WHS sports roundup
WHS boys hockey ties Marblehead, falls to Danvers
One of the oldest and best-known sports axioms is, “A tie is like kissing your sister.”
But for the Winthrop High hockey team, last Wednesday’s 1-1 deadlock with Marblehead was almost as good as a victory.
The Vikings entered the contest at Salem State University sitting in first place in the Northeastern Conference North Division standings with a 7-1 record, with the Magicians holding down second place with a 6-2-1 mark. Winthrop had won the teams’ first encounter by a narrow 3-2 score in the first week of January, and Marblehead clearly needed a victory in order to close the gap with Winthrop in the race for first place in the NEC North.
After a scoreless first period, the Magicians drew first blood in the middle stanza to take a 1-0 lead. However, Winthrop senior captain and leading goal-scorer Sam Yarrow brought the Vikings back to level when he lit the lamp before the end of the period for the 15th time this season, assisted by fellow senior captain Brian Chalmers.
That set the stage for a wild and frenetic final 15 minutes in which both teams had their chances, but were unable to reach the back of the opponent’s net. Marblehead had a great opportunity to pull ahead in the waning minutes, but WHS senior netminder and assistant captain Ryan Skoczylas made a superb save to preserve the tie.
Three days later, the Vikings hosted Danvers, the lone team NEC team to knock off Winthrop this season. The Vikings were intent on achieving not only a measure of revenge for the earlier loss this season, but also were seeking to all-but-clinch the NEC North with a win.
However, a victory was not to be in the cards against a Falcon sextet that is in third place in the division with a 4-4-1 mark, but for some reason seems to have the Vikings’ number.
Danvers took a 1-0 lead after the first period and made it 2-0 in the second before Yarrow notched his 16th goal of the year, assisted by Chalmers, prior to the end of the period.
Danvers made it a two-goal game once again early in the final period, but Yarrow restored momentum to the Vikings’ side with two more lamplighters for a hat trick and adding to his team-high total of 18 goals. Captain Chris Finn assisted on one of the goals and Chalmers and Luke Evangelista earned assists on the other.
However neither a victory nor a tie were in the cards for the Vikings. Danvers scored a goal late in the game and then added another in the waning minutes for the 5-3 finale.
Despite the loss, the Vikings still control their own destiny in the chase for the NEC North crown. Winthrop sports a 7-2-1 division record (11-4-1 overall), while Marblehead is in second place with a 6-2-3 mark. The Vikings can clinch an undisputed title with a win and a tie in their final two NEC North games regardless of whether Marblehead wins its final league tilt.
Coach Dale Dunbar’s crew was set to play one of those NEC North foes, Beverly, last night (Wednesday) at Endicott College’s Ray Bourque Arena. The Vikings then will host Revere in a non-divisional contest on Saturday at Larsen at 1:30 p.m.
They will entertain non-league opponent Mansfield next Saturday (February 16) and will wrap up their regular season on Feb. 20 at divisional rival Saugus.
CHRIS Castro’s buzzer beater gives Vikings win
The Winthrop High boys basketball team pulled out an exciting win on a basket by Chris Castro at the buzzer last Tuesday, defeating Marblehead, 56-54, before an appreciative home fandom at Winthrop High’s Chris Tsiotis court.
The contest was a duel from the opening tap, with both teams ebbing and flowing and neither able to make a decisive break.
The Vikings held a one-point advantage at the half and expanded their lead to 10 points after the intermission.
However, the visiting Magicians came storming back to start the fourth period, bringing the contest back to level. The rivals then began to exchange buckets down the stretch, with Winthrop taking a 54-52 edge with 35 seconds to play.
However, with 0:16 to go, Marblehead scored the deadlocking basket, setting the stage for Castro’s game-winning heroics.The Vikings quickly inbounded the ball and senior Chrono Washington got a great look with two seconds left, but his shot wouldn’t fall.
That left matters up to Castro, who grabbed the offensive rebound and put it in at the buzzer for the dramatic win.
