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Desire to learn brought out best in O´Brien

Sport:   Posted: March 24th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Desire to learn brought out best in O´Brien
 
By RACHEL LENZI, Staff Writer


Shot putter Becky O’Brien helped Greely to its seventh Class B championship in eight years and recorded the second-best mark in the nation this season with a throw of 51 feet, 5 inches.


Before she became one of the nation´s top scholastic shot putters, Becky O´Brien became a student of the event.

In order to maximize her potential, she had to learn the hows and whys of the techniques that are inherent to her sport.

O´Brien completed her senior indoor track season at Greely by becoming one of the nation´s top scholastic shot putters. She is the Maine Sunday Telegram´s girls´ indoor track MVP.

O´Brien owns the nation´s second-best mark of 51 feet, 5 inches this season, behind Karen Shump of Media, Pa., (52-4). Earlier in the season, she became the first Maine girl to throw the 4-kilogram shot put further than 50 feet with a toss of 50-6 at the Western Maine Conference championships, and she broke her own indoor state record by more than five feet with a throw of 49-11 3/4 at the Class B championships (Maine Principals´ Association records can only be set at state meets).

"When you consider not only that her throws this year have been phenomenal, but that they represent an improvement of about 10 percent over what was the previous all-time best in the 4-kilogram shot put, that begins to put it in perspective," Greely Coach John Folan said.

Consider that O´Brien won the first of her four indoor championships in February 2005 with a mark of 38-5 1/2 -- nearly 13 feet less than her top mark this season.

"I have to look back at where I´ve come from," said O´Brien, who will attend the University of North Carolina. "Not just from last year, but from my freshman year."

O´Brien has competed regionally at the New England championships and Dartmouth (N.H.) Relays, nationally at the Nike Indoor Nationals and at the USATF indoor championships, and internationally at the World Youth Championships in the Czech Republic.

"It´s been a great journey, it´s been awesome," O´Brien said. "My freshman year, I didn´t even qualify for nationals. But I´ve grown as a person and as an athlete. It´s been about learning how to compete, and learning about the sport. It´s wondering why and how it works."

O´Brien helped Greely win its seventh Class B championship in eight years. But after her freshman year, O´Brien began to take the steps that would take her from being a regional prodigy to a national and international competitor.

She incorporated weight lifting into her training regimen, began studying the mechanics of the discipline and began asking questions about her sport.

"I needed to understand what I was doing and how I was doing it, and how it related to improvement," O´Brien said.

She also began coaching grade-school students, not just about the mechanics of the event, but also about the independence that´s involved in the discipline.

"I tell the kids, ´You need to learn how things feel,´ " O´Brien said. "You need to know what you´re doing and not doing, and if you´re not hitting something, you have to find out why.

"I love coaching, and it´s been a great way to learn about my event. But it´s also a great way to give back to the sport."

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:
rlenzi@pressherald.com

Slovenski vaults onto national stage

Sport:   Posted: March 24th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Slovenski vaults onto national stage
 
By TOM CHARD, Staff Writer

David Slovenski of Brunswick High had a whirlwind weekend last week.

On Friday he flew to Maryland with his pole vault to compete Saturday in the Nike Indoor Nationals.

Then he headed to New York City to compete in the National Scholastic Indoor Championships on Sunday. In between, he visited his brother, Steve, a junior at Princeton. Slovenski arrived home at 2 a.m. Monday morning and got up a few hours later to attend school.

It was a hectic weekend to be sure, but Slovenski is accustomed to being on the go. If it´s not track practice, then it´s a math meet, a band concert or some other activity associated with being an active 18-year-old high school senior.

Slovenski, one of the top high school pole vaulters in the country, performed well at the national meets. He finished fifth in the Nike meet with his best vault ever -- 16 feet, 6 1/2 inches. Then he took a fourth place in New York with a vault of 15-1 3/4.

"At the Nike meet, I had a vault at 16-10 but hit the bar going down. At the New York meet, I was a little bit sore and tired and didn´t vault as well," said Slovenski.

Over the past year, Slovenski became the first Maine schoolboy to break the 15-foot mark, and also the first to clear 16 feet.

At the Class A state meet at the University of Southern Maine, Slovenski kept bettering his previous marks before finally clearing 16-2 1/2. Then last week, he surpassed that vault.

Slovenski is our Maine Sunday Telegram MVP for indoor track. He will be honored with MVPs from other sports at the annual All-Sports Banquet in June.

"I was very happy with my performance at the Nike Nationals," he said.

"The atmosphere was really good. The crowd was into it and was rhythmically clapping. Five of us made 16-6, and we were all vying for the No. 1 spot."

Every offseason, Slovenski works on improving his strength and athleticism. He trains with his brothers at Bowdoin College, where his father, Peter, is the track coach.

"I don´t do any vaulting in the summer," said Slovenski. "I work on my speed, strength and practice gymnastics. I´m looking to increase my athletic power.

