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Goalies prominent among finalists for Travis Roy Award

Sport: Hockey (Boys)  Posted: March 11th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Goalies prominent among finalists for Travis Roy Award
Biddeford's Tony Dube and Falmouth's Derek Kump are two of the four candidates as the top Class A senior hockey player.

By RACHEL LENZI, Staff Writer March 11, 2008

Two goalies are among the four finalists for one of high school hockey's most coveted individual honors.

Derek Kump of Falmouth and Tony Dube of Biddeford are finalists for the 13th annual Travis Roy Award, given to the top senior in Class A hockey.

The Maine Class A Coaches Association on Monday announced the finalists for the award, given for academic achievement, community involvement and playing ability. Dube and Kump joined Lewiston right wing Jon Roy and Messalonskee center Matt DelGiudice as this year's finalists.

"Those are players who are representative of hockey in Maine," said Kump. "To be among those names, it's an honor."

The award will be presented at a banquet that begins at noon Sunday at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center in Lewiston. Jeff Libby, a former Waterville High and University of Maine hockey standout, will be the keynote speaker.

Dube helped Biddeford to a 24-0 season and its second straight Class A championship.

He recorded a goals-against average of 1.00 and a saves percentage of .957 in 18 games. Dube has a three-year record of 46-9 and a 1.45 GAA.

"It's a great individual honor but it also says a lot for our program," said Dube, who hopes to play at the University of New England next year. "To have two people nominated (Nick Reny was a semifinalist) for the award, for the program it's huge.

"For any elite player in high school hockey, to be a finalist is an absolute honor."

Kump finished with nine shutouts this season, and school records of 17 shutouts and 48 wins, with a 1.50 goals-against average.

Kump is Falmouth's third Travis Roy Award finalist in four years, joining Peter Gustavson (who won in 2005) and James Tolan (2007).

"My freshman year, having the pleasure of playing with Peter, and seeing the dedication and effort he and James put in, it helped me become the best player I could be," said Kump, who plans to play junior hockey next season.

Roy helped Lewiston win its fourth straight Eastern Class A title, scoring 26 goals and 24 assists.

DelGiudice is Messalonskee's second finalist in three years, joining 2006 winner, Ted Fabian.

DelGiudice had 28 goals and 37 assists for the Eagles, and finished with a four-year total of 57 goals and 107 assists.

"They are all amazing athletes," said Dube, who with Reny was one of two semifinalists from Biddeford before the field was pared from eight to four. "Jon Roy is a great player, and Matt DelGiudice, his stats speak for themselves. And Derek Kump, in my opinion, has to be the best high school hockey goalie."

Kit Smith of Brunswick won last year. Smith is a freshman at Bowdoin College, where he plays hockey and lacrosse.

The award is named for Travis Roy, the former Yarmouth resident and North Yarmouth Academy player who was paralyzed from injuries sustained 11 seconds into his first shift at Boston University in 1995.

Roy lives and works in Boston, where he is a motivational speaker who works with the charity that bears his name, which raises money and provides grants for research and medical equipment for people with spinal injuries.

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

Oriakhi would have helped LHS

Sport:   Posted: March 10th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Oriakhi would have helped LHS
By Barry Scanlon100
Article Last Updated: 03/10/2008 03:47:16 PM EDT

Random thoughts about the classic Lowell-Central Catholic boys basketball game Saturday now that my heart’s stopped racing:

• The scary part about Central center Carson Desrosiers isn’t that he blocked nine shots and altered a half-dozen other ones.

The really scary thing about the 6-foot-9 Desrosiers is the fact that he’s only a sophomore.

“I think he’s the guy that makes them the team they are,” Lowell coach Scott Boyle said last night. “I think he’s 6-10. I think he’s grown. He’s a very good player and he’s only a sophomore. Picture him as a senior.”

• Boyle didn’t mention it, but can you imagine how strong Lowell would have been had Alex Oriakhi enrolled at Lowell High and Ronald Gitlaye stayed a Red Raider?

Oriakhi, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound power forward at the Tilton School in Tilton, N.H., and Gitlaye, an athletic 6-foot-6 forward starring at a Delaware high school, would have been Lowell seniors.

They were part of a nearly-unbeatable eighth grade travel team along with star Lowell player Matt Welch.

Gitlaye, who played at Lowell as a freshman before going the prep school route, is a coveted player by Division 1 college recruiters, while Oriakhi, who never became a Red Raider, long ago committed to play for Jim Calhoun at the University of Connecticut. Low-post battles between Desrosiers and Oriakhi would have
been interesting Saturday, to say the least.

• Lowell High has fielded a boys basketball team since 1900 and the 2007-08 edition was the first team to win 23 games, a remarkable accomplishment.

Much of the credit goes to Welch and senior classmates David Brown, Jaime Shannon, Nick Schermerhorn, Fernando Perez, Sarnoh Lepolu, Osvaldo Gonzales and Kevin Muiruri.

“I thought they deserved a state title. We talked about it,” Boyle said. “What you get and what you deserve are sometimes two different things.”

• Where does Welch rank among the great LHS athletes? I’d have to put him near the summit. The University of New Hampshire-bound football star is a terrific basketball player. There’s not many 6-foot-6 wing players who can shoot the ball like Welch.

While on the subject of all-time great LHS athletes, spotted in the crowd Saturday night were two of the best, basketball standout Tracy Mitchell and football star Blake Galvin.

• The atmosphere at Tsongas Arena was nothing short of electric. A standing-room-only crowd of 6,500. Chanting student bodies. Two of the best teams in the state, separated by 15 or so miles.

“It was phenomenal,” Boyle said.

Tonight, however, when Central plays B.C. High in a state semifinal at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, there will be thousands of empty seats — the building, while state of the art, is simply too big for Massachusetts high schools to fill.
Why not play the final three rounds — sectional finals, state semifinals and state championship games — at facilities like Tsongas? It’s not Boston, it’s not the big city, but the atmosphere Saturday night will not be duplicated.

Knights win South crown

Sport:   Posted: March 10th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Knights win South crown
By Rob Duca
March 10, 2008 6:00 AM


Members of the Sandwich boys hockey team hoist up the Division 2 South trophy they claimed after beating Franklin in a shootout on Sunday.MERRILY LUNSFORD/Cape Cod Times

BOURNE — Sandwich High coach Derackk Curtis had a premonition that yesterday's Division 2 South Sectional boys hockey final against Franklin High would come down to a shootout.

So he spent a portion of Saturday's practice determining who would be his five skaters if the situation arose.

"It was kind of foreshadowing, I guess," he said. "But we took the time to make the point that the game could come down to that, and if it did we wanted to be prepared."