“Anytime we get the ball in the hands of our best player, Chrono, late in the game, he knows how to make things happen and get to the rim,” said WHS head coach Dave Sacco. “We did a good job of spreading the floor and getting a high-quality shot, and fortunately Chris cleaned up the miss for the win.‚Äù
Washington had a superb game, leading the Vikings with 20 points. Sophomore Cam Conway also reached double figures with 16 points.
Three night later the Vikings made the short trek up the coast to Swampcott to take on a Big Blue quintet that was coming off a big win over Everett.
Swampscott came out on fire, hitting for 23 points in the opening period, and going on for a 58-50 win.
‚ÄúWe gave up 23 points in the first quarter and just didn‚Äôt bring the defensive Intensity early,” noted Sacco. “We settled in and gave ourselves a chance late, cutting it to four, but just couldn‚Äôt capitalize.‚Äù
Washington once again paced the Vikings in the scoring department with 17 points. Conway ripped the twine for 15 and Engjell Ramadani reached double figures with 10 points.
Sacco and his crew will make the long trek to Gloucester tonight (Thursday) and will have a busy stretch of three games in four nights next week. They will host Medford on Tuesday and Saugus on Thursday before heading to non-league rival Malden Catholic on Friday.
WHS girls top Malden, 60-24
The Winthrop High girls basketball team put together its most-solid game of the past two weeks to cruise to a 60-24 victory over Malden.
Coach Rick Pulsifer’s Lady Viking offense proved unstoppable in the first half, as the Winthrop girls poured in 39 points en route to accumulating a 25-point lead at the intermission.
The big lead allowed the entire Lady Viking squad to see meaningful playing time with nine of the 10 team members entering the scoring column.
Maura Dorr led the way with 17 points. Teammates Caroline Earl with 13 points and Lily Pulsifer with 10 points also reached double figures.
Carolyn Kinsella contributed six points, followed by Holly Vaccaro with five, Emma Turner and Fatma Tufa with four points each, and Cat Grimes with a free throw.
The junior varsity quintet also enjoyed success, defeating Malden 42-26 behind the scoring of MacKenzie Acevedo with 12 points, Sam Galuris and Alexis Tallent with seven points each, and Julia Marcoccio with six.
Earlier that week, the Lady Vikings dropped a 36-27 decision to Revere. The Lady Patriots held a one-point edge at the half, 15-14, but poor free throw shooting by Winthrop proved the difference after the intermission. Revere hit on 85 per cent of its chances from the line, but the Lady Vikings managed to sink just 36 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe.
Earl paced Winthrop wth eight points, followed by Kinsella with seven, Pulsifer with six, and Dorr with four.
The JV team enjoyed better success, defeating Revere, 42-28, as the Lady Vikings’ trap was too much for Revere to handle.
In a non-league contest with Lynnfield, the Lady Vikings came up just short, 48-43.
The contest was a back-and-forth affair from the outset. Winthrop held a slim 25-24 advantage at the half, but Lynnfield took the initiative after the intermission.
Still, Winthrop remained in striking range as the contest wound down to the final minutes, with back-to-back three-pointers by Pulsifer and Galuris drawing the Lady Vikings within two points.
Winthrop was forced to foul down the stretch, but Lynnfield converted its free throws to seal the victory. Dorr led the way with 14 points, followed by Pulsifer with 10, Earl with eight, Galuris with five, and Kinsella with four.
The junior Lady Vikings also came up short, 23-15, as both teams struggled to find their offense.
Last Tuesday the Lady Vikings absorbed their worst loss of the season, 60-41 to Marblehead.
Winthrop appeared to be headed for an easy victory after the first quarter, holding a 14-2 lead at the buzzer.
However, the Lady Magicians turned the tables in the second period to assume a 24-23 advantage at the half. The contest remained a tight battle after three periods, with Marblehead holding a 38-34 edge, but the fourth quarter was not kind to the Lady Vikings, who yielded 22 points in the final eight minutes.
“We played some really bad stretches of defense that led to poor decisions on offense,” noted Pulsifer. “We knew going into the game that Marblehead is a tough gym to shoot in and it really showed.”
