the field be done for Thanksgiving?

I drove by the field 5 times last week – the signs were promising – Flett Construction is a big time company – they did more work the last tow months – I had a tear in my eye when they removed the lights from the field.

In 1998 – the Light Up Miller Field Committee raised $175,000 to install the lights – “it took a village” raising the money – the future of Vikings football is bright (despite a few negative fans). Sean Driscoll will bring the Vikings another NEC title on the new field. Like ‘Big’ Mike Magrath says – “you get a strong team every 4-5 years.”

Let’s Go Vikings!

Let the Games Begin!



To the Rescue

I am watching ‘Sunday Night Baseball’ on ESPN – the Cleveland Indians vs. the Detroit Tigers on a beautiful Sunday night in July.

The topic of conversation is the health of Terry ‘Tito’ Francona, manager of the defending American League Champions – the Indians.

‘Tito’ was hospitalized this past week to have a heart procedure with his heart and is missing the final six games and all-star game. Tito led the Red Sox to two world championships (2004 and 2007) leading the Red Sox; he is my favorite Red Sox manager.

Last night I experienced for the second time in seven years an emergency and the response and professional work of the Winthrop Fire Department.

We had an emergency in my house and within less than 5 minutes the fire department responded to our house. I spent 12-hours at the Mass. General with a member of my family.

Chief Paul Flanagan and his professional and dedicated staff of firemen did an incredible job.

I salute the Winthrop Fire Department for their work in an emergency situation.

Thanks from the Lederman Family!



The All-Star Break

July is a very slow month for sports – I struggle to watch a d-hour Red Sox game! The Patriots begin practice on July 27th.

The Red Sox are fighting for first place with the hated New York Yankees, despite plenty of injured to the pitching staff!

The future of the Sox with the Killer B’s – Bradley, Benintendi, Betts and Boegarts- – how’s that for four future all-stars?

‘The kid’ – 22 year-old Andrew Benintendi is the second best rookie in baseball!

Look at his swing!

Mookie Betts is a’five star’ player – throw in Christian Vazques at catcher – We need a big second half from David Price ($32-million a year) and some hitting from Hanley Ramirez and we can make the playoffs!

Do I really have to cheer for the Red Sox this summer?

Football in two weeks!

Let the Games Begin!



Agganis All-Stars

Why did Winthrop only have two Agganis games all-stars. Was it the senior trip? The two student athletes – Jack Wallace and Luigi Spinazzola were MVP Players in baseball.

What happened to softball, basketball, lacrosse and football Vikings! We had many outstanding senior athletes – why were there only two Vikings?

Looking at the all-stars two Revere players who were standouts in football – Oscar Lopez and Rivera have not been recruited to college?

Were they two of the culprits who intentionally injured two Viking stars on the holiday?

Eddie Sullivan the Revere quarterback scored 226 lacrosse goals in his career at Revere – he is attending prep school and I’m sure will receive a lacrosse scholarship.

Two Big Blue players (and excellent receivers will go to the University of Rhode Island).

The best NEC athlete (football and basketball) from Marblehead – Bo Millett will play football at Bowdoin!

Revere all-scholastic basketball players – Meaghan Gotham (6’2) will play hoop at Post College (Division 2). She works at Twist and Shout this summer and makes awesome frappes!

Meaghan reported to me she plays with two ex-Lady Vikings – Kristen Siscamanis (Caldwell College) and Nina Bartlette and said they both are excellent players on her summer team. Reminds me of the (2014-2015) Lady Vikings with Niki and Poli Tsiotos (Niki is playing Division 2 – college ball at St. Rose of Albany, New York and playing well) Poli is at UNH! When will Vikings basketball return to the glory years? Change of coaching will make the Vikings return to NEC prominence!

Let the Games Begin!



Apropos of Nothing

The month of July and we have a mix of basketball, baseball and football on the schedule!

Will Danny Aigne (he dominated the sports news) finally have an NBA-All-Star from the 22-players he has drafted) for the Celtics? Jaylen Brown looks like an all-star on his play during the NBA Summer League.

Will the Red Sox eat – (that does not sound correct) the $53 million left on the contract of Pablo Sandoval? Should the Celtics give Isaiah Thomas a ‘max’ contract? He deserves as much money as Kyle Lowry ($100 million) JRue Holliday (5 years (125 million) not even an all-star. Ex-Celtic Evan Turner ($100 million to sign for Portland).

