Sports 03-22-2018

From the Press Box

Touchdown Tony

By: Jim Lederman

Winthrop High has built a strong reputation for championship teams in the long history of the Northeastern Conference. The Vikings captured back to back NEC football titles in 1992 and 1993; The Vikings played host to two Super Bowl championship games at Miller Field with Anthony scoring two touchdowns in both super bowl games.

Anthony ‘Touchdown Tony’ Palmer was one of Winthrop’s greatest three-sport athletes. He was adored by his coaches and teammates for his dedication and was an All-Scholastic standout, leading the Vikings to the titles.

Anthony suddenly passed away last week at the age of 41. He was a legend on the ‘North Shore’ and his record will not be superseded anytime soon.

Anthony scored 195 points in 1993, (leading the state in scoring) On Thanksgiving day in the rivalry game with Revere, he scored 30-points. The Vikings scored a convincing (49-22) victory at Miller Field.

I had the ‘honor’ of dubbing Anthony with the ‘moniker’ ‘Touchdown Tony”. He wanted to have number 16 worn by Chucky Sullivan. I vividly remember watching Anthony signing autographs for many Winthrop youth football players, he was a role model.

The Boston Globe and Herald honored Anthony two years. The Lynn Item named his ‘Player of the year’ in 1992 and 1993.

Anthony was a Harry Agganis All-Star and MVP in the Agganis game. He wore number 33 in honor of Harry Agganis. ‘Touchdown Tony’ was recruited by many Division One college tams. He played at the University of Mass. and Stonehill College.

I had the honor of broadcasting his games and he was inducted into the prestigious Winthrop High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Anthony’s two brothers were outstanding Viking athletes. Chris is assistant Lady Vikings hockey coach. Michael followed Anthony and played four years of Vikings football.

I have been asked many times who was the ‘best back’ to play for Winthrop. I watched Chuck Sullivan (166 points) and Steven Staffier (144 points) Anthony ‘Touchdown’ Tony carried his Viking teammates on his back and his legend will live forever.

We extend our condolence to his mother Grace, son Anthony Jr. and brothers Chris and Michael.

May he rest in peace and may his memory be ‘eternally’ in Vikings folklore.



No More Cookies

Saturday mornings have changed in Winthrop Center. I used to look forward to a trip to “Swett’s Bakery’ on Somerset Avenue. The new office space created by ‘Professor Michael Lucerto Inc.’ located a 7 Somerset Ave. is a magnificent office space.

A trip to the bakery – formerly Swett’s run by the Sabat family and later Fabiano’s Bakery (I can still smell the chocolate chip cookies) for a of Chale Bread, some sour dough, a couple of ‘Boston Crème’ donuts or 6 brownies.  A warm greeting from Dolores Fabiano and Joe Fabiano – it was a Winthrop institution of sweetness we all miss!

Today you can rent office space, have a meeting with all the facilities of a modern office, the space is exciting and has all the technology you need. Stop by the Winthrop Book Depot and Café for coffee and satisfy your sweet tooth next door!

Visit with Professor Lucerto; he is the CEO and host Talk local politics with councilor Lucerto!



A Salute to Frankie

The NEC girls all-star hoop team was released last week. Congrats to Francesca ‘Frankie’ Capone and frosh Maura Doon named to the team.

Frankie had a very successful Vikings sports career. I watched her play as a frosh in a championship soccer game at Manning Field. She was co-captain her senior year in basketball, she was Lady Vikings leading scorer, but ended her senior year with an injury and will have an operation next month. Congrats to Frankie, she will go south to coastal Caroline University!

Maura and her sister were standouts on the Chris Tsiotos Court and the future looks great for the Lady Vikings.

Go Lady Viking!

Let the Games Begin!



Sir Charles

The career of ‘Sir Charles’ Barkley is stronger than ever! I have followed his long NBA career with Philadelphia and Phoenix and his television career wit h the NBA and CBS on college basketball.

Charles is colorful and very opinionated and he is an excellent analysis for college basketball. Charles was one of the greatest rebounders and forwards in NAB history.

I look forward to his predictions for March Madness!

Sir Charles never won an NBA title and a championship ring. He was an All-American hoop player at Auburn University – The Round Mound of Rebound was his moniker.

Let the Games Begin!




Trivia: Can you name the two ex-Viking hockey players that captured the scoring title in the

(NEC) Northeastern Conference?

Can you name the seven (7) ex-Viking football players that led the (NEC) Northeastern Conference in scoring?

Can you name the eight (8) ex-Viking basketball players w ho led the (NEC) Northeastern Conference in scoring?

Can you name the WHS (Winthrop High School) coach who captured seven (NEC) championships in one sport?

The Ivy League has many prestigious schools – Can you name 12 ex-WHS athletes that play for Ivy League schools?

Where are they now? I will continue bringing back Viking teams of the past and highlight t heir achievements.

Twenty-years in 1998 – the Light Up Miller Field Committee raised $175,000 to install lights on Miller Field – next week we will tell the story – it started 20 years ago!

Let the Games Begin!



The State of the Celtics

The NBA playoffs will begin in April and the Boston Celtics face long odds to return to the ‘East Finals.’ The Celtics are in second place in the Eastern Conference.

The Toronto Raptors are in first place (52-17) as of Sunday. Toronto has won 11-straight games. The backcourt of Derozan and Lowry is one of the best in the NBA.