They were. After the teams battled through a scoreless regulation and eight-minute overtime, the South championship was decided in a shootout that went beyond five skaters to a sixth before the second-seeded Blue Knights finally prevailed 3-2, giving them a 1-0 victory at a packed Gallo Ice Arena.

Matt Cassista scored the shootout-winner after the score was deadlocked at 2-2 through the first round, and goalie Pat Harrington made it stand up with a final save, sending Sandwich (19-2-3) to the state final against North champion Wilmington (a 4-3 shootout winner over Tewksbury) next Sunday at 2:45 p.m. at TD Banknorth Garden. Eighth-seeded Franklin finishes 15-6-3.

"I wasn't expecting to go up there, so I was just excited," Cassista said. "I went down, took a shot and it went in."

He did a bit more than that. He lofted a wrist shot to the short side that sailed over the shoulder of goalie Jeff Kaplan. Farrington then held the short side with a pad save against Tony Degrazia, setting off a wild celebration.

"I could tell he was going short side, so I just stayed there, put my pad down and made the save," Farrington said.

Thus ended a game that was mainly about goaltending. The story through regulation and the first overtime was Kaplan, this year's Hockomock League MVP. The junior netminder was sensational, stopping 32 shots, including three clean breakaways and numerous other sparkling Sandwich opportunities.

Kaplan was the principal reason that the Panthers made it to a shootout.

"I thought we outplayed them the whole game. Their goalie kept them in," Curtis said. "But we've been in a position where we had to keep our composure and stick to the game plan, and not get frustrated. Sometimes when you get a little too focused on not being able to score you start pressing, and you start running around."

For much of the game, Farrington stood at the opposite end of the ice watching his teammates attack the Franklin zone. He only faced 10 shots during regulation and another two in OT. So there could have been reason to worry that he might be a tad cold for the shootout.

And, oh yeah, he's also a freshman.

But Curtis wasn't concerned.

"We knew we had something special in Pat about halfway through the season," he said. "We put him in some of the bigger games and he was able to step up to the test. I had complete faith in Pat. I wasn't nervous at all. He might be a freshman, but he doesn't play like a freshman."

The Panthers opened the shootout and Farrington stood tall as Matt Hurst fired wide. Sandwich's Casey Helms then also missed the net.

Farrington came up big on Franklin's next attempt, flashing out his right leg to deny Nate Webber's backhander. But Kaplan was also up to the challenge, stopping Garrett Lessard to keep the shootout scoreless.

Brett Lerner beat Farrington between the legs to give Franklin a 1-0 edge, and Sean Gallagher matched him with a pretty top-shelf shot to the glove side.

"(Kaplan) was excellent. It was hard to beat him," Cassista said. "We didn't do it until the shootout."

Farrington made superb glove saves on the next two Franklin shooters, while Craig Brubaker scored to the 5-hole for a 2-1 Sandwich lead. Down to their final shooter, the Panthers tied it when Mike Iacobucci got Farrington to commit early and lifted a back-hander into the open side.

That sent the shootout into sudden death, and Franklin figured to hold the edge with its MVP goalie. But his freshman counterpart had other ideas.

Staff writer Rob Duca can be reached at 508-862-1177 or rduca@capecodonline.com.

What's next for Knights

Sunday, March 16: MIAA Division 2 state boys hockey final, Sandwich (19-2-3) vs. Wilmington (17-2-4) at TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, 2:45 p.m.

Click here for complete hockey brackets.

Westfield bests Longmeadow

Sport:   Posted: March 10th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Westfield bests Longmeadow
Monday, March 10, 2008

Westfield 2 Longmeadow 1

SPRINGFIELD - Ryan Leonard didn't have the kind of season to place him among the elite players during the regular season.

But what happens during the regular season can be so different come tournament time.

Leonard scored at 8 minutes, 42 seconds of the third period to snap a tie and lift Westfield to the Western Massachusetts High School hockey Division III championship following a 2-1 victory over Longmeadow yesterday before 2,281 fans at the MassMutual Center.

Westfield (13-5-4) will play Gardner (18-1-4) in the state semifinals Thursday at 8 p.m. at the DCU Center in Worcester. The winner of that game advances to the state championship game Sunday at TD Bank North Garden.

Leonard, a sophomore, had five goals and seven assists for 12 points during the Berry Division season. But he was in the right place at the right time in the title game.

"This is unbelievable," Leonard said. "Goes to show as long as you work hard, anybody can do it, and I'm thankful that it was me who scored the goal."

"Ryan has come a long way, and he's playing physical, aggressive hockey," Westfield coach C.B. "Moose" Matthews said. "Now he has a nose for the net, and that sure was a pretty goal."

Leonard wasn't the only kid who was all right. Sophomore goalie Alex Wiggs had a strong, 17-save performance, and the only goal he yielded was to a sophomore, Devan Joyce.

Longmeadow, which won five of its six previous games, didn't let Westfield's top scorers dominate the game. Sean Frere scored the Bombers' first goal, but Corey Bellamy and Rich Asselin were watched closely by the Lancers.

"When you've got so many good players on a team like we do, no one person has to do everything," said Bellamy, who had a natural hat trick in last March's championship game against East Longmeadow. "I so happy for Ryan - he works so hard, and he's just awesome."

Leonard crashed the net just as the puck caromed off the back dasher and was picked up by Dan Ross, who delivered it out front. Leonard powered a shot past Billy Mooney (22 saves) to give Westfield its second consecutive sectional championship and fourth in six seasons.

"I was in front of the net and all alone, and I went to my backhand and it went in," Leonard said.

Longmeadow, which won the two years Westfield didn't, played very well, too.

"I knew this would be a tough game because Longmeadow's got scrappers and battlers," Matthews said. "They're not quitters, and you've got to give that team credit."

Longmeadow finished 11-9-1.

"Our kids came together and really played their hearts out," said Longmeadow coach Jim Joyce, who coached Leonard in youth hockey (MassConn). "There's not many teams who can play with Westfield, and I'm very proud of them."

The second period ended with a Longmeadow flurry in front of the net. Wiggs made a couple of key saves, and the Lancers were not able to capitalize on rebounds.

Wiggs came up big to thwart a breakaway by Sean McDermott. Chris Hess had an open net, but couldn't get a shot off in traffic.

The Bombers pulled even at 1-1 at 4:08 of the second period.

Brian Moran took a shot from the point that Sean Frere stopped with his stick. He lifted a backhand high over Mooney's right shoulder for the tying tally.

Mooney denied a short-handed bid by Bellamy shortly before the goal. Bellamy did draw a penalty on the play, but the Bombers failed to convert the power play.

Westfield carried play for most of the first period, but the Bombers trailed 1-0 after the opening 15 minutes.

Devan Joyce scored on a redirection with 3:28 remaining in the period. Hess took a shot from the left point. It went through a crowd of players before it was tipped by Joyce past Wiggs.