"Once December arrives, I start vaulting and working on my form."

Steve, who held the state pole vault record before David, has helped his brother improve. They work out together along with younger brother Mike, a freshman at Brunswick. When the vaulting starts, it´s usually under the guidance of their father, who was an All-New England and All-Ivy League pole vaulter for Dartmouth.

"My little brother attends the Bowdoin Day Camp in the summer," said Slovenski.

"Steve and I are counselors. When our shifts end, we work out together. We do all the workouts ourselves."

Given the family´s history, it´s no surprise that Slovenski has developed into a top pole vaulter.

Slovenski´s grandfather, Walter, coached track and cross country at Bates for 43 years and is a member of the Maine Running Hall of Fame.

His uncle, Paul, was an NCAA Division III All-American at Bates and still holds the school record in the pole vault.

Slovenski said there has never been any rivalry between him and his older brother. This fall, Slovenski will begin his freshman year at Princeton, joining his brother at the Ivy League school.

"Between my father and Steve, they´ve taught me everything I know about pole vaulting," he said.

They´re passing that knowledge along to Mike.

"He´s about as good as I was my freshman year," David said. "He´s bigger and faster than I was at that age. I´m sure he´ll be up there."

Slovenski was also accepted to Stanford, a top academic school and a track power. In the end, he didn´t want to go cross country. He chose Princeton because of its academics, its proximity to home and the fact his brother goes there and has enjoyed it.

Princeton also has an excellent track program, and Slovenski will receive plenty of competition in his event.

"Steve helped to recruit me. He really wanted me to go there."

Like his brother, Slovenski will major in engineering.

Slovenski began pole vaulting in the sixth grade. The landing mats were almost as high as the bar.

"I also did gymnastics, so I developed spatial awareness and was used to flying through the air," he said.

He calls his steady increase in height "a gradual progression." Looking ahead to the outdoor season, Slovenski feels he can surpass his best height.

"If I get on a good pole and have a little tailwind on a sunny day, I could have a great vault," he said.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:
tchard@pressherald.com

Telegram All-State Boys´ Indoor Track Team

Sport:   Posted: March 24th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Telegram All-State Boys´ Indoor Track Team
From staff reports

Boys
David Slovenski
Brunswick, senior
Pole vault
Highlights: Slovenski, our boys´ track MVP, set state and New England records with a vault of 16 feet, 2 1/2 inches at the Class A state meet. He bettered that mark with a vault of 16-6 1/2 to finish fifth at the Nike Indoor Nationals. No Maine schoolboy other than Slovenski has ever vaulted higher than 14-7. Slovenski will attend Princeton.

Tom Winger
Falmouth, junior
Jumps
Highlights: Winger won the long and triple jumps at the Class B state meet and helped the Yachtsmen win the state title. His jumps would have won at the Class A meet. Winger also finished second in the 400 behind teammate Brian Seitz. He placed fifth in the long jump at the New England championships.

Nate Martin
Greely, junior
Sprints
Highlights: Martin was a double winner at the Class B state meet, with victories in the 55 and 200 meters. He also finished second in the long jump, helping the Rangers to a second-place finish. Martin was a consistent scorer throughout the year. He shaved four-tenths of a second off his 55 time from a year ago.

Riley Masters
Bangor, senior
Distances
Highlights: Masters won the mile with an impressive time of 4 minutes, 20.44 seconds at the Class A state meet. He also finished second in the two mile. Masters holds school records in the mile and two mile. He ran a 4:19.42 in the mile to place third at New Englands. His school record in the two-mile is 9:38.77.

Dan Smith
Thornton Academy, junior
Shot put
Highlights: Smith won the Class A shot put with a state-best throw of 56 feet, 4 inches. He finished second in the New Englands with a throw of 56-7 and was eighth at the Nike Indoor Nationals with his best throw of the season -- 57-8 1/4.

Ethan Shaw
Falmouth, senior
Distances
Highlights: Shaw won the mile and was second in the two mile at the Class B state meet. He finished ninth in the 1,000 at the New England championships. He will attend Dartmouth.

Dominik Alexis
Waterville, junior
Hurdles, jumps
Highlights: In his first year of indoor track, Alexis won the hurdles and placed second in the high jump and triple jump at the Class B state meet. He was unbeaten in the hurdles in Maine. He will run the 300 hurdles outdoors.

Cam Stevens
Gorham, sophomore
Middle distance
Highlights: Stevens won the 400 meters at the Class A state meet with a time of 50.89 seconds. He also finished second in the 200 and ran a leg on Gorham´s winning 1,600 relay team. He finished fifth in the 300 at the New England meet. Stevens was undefeated instate in the 200, 300 and 400.

Kyle Bucklin
Brunswick, senior
Jumps, middle distance
Highlights: Bucklin led the Dragons to their first Class A indoor state title in 17 years. He won the long jump and finished second in both the 400 and the triple jump for a total of 26 points. He was the highest scorer at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships, with three first-place finishes.