The Cleveland Cavaliers with Lebron James (he calls himself the greatest player in the world – his ‘moniker’ is ‘The King’). That team is a mess; Lebron wants to coach the team. The Cav’s will not win the East!

Coach Brad Stevens is one of the best in the NBA. The future of this great franchise (17 NBA titles) is bright. ‘The Green’ is the youngest team in the league. Danny Ainge has done an incredible job drafting players.

Jason Tatum (20 years old) has an all-star future. Jalen Brown (21 years old) will be an al-star. Ainge drafted Marcus Smart and Terry Roisier.

The Celtics have lost three key players this season. The first game of the season, Gordon Hayward broke his angle and injured his leg. 27 points a game in 2017 and an ‘All-Star,” he will make the Celtics the team to beat next season!

Marcus Smart is one of the best defensive players in the NBA. He injured his thumb and had an operation last week (prognosis is out for 6-8 weeks). His loss could cost the Celtics a chance to reach the ‘East Finals.’ The Celtics also lost Daniel Theis for the season!

The key to the playoffs is the scoring of Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Terry Rozier and how well the ‘bench’ plays.

Stay tuned for an exciting month of April!

Let the Games Begin!



Apropos of Nothing

March Madness – Do you miss Rick Pitino coaching a team in college? It is a pleasure not to watch ‘Coach Pitino’ on the sidelines coaching. He lost his job and they wiped out a championship because of all the ‘recruiting’ illegal moves he did at Louisville, how about Kentucky or his short-term co aching title with the Boston Celtics! Great to see him banned from coaching!

Boston herald headline – ‘Cats’ savior sweet win – Kentucky wins (95-75) on Saturday – the ‘One and Done’ coach John Capipari has an other team with frosh recruit – they play ‘ one year’ and leave to play in the NBA – ‘Coach Cal’ the graduation rate of his players is 10 – percent – Do you miss Coach Pitino or do you cheer for ‘Coach Cal’?

Let’s Go Michigan and Michigan State!

I like Villanova!

Let the Madness Continue!

A prolific point producer

Winthrop’s Tayjaun McKenzie enters the 1,000-point club

By Cary Shuman

The ending of Winthrop High basketball star Tayjaun McKenzie’s career was exciting, dramatic, milestone making – and almost state title producing.

Yes, first-year coach Dave Sacco’s Vikings came oh, so close, to knocking off top seed Pope John XXIII High School of Everett in the Division 4 North quarterfinals,  falling to the Tigers, 63-59, in an overtime thriller. Many fans felt that Winthrop and Pope John were the best teams in the division and as it played out, Pope John did go on to win the state championship.

One tournament game earlier in a come-from-behind 71-62 victory over South Boston at Madison Park High School, McKenzie had etched his name in the record as a 1,000-point scorer.

“I was fouled and I was two points away and I made both free throws,” said McKenzie, who ended up with 24 points and 17 rebounds in the first-round triumph.

The 6-foot-3-inch senior joins his teammate, fellow captain Devin Pulsifer, in the club. Pulisfer had notched his 1,000th career point in a Jan. 12 win over Danvers on the Chris Tsiotos Court. It is not often that two players from the same team accomplish the feat.

McKenzie was 386 points away from the milestone entering his senior year, meaning he had to have a big year (averaging almost 20 points) and remain injury free.

“I definitely felt I could do it,” said McKenzie, who played three seasons for the Vikings. “Last year I scored 414 points, so I knew that’s more than I had to get this year.”

The son of Subrena Service and William Crosby, Tayjaun played his freshman year at KIPP Academy in Lynn and competed in AAU basketball in the offseason. He transferred to Winthrop High and had the opportunity to play in the first basketball season in the school’s brand new gymnasium.

“The new gym was better for shooting the basketball because the ceiling is higher,” he said.

McKenzie now looks back at the Pope John game and wonders what might have been. Pope John had beaten the Vikings twice during the regular season, but the third meeting was a barnburner played before a capacity crowd on the Tigers’ homecourt.

“We felt if we could stop their bigs and protect the paint and contain their guard [Angel Price-Espada], we had a great shot to beat them,” said McKenzie. “Our game plan worked well. Heading in to that game, I felt the winner had a great shot at going all the way in the tournament.”

McKenzie said he enjoyed playing alongside Pulsifer in the backcourt, giving opposing defenses two excellent, long-range shooters to worry about. Each player was selected to the Northeastern Conference All-Star Team. McKenzie also praised 6-foot-8-inch center and first-year varsity player Elliot Frank, saying, “He definitely came on this season. I was really proud of him.”

McKenzie said the decision to come to Winthrop was the best one he’s made. He said the players treated each other respectfully on and off the court and worked hard in practice.

“I love my teammates,” he said.

He is especially thankful to first-year coach David Sacco, who knows all about scoring 1,000 points, having done it himself at Pope John.

“I want to say thank you to Mr. Sacco for always having our back and always encouraging us,” said Sacco. “I’m proud of how he handled the situation of being a first-year coach and I wish him the best of the luck in the future.”

McKenzie is looking to continue his basketball career at the collegiate level, listing Post University, Nichols, Fitchburg State, and Worcester State as potential  opportunities.

How would Tayjaun McKenzie like to remembered by Winthrop High basketball fans?

“As a team player and a winner,” he said.

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