"I knew after that one, they wouldn't get another one," Wiggs said.

The goal came on Longmeadow's third shot of the game. Westfield had six straight shots on goal to open the game and held Longmeadow without a shot for 8:28.

ICE CHIPS: Ludlow High School was presented with the MIAA's James F. Mulloy Sportsmanship Award. Team captains John Barlow and Mark Evans accepted the award ... Westfield team manager Lindsey Bellamy sang the national anthem ... Gardner beat Hudson, 5-3 in the Central Mass. final Saturday in Worcester to claim its sixth sectional championship ... A would-be goal by Bellamy was negated with 31.5 seconds remaining because the net was dislodged.

Greenfield waves hello to IIIA title

Sport:   Posted: March 10th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Greenfield waves hello to IIIA title
Monday, March 10, 2008

Greenfield 7 Agawam 4

SPRINGFIELD - Tym Dore's theory on winning hockey seems perfectly suited for a kid his age.

After his Greenfield High School team defeated Agawam 7-4 yesterday to win the inaugural Western Massachusetts Division IIIA championship, the senior espoused his thoughts on the relationship between offense and defense.

There's no secret what Dore, a forward, thinks is the Green Wave's dominant unit.

"Defense wins games, but the offense definitely helps," said Dore, who had two goals and an assist. "And the ladies love offense."

A combined 2,281 fans attended this game and the Division III final between Westfield and Longmeadow.

The Green Wave (20-1-2) used a four-goal first period to set the tone for an impressive victory against the Brownies, who tied Greenfield earlier this season.

Those early goals gave sophomore goalie Austin Urkiel the confidence he needed to put up a performance to remember. There may be more championships, but Urkiel learned there's nothing that compares to the first one.

"That helped me because I could keep my head in the game more," Urkiel said of the 4-1 cushion. "My heart was racing (before the game)."

An early save on an Agawam breakaway, one of Urkiel's 19 in the game, seemed to banish his butterflies permanently. His defense, led by Mark Glidden and Sam and Chris Dedinas, worked hard to ensure their young goalie had a relatively easy day.

"Austin didn't play like a young goalie today," Greenfield coach Mike Duclos said. "I'm definitely a defensive guy; you start from the goalie up."

Having talented snipers like Dore and Carl Ihrelius doesn't hurt either. Both forwards had two goals apiece, and Matt Dore handed out four assists. Ihrelius had two goals in the first period, joined by Tym Dore and Roger Conant.

After Ihrelius scored first only 1:44 into the game, Agawam (12-8-3) tied it on a Mason Richard tally almost seven minutes later. Tym Dore's first goal less than a minute later stemmed the tide and allowed the Green Wave to roll.

"We knew what we were up against," said Duclos, still dripping from his postgame water drenching. "I didn't want to get in a shootout with a team like this."

In recent years, the Green Wave could always score in bunches, but mostly from only one top line. This year, the addition of Ihrelius, a Swedish exchange student, gave the team a tremendous anchor for a second line that could provide just as much punch as the first.

"It was nice because we could throw either line out there and get goals," Tym Dore said. "That was the nicest part."

Agawam junior goalie Steve Fiedler also played pretty well, especially in holding Greenfield to only one goal in the second period. He finished with 24 saves.

The Brownies gave their vocal cheering section something to hold their heads high about by scoring a pair of late goals by Brett Barker and Colin Hensel.

Greenfield's victory capped an exciting first run for the IIIA tournament, which was only approved by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association with about a month left in the season.

The Green Wave won't be moving on to a state semifinal, but that's totally fine with Duclos, who will gladly bring home Greenfield's first sectional title in 37 years.

"If any team deserved it, it was this one," Duclos said.

CM 3, BC High 2:The Boston Globe

Sport:   Posted: March 10th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

CM 3, BC High 2:The Boston Globe
Collins lifts CM in OT
By Matt Porter
Globe Correspondent / March 10, 2008

LOWELL - The game had all the makings of a classic, and delivered.

Longtime rivals BC High and Catholic Memorial, who have owned the Super 8 since its inception, each came in with one loss in this year's tournament. A berth in the next round was on the line. This was the only game that mattered.

In a game filled with drama, it was no surprise that it came down to a breakaway in overtime.

At 3:09 of the extra period, Mike Collins scored to cap a 3-2 win for the Knights. It knocked out the defending champions, and exacted revenge for a 1-0 loss in last year's semifinal.

"Of course," said BC High goalie Sam Marotta, "It had to be Collins."

The senior captain, one of CM's most talented scorers, broke in with the game on his stick. He loaded up and slung a wrister at the net. It flew past Marotta's blocker, glanced off the post and in.

Cue the celebration.

It had started much differently. BC High controlled the puck in CM's zone, and senior Brian Sullivan's backhand beat Tom Conlin 26 seconds in.

Just 2:31 later, the Eagles added another. Senior Rob Dongara took Sullivan's outlet pass and motored up the right side. He was forced to the outside by Knights defenseman Garrett Noonan, but Dongara faked a wraparound and tossed the puck backward. It bounced cleanly off Noonan's stick and slid between Conlin's pads.

But the Knights answered. They had 22 seconds of power-play time left to start the second period, but only 15 had elapsed when Noonan walked in and beat Marotta (26 saves) to cut the lead in half.

"Nothing bothers Garrett," said CM coach Bill Hanson. "He puts that right behind him."

The Knights (16-2-3) tied the game at 5:45 of the second period. From the blue line, Noonan whipped a shot at Marotta, who made the save but lost the puck. Knights forward Derek Colucci snapped it home.

For Dongara and the Eagles (12-6-5), it was a tough loss to take.

"This has been the best three years of my life. It's tough to let it go," said Dongara. "That was the hardest we've ever played."

BC High coach Joe McCabe said the loss put him in an unfamiliar and unenviable position.

"I don't really know what to do with myself this week, because we've never had it off," he said. "The sun will come up tomorrow, I guess."

Gorham hockey coach steps down

Sport: Hockey (Boys)  Posted: March 10th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Gorham hockey coach steps down
By Tom Minervino
Sports Writer

GORHAM (March 6, 2008): The only coach to win a playoff game in Gorham High School hockey’s 14-year history has resigned.

Eric Wales stepped down at the conclusion of this year’s 5-15 campaign, his third as head coach of the Rams. His overall record was 30-33.

“I just felt that for the best interest of the program, it was time for me to step aside,” Wales said.

Wales served as an assistant under Norm Gagne during the 2004-05 season. When Gagne left Gorham after one season to take the head job at Lewiston High School — his current position — Wales took the reins of the Rams.

