Future Vikings: Winthrop Eighth-Grade Team Wins Two Titles in Three Years

There is a boys’ basketball rebirth hitting Winthrop and coaches Nick Tsiotos and Dean Galuris are piloting the resurgence.

Winthrop’s eighth-grade traveling team is on a roll, having captured North Shore Basketball League titles in 2018 and 2019 and advancing deep in to the playoffs in the 2020 season.

Tsiotos, who teamed with his brother, Chris, to make Winthrop a powerhouse in early 1970s, and Galuris, a force in the Winthrop Riptide youth program, led their team to a 12-2 record this season.

In the two previous seasons, the Winthrop contingent powered through the North Shore to claim back-to-back championships. The ’19 title clincher came in a thrilling, upset victory over an undefeated Beverly team before a packed house in Danvers. George Galuris hit a buzzer beater to give Winthrop a 47-45 win.

What makes the local team’s success all the more inspiring is that Winthrop is one of the smallest communities in the North Shore Basketball League.

This season on December 15 Winthrop lost to Beverly by 23 points, but Winthrop regrouped and stunned Beverly in the rematch at the Winthrop Middle School gymnasium.

“It was an incredible victory,” said Tsiotos. “It showed how much we had improved as a team over the course of the season.”

Tsiotos said the team plays unselfish basketball, relying on balanced scoring and tenacious defense to gain the edge on opponents.

Winthrop employs a three-guard offense with George Galuris, Demetri Koutsouflakis, and Vasili Tsiotos running the show.

Tsiotos had a Sportscenter moment this season when he buried a three-pointer from the corner at the buzzer to give Winthrop a 45-42 victory over Georgetown in the Division 1 playoffs.

Winthrop’s rotation of starting forwards includes Mark Johnson (“He can jump out of the gym,” says Nick), Evan Rockefeller, and Alessio Marcoccio.

Other major contributors to the Winthrop are forward Ryan Harris, a very player good player according to Tsiotos, and guards Ryan Cifuni and Andrew Faretra, and Jake Galuris.

Tsiotos credits assistant coach Dean Galuris, a veteran of the U.S. Marines and a captain in the Massport Fire Department, for laying the team’s foundation through his leadership of the AAU basketball program in Winthrop.

 “I think it’s just been an incredible run,” said Tsiotos. “Most of the players have been together since the fifth grade. The future looks very bright.”

The good news for Winthrop basketball fans is that most, if not all of the players, will be attending Winthrop High School in the fall.

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