Blake Griffin (5 years – $173 million) the NBA contracts are out of sight! J.J. Redick received a one-year $18 million to shoot three-pointers for the Philadelphia 76’ers!

Sean Stellato has his 10th annual All-American Football Showcase Camp on Sunday, July 23rd at Manning Field in Lynn. For players 6-18 years of age – only $50 for a chance to learn the skills from five New England Patriots players – contact Sean Stellato at 978-210-3195.

Yes football is back in July – Enjoy the summer!

Let the Games Begin!

Former Viking star Johnna Fisher named new head basketball coach at Winchester High School

By Cary Shuman

Johnna Fisher, a former basketball captain at Winthrop High who went on to play at Division 1 Central Connecticut State University, has been named the new head coach of the Winchester High girls basketball team.

At 24, Fisher becomes one of the youngest varsity head coaches in Massachusetts.

It has all happened fast for the 6-foot-3-inch Fisher, who graduated from Winthrop High in 2011 and CCSU in 2015 with a degree in Sociology.

Fisher coached AAU basketball in Connecticut and served as an assistant for one season at UMass/Boston. Fisher learned about the vacancy at Winchester High School following the 2016-17 season.

“There were a few openings in the area for head coaches and I was encouraged by my AAU director to apply for the Winchester job,” said Fisher. “I received a phone call from the Winchester AD, Mark Arria, and he asked me to come in for an interview three weeks ago. I interviewed with a five-member committee and soon after I received a phone call that I had been selected for the position.

“I want to thank Mark Arria and [Winchester High] Principal Dennis Mahoney and the committee members for giving me this opportunity and believing in me.”

Fisher inherits a Winchester Sachems program that is in a rebuilding mode in the highly competitive Middlesex League. Winchester is known for its outstanding girls soccer teams but Woburn, Lexington, Reading,  Watertown, Wakefield, and Belmont have been the perennial contenders in basketball.

“We’re definitely in a rebuilding phase but with some new energy and ideas, and a new slate of coaches we’re going to shock the Middlesex League – that’s my plan,” said a confident Fisher.

A newly rebuilt and redesigned Winchester High School building will open in September.

“There is a lot of excitement in the town about the new school opening and there’s a large incoming freshman class,” said Fisher. “The community is invested in high school sports and they’re excited about the energy I’m going to bring to the program.”

Fisher has named Dave Lebwith and Karl Tenenholtz as assistant coaches and is looking to add a freshman coach to her staff.

Fisher’s introduction to Winthrop basketball came in middle school when she was a junior manager and bench assistant to former head coach, the late Peter Grimes. She became a varsity player as a freshman on Mr. Grimes’s WHS team and had her best season as a senior, averaging more than 20 points per game and being selected to the Northeastern Conference All-Star Team.

“Mr. Grimes was my biggest role model as I strived to impact as many people as I could like he did,” said Fisher. “I feel like I’m following in his footsteps in trying to advance girls basketball and being a successful coach like he was.”

Fisher also credits her father, John, for teaching her the fundamentals as a youth. John added seven inches to his frame after high school to become a 6-foot-6-inch college basketball center himself.

“He taught me a lot but we’ve never officially played one-and-one yet,” said Fisher. “We used to shoot baskets at a court in Revere and he was instrumental in my development as a player.”

Her mother, Michelle, also provided great support in her career. “She drove me everywhere, to games and practices for AAU (Bay State Blizzard) and was at all my games.”

Other “impactful” mentors in Winthrop were former coach Ignacio Oyola and teacher/coach Mike DeFelice. She also served as a peer mentor in Mr. Chris Donnelly’s program for students with special needs.

Fisher also drew inspiration from former teammate Katerina Mallios, who went on to play college basketball at Babson.

“Katerina Mallios was definitely someone I looked up to – she took me under her wing and guided me in the right direction. Even when I competed in college, she was still there as a really good friend to reach out to,” said Fisher.

Fisher coaches in the Mass Huskies AAU organization and just completed a stint as assistant director of a youth camp in Winchester. On the Monday after Thanksgiving, the tall, talented, and high-energy Fisher will officially begin her goal of trying to turn around the fortunes of the Winchester High girls basketball program.

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