In his first year, Gorham finished the regular season at 19-1 and was the sixth seed in Western Maine Class A. After an 11-2 preliminary-round win over Bonny Eagle, Gorham's first-ever playoff win, the Rams avenged their only regular-season loss by upending Kennebunk 4-2 in the quarterfinals. Kennebunk had handled Gorham 10-3 in the regular season.

Gorham fell in the semifinals to Scarborough 4-2 to finish the year 21-2.

“The playoff run to the semifinals in the ’05-’06 season was awesome,” Wales said.

It also meant a tougher schedule the next year. Moving up from a tier-three schedule to a tier-one schedule, the Rams struggled, going 4-16 and missing the playoffs.

Wales described the past season’s slate as “upper-middle tier.” The 5-15 finish left the Rams in 13th place. The top 12 made the tournament.

“The first year he came in, we had a great run,” said Gorham athletic director Gerald Durgin, who said Wales informed him of his decision to resign toward the end of the season. “Then we moved up from third tier to first tier. … That scheduling, it’s tough. It’s very, very tough. I don’t think most people realize just how tough it is.”

Wales said it’s not only the schedule that made things difficult.

“At Gorham, it’s kind of a tough situation because it’s not paid by the school,” he said.

The hockey program for both boys and girls is booster-funded and pay-to-play. Gorham High School pays for coaching salaries, buses and game officials, said Jim Gregoire, the president of the Gorham Ice Hockey Boosters Association. The rest is left up to the boosters.

The boosters raised about $15,000 this year to help offset the costs to players, Gregoire said. The boosters club funds JV and varsity programs for the high school as well as the middle school hockey program, operating on a combined budget. Total costs come out to $40,000 to $55,000 per year, Gregoire said, leaving a large chunk to be funded through registration costs.

Registration is $400 for the first player in a family, with additional players paying $150 each according to Gregoire. The cost covers insurance, game jerseys, socks and equipment bags, and helps pay for ice time — a precious and expensive commodity, often only available at odd hours at distant rinks.

"We pay a premium for ice time," Gregoire said. "We have to fight for ice time."

It is a big commitment for parents and players of both time and money, Wales said. He applauds the efforts of the boosters, but added that the pay-to-play format can make it tough on the coach, as parents are financially vested in the program.

“I think they have more reason to complain … when money comes out of their pocket,” Wales said. “They feel they have more leverage. They have to work very hard and they raise a lot of money. You have to say God bless them."

It’s not an easy situation for anyone involved, Wales said. The quick turnover of coaches — the school has had seven hockey coaches in 14 years — suggests a need for change in his view.

“I’m concerned for the future of the program,” Wales said. “Either the school needs to step up to the plate and pay for the program or it should consider cutting the program.”

Wales said this year was especially difficult because too much of his time was spent dealing with off-ice issues related to the program.

“The least amount of time was spent coaching,” he said. “It just wasn’t fun.”

He said he loves working with kids and loves coaching — which made his decision to resign anything but an easy one.

“One of the greatest things to see is a little freshman come in and play hockey and grow into a senior and leader of the team,” Wales said.

A teacher at Westbrook Regional Vocational School, Wales coaches girls varsity lacrosse and JV golf in Portland during the spring and fall seasons. As for next winter, he may be back on the ice.

“If I do anything next winter, I may volunteer some time with a varsity hockey team, pass some pucks around, just have fun,” he said. “All in all, it was a good four years and it’s time to move on.”

Bonny Eagle's Simonds is coach of the year

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: March 10th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Bonny Eagle's Simonds is coach of the year
By Adam Howard

STANDISH (March 10, 2008): Last month, the Bonny Eagle boys’ basketball team finished their season with a preliminary round loss to Westbrook. The Scots overcame a lot of adversity this season, including some that started before they played their first game.

Before the team began their preseason workouts, senior Casey McKague was sidelined with some health issues that prevented him from playing at all this year. McKague was an important part of the team that they had to learn to play without.

Over the course of the season, the injuries piled up. At one point the Scots were left with just six varsity players. Only two of which were considered at the beginning of the year to be starters.

But through it all, there was coach Rick Simonds. Somehow through all of the setbacks and the patchwork lineups, Simonds led the Scots to an 8-10 record and a tournament berth for the fifth straight year under his guidance. All of that led the SMAA coaches to vote Simonds their coach of the year.

“To be selected as coach of the year was both a surprise and distinct honor,” Simonds said. “I prefer to look at this as a team award because it was their refusal to quit or get discouraged that allowed us to upset some of the finest teams in our league and play others tough. It was the first time that it went to a coach whose team was not at the top of the league standings and to be voted by your peers certainly says a lot.”

The Scots certainly made their mark this year with a few upsets along the way and some close finishes with top teams. In January, they knocked off perennial powerhouse Deering. Early in the season they outplayed Portland for three quarters before the Bulldogs pulled away. They nearly added Thornton Academy to their list of victims late in the regular season.

“I really want to compliment coach Simonds for having such a great year with such adversity,” said Gorham coach Kevin Jenkins. “He has had different kids out there every game and they’ve been banged up but they won eight games. They beat Deering, but they lost some close games to some good teams. I think he deserves to be coach of the year in the SMAA. He did a great job. No one else could have withstood the losses they have and had a tournament team.”

Windham coach Kevin Millington, whose team faced Bonny Eagle twice, said Simonds deserved the honor as well.

“Coach Simonds has done an awesome job with that team,” he said “You have to tip your cap to Bonny Eagle. With all their injuries coach Simonds has done as good a coaching job as I have seen in my 11 years in the league.”

Panther softball heads to Florida for spring training

Sport: Softball  Posted: March 10th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Panther softball heads to Florida for spring training
The Courier-Gazette

By Mark Haskell

    WALDOBORO — The Medomak Valley softball team is hoping that a trip to the happiest place on Earth, will make them the final team standing in Class B this season.

    The Panthers, thanks largely to the parents and friends of the Medomak Valley High School softball program, will attend Disney’s Softball Spring Training camp from April 5 to April 12, at the Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

    MPA regulations prohibit coaches and players to directly take part in the fundraising process in the off-season, so both the parents, friends and the Medomak Valley Sports Boosters worked feverishly over the past six months to raise money to make the trip possible. Some of the different methods included raffles, dances, bottle drives, yard sales, softball tournaments and a few donations since the effort began in September. Since that time, $14,373 was raised to help get the Panthers to the Sunshine State.

    Families of the players were asked to come up with $200 each as a commitment to the cause and to help get the ball rolling with the fundraising process. The money raised from the Sports Boosters funded the remaining cost of the trip.

    The buzz about the possibility of a trip first started in May, after the No. 5 Panthers fell 6-1 to No. 1 Winslow in the Eastern Class B semifinals.

