It was no secret at the start of this basketball season that almost all of the pundits had written off the Winthrop High basketball team. Winthrop had graduated Dino Mallios, Gavin Mahoney, Jake Connors, and a host of other players who had led Winthrop to Northeastern Conference titles and to three straight appearances in the Division 4 North Sectional title game.
Sure, Winthrop had some veteran juniors and seniors returning, but all had seen only limited playing time in the past two seasons. This would be a proverbial rebuilding year for Coach Dave Brown and his Vikings.
Or so the pundits said…
But what the prognosticators had failed to take into account were not only the talent of these returning players, but also the intangibles of heart, soul, and a coach who has instilled in them the discipline to become champions.
Winthrop fans should not think for a moment that it was all a bed of roses for their coach and their Vikings as they progressed toward a state title. Early in the year, after his team had gone through a tough stretch, Brown expressed his disappointment with his charges’ effort and confided that he was not sure if they had what it takes to be a winner.
That low portion of the season proved to be a turning point for the Vikings, who soon regrouped and went on a winning surge that eventually brought them to the apex of schoolboy basketball achievement Tuesday afternoon in the new Boston Garden.
Fans also should realize that the success, which the Vikings have enjoyed year after year, does not just happen. Coach Brown has developed a program at Winthrop High in which players are taught a system which they learn in freshman year. It is a continuum that yields dividends year after year. More important, Winthrop basketball players also learn the values of teamwork and hard work, because no amount of individual talent can bring success unless a team melds together so that its whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
We join with all of our fellow residents in congratulating Coach Brown and his team for bringing the 2011 state championship to Winthrop.
We also express our thanks to the Viking Pride Foundation, whose buses brought Super Fans to the Garden, and to the fans, who not only rooted on our Vikings, but did so in a manner which reflected well upon our entire community.