Dorr paced the Lady Vikings in the scoring department with 16 points. Earl and Kinsella both struck for eight, followed by Pulsider with six and Galuris with three.
The JV also dropped its contest to Marblehead, 35-27.
Last Friday the Lady Vikings played well against a strong Swampscott squad, but fell short by a final tally of 48-42.
Winthrop once again moved out to an early lead, 12-8, after the first quarter, but Swampscott fought back in the second period to take a 23-18 advantage at the half. Foul trouble plagued the Lady Vikings in the first two quarters and proved costly, as Swampscott netted seven points from the line compared to none for Winthrop.
However, the Winthrop girls showed their resiliency and fought back after the intermission, drawing even at 33-33. But once again Swampscott’s success from the charity stripe proved decisive, as the Lady Big Blue scored nine of their last 15 points from the line. Notably, Big Blue shooters took 17 attempts from the foul line in the second half compared to just five for Winthrop. In addition, two Lady Vikings fouled out.
“We played good, tough defense, but we had a lot of calls not go our way,” said Pulsifer, noting that his team was awarded only nine attempts from the free throw line, compared 31 for Swampscott. “But that’s something you can’t control and have to play through it,
“I’m proud of the girls for the fight and heart they showed, as it was a one-point game with under a minute left,”, the coach continued. “I’m also proud that we held Swampscott’s leading scorer, Rosa, to only seven points, all of which came from the free throw line.”
Dorr and Turner struck for 10 points apiece, followed by Kinsella with eight, Pulsifer with five, Earl with four, Galuris with three, and Grimes with two.
The Winthrop JV squad defeated their Swampscott counterparts, 34-20, led by Alexis Tallent with eight points, Tessa Ferrandi and MacKenzie Acevado each with seven points, and Sam Galuris with four.
This past Tuesday the Lady Vikings traveled to Peabody to play the top team in the Northeastern Conference.
Winthrop had its hands full from the opening tip because of the Lady Tanners’ size and speed and trailed at the half, 39-14.
Despite their best efforts, the Lady Vikings never got back into it, eventually falling by a final score of 64-35 to the Lady Tanners, who are undefeated in the NEC.
“Even though it was a tough loss, there were still positives to take away,” said Pulsifer. “We stuck with the game plan and attacked the lanes and we were scoring and getting to the line, Peabody’s gym is very similar to Marblehead’s and it is not shooter-friendly, but the girls played hard right to the final whistle.
“Peabody’s freshman standout Okanawa scored 16 points off the bench, and her length on defense was tough to overcome,” added the coach. “I think she deflected more than 20 passes.”
Pulsifer hit for 13 points, followed by Dorr with eight, Kinsella with six, Earl with five, and Turner with three.
The JV also fell to Peabody 44-6, as the offense could not get a friendly roll.
The Lady Viking will host Gloucester this evening (Thursday) in a contest that will be highlighted by Senior Night festivities starting at 6:30. In addition, the sixth grade travel team will play an exhibition game at halftime.
Pulsifer and his crew will hit the road next week, traveling to Medford on Tuesday and to Saugus on Thursday.
Lady Viking hockey drops 5-2 contest
The Winthrop High girls hockey team came up on the short end of a 5-2 decision with Marblehead in a contest played at Salem State University this past Saturday.
The loss eliminates the Lady Vikings from any shot at a possible Northeastern Hockey League title.
“I’ve been coaching here for 11 years now, and this is one of the most disappointing losses I have ever had,” said WHS head coach Anthony Martucci, whose squad now stands at 9-6 and has dropped its past three games. “We beat them earlier in the year handily (6-4), but we just did not show up this time.”
The main highlight for the Lady Vikings was the performance of Olivia Driscoll, who scored both of the Winthrop goals.
The Lady Vikings, who already have qualified for the post-season state tourney, have three games left to play in which they will be seeking to improve their record to attain a high seeding in the tourney.
They were set to meet first-place Peabody last night (Wednesday) at Larsen and will play at second-place Masconomet next Wednesday.
They will wrap up their 2019 regular season with a tilt against non-league rival Winchester on February 20 at Larsen at 6:10.