    “It was a concept over the summer, but we never got formal about it until September,” said Kyle Santheson, who helped spearhead the fundraising efforts. “We had a meeting and asked for some volunteers and with my affiliation to the boosters club, I volunteered to lead the fundraising effort.”

    After gaining the approval of Medomak Valley Principal Harold Wilson, Athletic Director Matt Lash, Superintendent Pamela Carnahan and the school board, the fundraising began at the beginning of the school year.

    “It’s a great opportunity,” said Lash. “A lot of the premiere teams in the state do this every other year or so, and the group of parents are very thankful to the superintendent, to Principal Wilson and the school board to allow this to happen. They [the parents] have put a lot of work into this.”

    Medomak Valley coach Glenn Barbour, assistant coach Richard Vannah, Panthers Rachel Lee, Kayla Vannah, Kayla Santheson, Danica Simmons, Tessa Dodge, Ashley Hunt, Miranda Conary, Melissa Kent, Melissa Ambridge, Rachel Keefe, Olivia Jameson, Jessica Koon, Kelsi Severson, manager Kelly Wilcox and a handful of parents/chaperones will fly to Orlando 12 days after pitchers and catchers report to practice. The Panthers will stay at the All-Star Sports Resort on Disney Property.

    “It speaks volumes of the commitment of the families involved,” said Santheson. “This is a huge project. You’ll notice in most fundraising efforts you’ll get the initial spike and then it just wanes off toward the end. But people have really come through on this one and all 14 families have been heavily involved since day one.”

    The Panthers have also been contacted by another team about playing a 10th game. With the possibility of 10 games looming and six preseason games as well back at home, Medomak Valley would have played the equivalent of the entire 16-game schedule before the start of the regular season.

    “Hopefully that will equal continuity on the field, intuitiveness and just the ingredients you need to be a state champion contender,” said Lash.

    This is not an uncommon trip to make as teams from Bonny Eagle, Lincoln Academy, Biddeford, Falmouth, Hall-Dale, St. Dominic, Wells, Presque Isle and Winslow will all make the journey before the start of the 2008 season. However Medomak Valley is the only Maine team to take part during the week of April 3. The Panthers will face teams from New York, Minnesota, Kentucky, Vermont, Michigan and South Carolina.

    The Panthers currently have nine games scheduled with three double headers and a triple-header on tap. They also have three batting cage sessions scheduled as well as two practices. Although they will certainly have fun off the field as well as on, the girls will have time designated to study as well since they are taking a week off from classes.

    “We have a three-day park hopper as part of the package,” said Santheson. “It’s not just softball from the day we get there until the day we get back. We have some down days, we will be scheduling in some study time and making contact with teachers to make sure everyone is grade eligible and that they are caught up with their work.”

    “That was a big concern that the board had,” said Lash. “And I did as well. But when you look at their academic history, you don’t have to worry about that. Certainly they will have some fun on top of softball and schoolwork, but they aren’t going down there for a vacation by any means.

    The point of the trip, according to both Lash and Santheson, is to ensure that the girls will be working together as a team both off the field and on once the first pitch is fired April 28 in their home opener at Camden Hills.

    “Obviously going to Disney doesn’t guarantee anything when it comes to the season,” said Santheson. “The reason they are going is to get some field time, but it’s also a team building exercise. We want to bring the girls together as a team first before you get them out on the field, and I think they’re really becoming that.”

    They want to get to that next level,” said Lash. “You can tell they are hungry to build on last year, and there is no reason that they can’t.”

WIZ Words: ALL WIZ Team 2007-2008

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: March 10th, 2008 by Tom Nolette


WIZ Words: ALL WIZ Team 2007-2008

Another season has come and gone. Each year after the season is over The WIZ selects his All WIZ Team.

The criterion used is based on play throughout the regular H.S. season and the MPA season ending tournament. A lot of things are taken into consideration when selecting the players that make the All WIZ Team. Some of the criteria factors The WIZ uses are:

   1. How much has the player contributed to the overall success of his team.
   2. Skill level (Way above average, above average, average or below average.)
   3. Athleticism (Jumping ability, offensive moves, how well the player runs the court.)
   4. Basketball IQ. (Basketball smarts, how well the player knows the game.)
   5. Team Leadership (Demonstrates leadership during the game and after the game.)
   6. Ball handling skills (Dribbling, passing and creating.)
   7. Court awareness (Knows where players are, knows what to do under certain situations.)
   8. Attitude (Knows how to conduct himself under frustrating or pressure situations.)
   9. Defensive abilities (Can the player stop the man he is covering? Knows when and when not to help out.)
  10. PPG (Points per game.)
  11. RPG (Rebounds per game.)
  12. Asst. (Assist per game.)
  13. Recruitment (Is the player being actively recruited by D1, D2 or D3 colleges for his basketball skills? Has the player committed to a college?)
  14. Demeanor (Players actions on the court, facial expressions, has respect for the game, the players, the coaches and the officials.)
  15. Coaching ability (How well does the player listen to his coach? Does he listen and follow through with instructions?)

This year The All WIZ Team consists of 5 teams and 25 Honor Mentions for their outstanding play this season. Players listed on each team and honor mention are not ranked in any particular order.

WIZ Player of the Year Award:

Sam LeClerc--------Sr.---------Winthrop

Coaches of the year:

Phil Conley----------South Portland

Mike Adams---------Edward Little

ALL WIZ First Team:

   1. Sam Leclerc---------Sr.------------Winthrop
   2. Ryan Martin---------Sr.------------Maranacook
   3. Jon McAllian--------Sr.------------Bangor
   4. Mick DiStasio-------Jr.------------Cheverus
   5. Thomas Knight------Jr.-------------Dirigo

ALL WIZ Second Team:

   1. Keegan Hyland------So.-------------South Portland
   2. Kyle Philbrook------Sr.------------Edward Little
   3. Derek Libbey--------Sr.------------Mattanawcook
   4. Kyle Donovan-------Sr.-------------Deering
   5. Ryan Weston--------Sr.-------------Bangor

ALL WIZ Third Team:

   1. Doug Alston---------Sr.-------------Cheverus
   2. Lee Suvlu------------Sr.------------Bangor
   3. James Morse---------Jr.-------------Thornton
   4. Sean Bergeron-------Sr.-------------Kennebunk
   5. Kris Noonan---------Sr.-------------Boothbay

ALL WIZ Fourth Team:

   1. Jeff Winnie----------Sr.-------------Thornton
   2. Indiana Faithfull-----So.------------Cheverus
   3. Andrew Pullen------Sr.---------------Cony
   4. Gordan Fischer-----Jr.---------------Camden
   5. Adam Kingsbury---Sr.-----------------Presque Isle

ALL WIZ Fifth Team:

