Winthrop Vikings Fifth-Grade Travel Team Falls Just Short to Danvers in Cal Title Game

Playing four hard-fought 32-minute playoff games on successive days, the Winthrop fifth-grade basketball team fell just shy of claiming a Cape Ann Youth Basketball League title, losing to Danvers, 43-37, in the championship game Sunday afternoon at Salem High School. No one had given Winthrop much of a shot of forcing a winner-take-all game after the Vikings lost to Danvers by 22 points in the winners’ bracket final Saturday morning. But the Winthrop contingent regrouped and defeated Hamilton-Wenham, 34-30, in the losers’ bracket final also held on Saturday. That set up a scenario where Winthrop needed to beat Danvers twice to take home the championship. Led by a sterling 25-point performance by guard Chase Triant, the Vikings edged Danvers, 34-33, to set up a rematch for the title. Triant, certainly one of the league’s best players, banked in the winning five-foot bucket with five seconds left on the clock in the game that was played at Pingree School. The Winthrop-Danvers championship game was a barnburner, with both teams exchanging baskets until the final two minutes when Danvers went on a 6-0 run to take the game and the title. Triant again led the way for Winthrop with 23 points. In the exciting finale, Triant went basket-for-basket with Danvers’ talented guard, Lucas St. Pierre. The son of Mike Triant, the Winthrop travel team and WHS boys varsity basketball head coach, Mike Triant, Chase Triant completed the season averaging 21 points a game. In the finale, Triant went-to-head with Danvers’ talented guard, Lucas St. Pierre. There were other standouts and key individual contributions as well for Winthrop. Treyson Scarpa was very efficient in bringing the basketball downcourt, setting up his teammates for baskets, and grabbing some huge rebounds as well. Max Crocker excelled at both ends of the court for Winthrop during the regular season and in the playoffs. JJ Smith had a dazzling drive down the lane for a basket late in the championship game. “The confidence that JJ has in his game is amazing,” credited Coach Triant. “He knows just what to do in every situation. In that sequence, he just took his defender to the basket.” Rich Vivolo was a star on defense and was given the tough 1-on-1 assignment of slowing down St. Pierre in the games against Danvers. “Rich and JJ were the most improved players on the team from last year,” said Triant. Mike Triant said he was very proud of his players who showed tremendous resiliency in getting to the championship game. “I don’t know another group of fifth graders that could lose to a team by 22 points and then actually believe they could go out and beat that same team twice,” said Triant. “They’re a great group of kids. They’re all very good friends and they enjoy playing sports together, and hopefully they’ll be together for a long time and do special things as athletes.” Mike Triant also thanked assistant coach Joe Ferrara, father of Winthrop players Franco Ferrara, Joey Ferrara, and Tomaso Ferrara, and assistant coach Rich Vivolo, father of defensive leader Rich Vivolo, for their dedication to the team.

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