Successful Season for Middle School Basketball Teams

The Winthrop Middle School girls and boys basketball teams both enjoyed successful seasons this past year. On the girls’ side, the junior Lady Vikings capped off a superb campaign with a 24-12 victory over Swampscott in their season finale to conclude the 2023 season with an impressive 9-2 record. Head coach Brynn Durkee’s squad was led all season by a strong starting five consisting of eighth graders Grace McCurdy, Alex Ross, Sophia Sarnaglia, and Sara Yepes, and seventh grader Helena Gajica. The team was rounded out by four newcomers to the game, seventh grader Mia Rosas-Young and sixth graders Isabella Costigan, Jolee Hanson, and Diana Stockbridge, all of whom showed great improvement throughout the season. The Lady Vikings prided themselves on their relentless defense, which generated much of their offense. “They never were afraid to grab the ball out of an opponent’s hands,” said Durkee. “The team, especially Sara (Yepes) and Helena (Gajica), excelled at forcing jump balls and turnovers. Alex (Ross) and Sophia (Sarnaglia) were always ready for the steal, turning many opponent’s mistakes into lay-ups, while Grace (McCurdy) worked hard underneath grabbing rebounds. “The team was very competitive and brought their never give-up attitude day-in and day-out,” continued Durkee, who was assisted in the coaching duties by Mike Gagnon. “Throughout the season, they endured some tough game-time situations and every player stepped up when needed in order to help the team succeed. “It was a pleasure for the coaches to work with such a great group of girls,” Durkee added. For the boys, the team was comprised of players whom head coach Aaron Daigneault described as “some veteran good kids, a few all-around ball players, and some of the higher young potential we have had in years. “We notched several wins with a focus on zone defense and half-court traps, coupled with an early offense at the rim that transitioned to a patient offense that moved the ball,” added Daigneault. “The backcourt duo of Desmond Cassidy and CJ Cifuni carried the load of pushing the ball, directing the O & D sets, and settling us down to our tempo,” said Daigneault. “Our notable ‘bigs,’ Lucas Dos Santos Souza and Adam Mouhib, defended and attacked the paint and provided strong rebounding. “A promising future Viking to watch is swingman Joseph Schettino,” continued Daigneault. “Joseph is the Swiss Army knife of hoopers, who can do it all, from point guard to mixing it up in the paint. If Joe stays focused on skill improvement and mental toughness with that positive attitude, he will be a very special player.” Rounding out the 2023 squad were Dario Cerasani, Alex Correa, Chris Crocker, Thomas D’Amico, Johnny and Michael Ferrara, Michael Noonan, Jeremy Pena, Owen Pumphret, Nick Rich, and Cleison Sarnagalia. “They all showed up working hard each and every day, always challenging their teammates to be better players,” Daigneault added. “It was a great season and a fun group to coach. It’s an exciting future for Winthrop basketball.”

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