   1. John Murphy--------Jr.---------------Yarmouth
   2. Sam Bell------------Sr.--------------Calais
   3. Ben Russell----------Jr.-------------Mt. Blue
   4. Eric Prue------------Sr.-------------Edward Little
   5. Orlando Holmes-----Sr. --------------Messalonskee

Honor Mention:

Cal Shorey-------------Jr.-----------Calais

Marc Zaharchuk -------Sr.------------Richmond

Antonio Juco-----------Sr.-----------Hampden

Shaine Burks-----------Sr.-----------Cape Elizabeth

Dominic Borelli---------So. ---------Westbrook

Eddie Bogdanovich-----Jr.------------Portland

Paul Campbell----------Sr.-----------Camden

Jacob Moore-----------So.------------Hampden

Spencer Adams--------Sr.-------------Greely

Ian Barwise-------------Jr.----------Cheverus

Ronald Abwoch--------Jr.-------------Deering

Will Bardaglio----------Sr.---------Maranacook

Jordan Leeman---------Jr.-----------Calais

Stephano Mancini------So.-----------Falmouth

Russ Mortland----------Jr.----------Presque Isle

Kory Martin------------Sr.----------Thornton

John Klages------------Jr.----------Freeport

Alex Bowe-------------Jr.-----------Cape Elizabeth

Eric Thistle-------------Sr.--------Skowhegan

Jamie Sawyer----------Jr.-----------Mt. Blue

Ethan Cushman--------Sr.------------John Bapst

Mike Poulin------------Sr.----------Maranacook

Tom Ray---------------Sr.-----------Cape Elizabeth

Will Furbush-----------Sr.----------South Portland

Mike Lowell-----------Sr.-----------Schenck


Three-D: Defense, depth, desire earn Sachems another Division 3 North title, rematch with Archbishop Williams

Sport:   Posted: March 10th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Three-D: Defense, depth, desire earn Sachems another Division 3 North title, rematch with Archbishop Williams
By Evan Mugford
Staff Writer

Members of the Pentucket girls basketball team celebrate after its 51-42 victory over Winthrop in the Division 3 North final Saturday. The Sachems will play tomorrow afternoon at the TD Banknorth Garden in the Division 3 state semifinals against Archbishop Williams.
Jim Vaiknoras / Staff photo

LOWELL — After a brilliant 2006-2007 campaign in which Pentucket won a Division 3 North championship, coach John McNamara, his terrific cast of underclassmen and his trio of determined seniors have done it again.

The Sachems (21-2) defended their crown Saturday with a 51-42 win over a resilient Winthrop team at The Tsongas Arena in Lowell.

After earning a return trip to the TD Banknorth Garden tomorrow, one thing is for certain: the Sachems are not a one-hit wonder.

Battling throughout the tournament with hard-fought wins over Newburyport (46-32), Swampscott (60-53) and now Winthrop, the Sachems have continued to come up victorious thanks to rebounding, teamwork and stellar bench play.

McNamara knows his team won in part to their consistent defense and bench players.

"The girls played awesome defense," said McNamara. "Our girls stepped up. We had a big lift with Kelly Murphy (4 points, 4 rebounds) coming off the bench, taking it the hoop and making big foul shots.

"We play as a team, and it was nice the girls could execute," said McNamara. "With a wide open gym like this, it's a tough environment to play well in when you're not used to it."

The Sachems didn't seem to have any problems with the arena's depth from the start, as solid first-quarter play from sophomore/guard Ashley Viselli (15 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists) and junior/center Kirsten Daamen (6 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks) gave the Sachems some much-needed aggression around the hoop.

Winthrop junior/guard Courtney Finn (21 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists), who has over 1,300 career points as a junior) kept it close as the sweet-shooting southpaw came up with some nice defense and a trey from the right arc, halting any momentum the Sachems were building. The first expired with the Sachems doubling up the Vikings, 12-6.

Both teams came into the second quarter with two things in mind: take it to the basket and get down on defense.

The Viking press that wasn't working so well in the first was suddenly causing the Sachem guards some trouble. Viking senior/forward Kristin Finn (1 point, 5 rebounds) and junior/forward Katerina Mallios (9 points, 2 rebounds) were set to quell the disparaging Sachem rebound margin, but with a trio like Pentucket's Viselli, Daamen, and junior/forward Andrea Attenasio (12 points, 6-6 FTs, 4 rebounds and a steal) crashing the boards, it was easier thought than done.

Each team worked the ball around well, found the open players and went to the charity stripe. The Sachems and the Vikings tallied 10 points apiece in the second, closing out the half with an identical point margin (a variety of easy missed shots by the Sachems could have extended the lead), 22-16.

A pleasing statistic for McNamara at the half was that Finn was the only Viking to register a basket.

"That was nice to see," said McNamara. "You don't shut down Finn, you try to contain her. We have a lot of girls who play really great defense, and that stat just tells you how well they play together."

As the third quarter advanced, the aforementioned Sachem defense was beginning to take over. Helping one another out and trapping the ball wherever it swung, the Sachems were beginning to take the game over.

With the rebounding advantage still heavy in the Sachems favor (34-21), some nice passing by sophomore/guards Holly Jakobsons (8 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) and Erin McNamara (6 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds) helped the Sachems outscore the Vikings by four in the quarter, and put them ahead by 10 after three, 39-29.

With the game slipping away, Finn decided to try to carry her team to victory as she scored seven quick points and helped dwindle an 11-point Sachem lead down to two, 42-40. Fortunately for the Sachem faithful, Finn fouled out shortly thereafter.

Despite their floor leader fouling out, the Vikings still played on and kept it a back-and-forth contest before Murphy sunk a pair of free throws to give the Sachems a little breathing room. Another pair of foul shots by Attenasio clinched the game, the title, and a trip to the floor that the best team in the NBA calls home.

"We were practicing free throws in practice," said Murphy, "and though I wasn't hitting them, Erin (McNamara) told me that it didn't matter that I was missing them now, because I'd make them when it counted. So I was actually thinking that, and though there was some pressure, I pulled through."

Attenasio, one the team's best defensive stoppers, is thrilled to go back to the Garden.

"It's really exciting," beamed Attenasio. "Going to the Garden once is a treat in itself, but the fact that we get to go two years in a row is just unbelievable.

"Our team is amazing. I love my team," said Attenasio. "We all work together, we all step up, and it helps that we're great friends off the court. Our senior captains, Kelly (Murphy), Colleen (McGoldrick) and Lyndsay (Beaton) have played so well when it mattered most."

Though a sense of déjà vu is in the air, the Sachems and all their fans hope that history doesn't completely repeat itself as they are scheduled for a rematch with 20-2 Archbishop Williams.

Viselli knows what the experience is like and this time around she and her teammates are hoping to make the necessary adjustments.

"This year we're going to be more prepared," stated Viselli. "We know what they're about and who they have, so I think if we work better on our defense and we're patient on offense with better passes, things will go our way."

Depth at heart of Sachem success

Sport:   Posted: March 10th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Depth at heart of Sachem success
By John Shimer
Staff writer

John Shimer

"Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character."

Words spoken by a man who knew as much as anyone about the pressures of repeating — legendary UCLA coach John Wooden, who won an astounding 10 straight national championships.

When Pentucket coach John McNamara stumbled across the quote before the season, he knew it fit perfectly for the task at hand — repeating as Division 3 North sectional champions.

Starting in game one against Amesbury way back in December, McNamara repeated Wooden's words to his young Sachems each night right up until their most recent challenge Saturday morning at Lowell's Tsongas Arena in the North finals against Winthrop.

And after a season where Pentucket was under the microscope far more often than a year ago, coming in as the favorites and trying to live up to high expectations, the Sachems showed the character of a champion going through the best the North had to offer before taking home the Division 3 North crown for a second straight season by beating Winthrop, 51-42.

"It was not as easy this year; last year we were the surprise team and this year we had high expectations," said McNamara of the arduous journey. "The girls really showed they had the character to repeat because everyone gave us their best crack the second time around. To our credit, beating Winthrop and beating Swampscott back-to-back makes it that much more special."

Of course it didn't hurt that McNamara's Sachems had all but two of their players returning from last year, including four out of the five starters. But, in beating Winthrop, Pentucket showed it is more than just a starting five.

With a solid eight-player rotation and a group that goes 13 deep, it seems the Sachems have had a different hero each night. Against Swampscott point guard Erin McNamara was the star; earlier in the season guard Lyndsay Beaton gave the team a big lift against Masconomet; and it goes without saying that Ashley Viselli, Kirsten Daamen and Andi Attenasio have all had their moments in the sun at some point in the season.

Against the Vikings on Saturday, Kelly Murphy provided the Sachems with the four most important points of her career as well as four huge rebounds, while eating up crucial minutes in the fourth quarter at the center spot as Daamen sat on the bench with four fouls.

Going all the way back to their initial 6-5 lead in the first quarter, the Sachems had led by as many as 14 points and no fewer than four points heading into the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. But, after scoring the first point of the fourth quarter to give the Sachems a 40-29 lead, Winthrop exploded for 9-0 to cut the deficit to its smallest number since the first quarter.

Murphy, though, stopped the bleeding at the other end, drawing a foul, and then converting both ends of the 1-and-1 free throws, giving the Sachems a breath of fresh air.

"Erin (McNamara) and I were practicing foul shots the other day at practice, and I was missing a lot," said the senior captain Murphy. "But, Erin said, 'Don't worry; when the time comes you'll make your shots,' and I did and I was proud."

After Winthrop cut the deficit back to two points, the Sachems briefly traded baskets. Then Pentucket got two big plays; first Erin McNamara drew a charge on Courtney Finn (game-high 22 points) to foul the Viking out of the game, and then the Sachems went back to Murphy, who drove the lane to score a huge layup while being fouled. Winthrop never scored again.

"We have a lot of kids that stepped up. Last year (the '07 North finals) it was Lyndsay (Beaton) that hit two big shots when we were struggling offensively, and this year it was Kelly that hit the pressure 1-and-1 shots and along with a nice strong take to the hoop," commented McNamara, who added that Murphy's four rebounds on the defensive end were just as big. "Generally you know what you're going to get from your so-called stars, but it's the role players that often step up and make a big play."

On the other side of the ball, Winthrop's depth or lack thereof exposed a fatal flaw. Only running a rotation of six players in which only four had any real offensive responsibility, the Vikings were doomed as soon as Finn fouled out of the game.

"We go 13 deep, everyone works hard at practice to push each other and not single anyone out," said Viselli of the work ethic instilled in the Sachems to repeat as North champions. "Tonight we knew they had four players that could dominate, but we knew if we pushed the ball we could wear them out."

McNamara reiterated Viselli's sentiments.

"We have a deep team. We've got kids that could play on a lot of other teams that could get more minutes, and sacrifice their stats for our team play," explained McNamara of the team that boasts four 200-point scorers this year (Erin McNamara, Attenasio, Daamen and Viselli). "We have kids that could score 20 points, but the girls know that each point goes to the team, which is key.

"All they care about is wins and losses, not one girl complains about shots or anything else," McNamara continued. "It's a testament to them that they stay focused and play hard in practice."

Despite the relief of winning another North sectional title, the Sachems may have some unfinished business to attend to as they get a second crack at the team that knocked them off last year in the Garden, 45-31, Archbishop Williams.

John Shimer is a staff writer for the Daily News; e-mail him at jshimer@newburyportnews.com.

Busy day ends in satisfying style for MC's Serino

Sport:   Posted: March 10th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Busy day ends in satisfying style for MC's Serino

By Steve Krause / The Daily Item

Christie Serino

LOWELL -- Saugus' Christie Serino had some kind of a day Sunday. It was hectic, frenetic, and he spent half of it on the telephone and the other half behind the Malden Catholic bench at Tsongas Arena in Lowell.

But he'll take it.

Serino, who is the coach of Malden Catholic, has four sons ... and all of them were in action this weekend. Matt was playing for UMass-Dartmouth in the ECAC South hockey championship -- which the Corsairs won.

Craig was playing up at Norwich ... and he still hadn't heard how that game went (8-2, Norwich over Salem State) as his Lancers skated off the ice Sunday night after a 5-2 win in the state Division 1A hockey tournament over Xaverian.

Nick was pitching for UMass-Amherst out at Arizona State, and lasted four innings before being removed.

"Hey, that's (Arizona State) the No. 21 team in the country, you know!" Serino said, his voice hoarse from a combination of a week's worth of shouting and a cold. "I think that's pretty good."
And, of course, there's Tony. At least Serino didn't have to have his cell phone dangling from his ear to find out how Tony was doing. All he had to do was watch him.

Tony Serino collected two points in Sunday's win, and the line of Serino, freshman Mike Vecchione -- also of Saugus -- and Alex Minter (another freshman), collected five points in all.

The Lancers are now in very heady territory (this is their second time in the Elite Eight, and they lost all three games they played last year) as the No. 1 seed coming out of their round robin bracket. They swept the field in the three-game preliminary, and will now play in a single-elimination semifinal Wednesday (8 p.m.) at Tsongas Arena against Catholic Memorial (the Knights eked out a 3-2 overtime win over BC High to sneak in at No. 2 on their side of the field).

"We've played them before," said Serino, matter-of-factly, when asked whether he felt as if he'd received a tough assignment.

"We lost to them twice, but we had two great games against them," he said. "We can play with anyone in this tournament.

"The teams are so close, in terms of overall talent, that if you show up, and play badly, you're going to lose. If you show up and play well, you have a shot."

Malden Catholic and Reading -- thus far -- have been the class of the tournament at 3-0. The Lancers started out by defeating St. John's Prep, 4-2, last Saturday and then won an emotional shootout over Hingham Friday, with Vecchione (who was wearing Serino's No. 15) scoring the deciding goal.

Sunday's game started somewhat slowly -- as one might expect when both teams had already advanced to the semifinals (Xaverian will play Reading at 6 p.m. Wednesday), but Serino and the Lancers weren't holding anything back.

"We tried to win the game," he said. "Going in (to the next round) with a win is better than going in with a loss.

"I think momentum carries a lot," he said. "The kids are in the right frame of mind, and they concentrate better."

Malden Catholic scored twice in the first period to take command early. Greg Crovo scored the first one, with an assist from Minter, at 6:51, and then Zack Sheppard (from Crovo and Craig Charbonneau) made it 2-0 at 10:50.

Justin Sencabaugh scored the lone goal in the middle period, but Serino was happy with the way the team played.

"We played fantastic," he said. "We held them to three shots. The strength of our team is our defense, and our forwards were doing a good job down low. Everyone played a pretty good game."

Both teams scored twice in the third period: Carbonneau and Mike Carr for Malden Catholic; and Matt Glennon and Chris Wagner for Xaverian.

St. John's Prep hockey gets some consolation vs. Hingham

Sport:   Posted: March 10th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

St. John's Prep hockey gets some consolation vs. Hingham

LOWELL -- The St. John's Prep hockey team escaped the indignity of going winless in the Division 1A tournament yesterday, taking a 4-2 decision over Hingham.

The win didn't matter as far as the final standings go. The Prep was already eliminated Friday, after Malden Catholic defeated the Harbormen in a shootout Friday night. Had Hingham won that game, it would have set up a situation yesterday where three of the teams on The Prep's end of the round robin could have finished with 1-2 records. The MIAA would have then used a complicated tiebreaker to determine the second team to advance.

The Prep's top line of Colin Prior, Danny Haugh, and Christian Cowles scored all four of the Eagles' goals.

St. John's, which was seeded third behind Hingham in the tournament, got the jump on the Harbormen with a three-goal first period. Haugh drove home a Christian Cowles rebound just 23 seconds into the game to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

After Hingham's Cam Spiro scored an unassisted goal to tie it at 1-1 at 4:28, Prior tapped in a feed from Cowles with 6:48 left in the period to give St. John's a 2-1 lead.

Cowles finally got one, with assists from Haugh and Prior, to give St. John's a 3-1 lead at 13:48.
The Prep effectively put the game away at 14:11 of the second period, with Prior scoring a shorthanded goal, with an assist from Cowles.

Hingham's Brendan Wilbur closed out the scoring at 9:21 of the third period.

This is the second straight disappointing conclusion in the Super 8 tournament for The Prep, which fell to BC High on the last day of the round robin last year, even though BC High didn't need the win to advance. It is also the second straight year The Prep has gone 1-2 in the three round-robin games.

Malden Catholic and Xaverian will advance to the semifinals on The Prep's side of the bracket.

On the other side, Catholic Memorial scored a 3-2 overtime win over BC High to eliminate the defending champion and advance to the semifinals, which will be played Wednesday at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell.

Pentucket survives Winthrop scare, wins D3 North title, 51-42

Sport:   Posted: March 10th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Pentucket survives Winthrop scare, wins D3 North title, 51-42

By Steve Krause / The Daily Item

Winthrop's Courtney Finn drives towards the hoop during the Vikings' 51-42 loss in the Division 3 North final Saturday in Lowell. (ITEM PHOTO / JONATHON M. WHITMORE)

LOWELL -- No matter how much you dominate a basketball game, you can always expect at least one concentrated surge where you can't do anything right ... and your opponent can't do anything wrong.

The trick is to survive it.

That's what Pentucket did Saturday. The Sachems bottled up Winthrop for three and a half quarters before the Vikings initiated their surge. But it was too little, too late ... and, after Courtney Finn fouled out, too much for the Vikings to overcome.

The 51-42 final reflected the difference between the two teams at the Tsongas Arena in the Division 3 North girls basketball final. Winthrop did its best to hang around, but the Vikings were Sisyphus, and Pentucket was the rock.

There was a lot that went into this. Finn finished with a game-high 21 points, but it took her a while to establish a rhythm from the floor. As for the rest of the Vikings, the only other player in double figures was Nicole Giaquinto, with 11. Everybody was cold in the first half, and Winthrop only scored 16 points in the first two quarters (the Vikings were fortunate, however, because the Sachems only had 22 themselves).

Naturally, the Sachems concentrated their efforts on stopping Finn, which, according to coach Peter Grimes, shouldn't have been a shock to anyone.
"She's the best player in our league," Grimes said. "She led the league in scoring, she was the MVP ... anytime we play, the focus is going to be on stopping her."

Pentucket's John McNamara agreed.

"You're never going to stop her," he said. "But you hope you can contain her. Our defense played awesome yesterday."

Finn scored exactly half her team's points. Outside of Giaquinto, and a couple of brief flourishes by Katerina Mallios, none of the other Vikings could get their game going.

"We don't have a lot of depth," Grimes said, "and foul trouble is always an issue because of that."

And boy, was it an issue Saturday. Finn fouled out with 3:45 to go in the game, having been whistled for Nos. 4 and 5 within minutes of each other. Just prior to that, the Vikings had gone from being behind, 40-29, to climbing to within two (42-40) with the ball. Finn was on fire in the second half, scoring 12 of her 21 points, and was a big reason why Winthrop was able to come back.

Ashley Viselli (team-high 15 points) sunk two foul shots to make it 44-40, but with all that time left on the board, this looked very doable. But after Finn received her fifth foul (the Winthrop contingent thought it was an extremely dubious call), the Vikings could only muster one more basket, by Giaquinto.

"When Courtney fouled out, you could just see the air going out of the building," Grimes said. "It was like someone took all the air out of a balloon."

While the Sachems concentrated on not letting Finn beat them, the Vikings had hoped to do the same with 6-3 center Kirsten Daamen. And stop her they did. The junior had only two baskets and six points overall. But while Winthrop couldn't really generate any sustained offense from anyone other than Finn, Pentucket -- which also won the North title last year -- got it from a number of sources. Aside from Vaselli's 15, Andrea Attenosio had 12 points and Holly Jakobsons had eight. Two other players -- Erin McNamara and Daamen -- chipped in with six.

"Pentucket played a great game, and I tip my cap to them," said Grimes. "And I think these girls did very well to get where they got.
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