Chris Fogler
John Bapst, junior
High jump, hurdles
Highlights: Fogler won the high jump and finished second in the 55 hurdles at the Class B state meet. He is one of the most versatile track athletes in the state, as he also competes in the long and triple jumps as well as the 200. He´s looking to have a strong outdoor season in the 300 hurdles and may try the pole vault.

Brian Seitz
Falmouth, senior
Middle distances, sprints
Highlights: Seitz won the 400 meters at the Class B state meet. He also anchored the 1,600-meter relay for the Yachtsmen, who won that event for the second straight year, and he finished fourth in the 200. Seitz was the top Maine runner in the 600 at the New England meet. He will attend Dartmouth.

Mohamed Noor
Lewiston, senior
Distances
Highlights: Noor won the two-mile and placed second in the mile at the Class A state meet. He was 11th in the two-mile at New Englands. Noor was unbeaten in state in the two-mile. Noor has received a scholarship from Garden City Junior College in Kansas.

Coach of the Year
Dan Dearing
Brunswick
Highlights: In his seventh year as Brunswick´s boys´ indoor track coach, Dearing guided the Dragons to their first Class A title in 17 years. Dearing specializes in coaching the sprinters and jumpers. He has developed a strong program from junior high on up. His philosophy is to teach the events to the athletes at a young age and make it fun so that they continue to be involved in high school. Dearing works as technology integrator at Brunswick Junior and Senior high schools.

Honorable mention
# Eric Anderson, Messalonskee, junior, sprints
# Don Clark, Winslow, senior, shot put
# Anthony Derrig, Deering, senior, high jump
# Timothy Even, Fryeburg Academy, senior, middle distance
# Andrew Lambert, Thornton Academy, senior, hurdles and jumps
# Brad Loomis, Waterville, junior, pole vault
# Matt Martin, Biddeford, senior, middle distance
# Craig Milliard, Thornton Academy, senior, jumps and hurdles
# Brigham Michaud, Cheverus, senior, shot put
# Brad Nakanishi, Scarborough, junior, pole vault
# Matt Rand, Cape Elizabeth, junior, distances
# Jamie Ruginski, Bonny Eagle, junior, jumps
# Sequoyah Reynoso, Fryeburg Academy, senior, sprints
# Justin Villacci, Gorham, senior, sprints
# Tony Yeboah, Deering, senior, hurdles

Snow won´t get in way as spring practices begin

Sport: Baseball  Posted: March 24th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Snow won´t get in way as spring practices begin
By RACHEL LENZI, Staff Writer

There´s only one way the Yarmouth High baseball team will be on its home field for the first day of practice. And by scientific estimations, it´s not happening anytime soon.

"Being outside isn´t a possibility until global warming fully kicks in," said Marc Halsted, the Clippers´ second-year coach.

Halsted wasn´t kidding.

The baseball field at Yarmouth is covered in snow, like most other athletic fields in the area. After nearly 100 inches of snowfall this winter, area baseball and softball coaches have resigned themselves that they´ll be practicing inside today -- the first day pitchers and catchers at Maine high schools are allowed to practice.

"This is my eighth year of coaching and this will be my eighth consecutive year inside on the first day," said Halsted, who coached at Hampden Academy before taking over Yarmouth´s baseball and hockey teams. "I plan on dozens more inside."

The Maine Principals´ Association allows baseball and softball to begin practice a week earlier than other spring sports. In baseball, eight pitchers and two catchers can begin practices, while in softball, a total of 10 pitchers and catchers can begin practice.

Rich Buzzell, the athletic director at Marshwood in South Berwick, agreed that indoor practices are a foregone conclusion when it comes to the first few days of spring sports, not just because of field conditions, but also to avoid the risk of arm injuries.

"I think it´s better from a temperature standpoint, too, because not many people want to be out in the cold, working their arms in (temperatures below 40 degrees)," Buzzell said. "The first week focuses on conditioning and strength."

Thornton Academy baseball coach Greg Paradis said the earliest his team has been on the field was in 2005, when the Trojans were outside 10 days after the start of spring practices. Any earlier, he believes, could be counterproductive for his team, which focuses on arm care, stretching and cardiovascular work during the first week of practice.

"Even with eight pitchers and two catchers, if we could go outdoors, I think it´s easier to stay indoors," Paradis said. "Everything is central with the gym, the weight room and the training room, and even if someone said, ´it´s fine, you can go outdoors,´ I´m not so sure I´d want to. I don´t think we´d get a ton done as we could indoors."

Halsted anticipates his pitchers will begin practice having thrown in the offseason, but said he will start by having his pitchers throw no more than 15 pitches on the first day of practice.

When it´s time to move outside, Yarmouth will also use a corner of school real estate that´s traditionally reserved for lacrosse -- the school´s turf field.

"We don´t have a lot of time on it, but you do the best you can within an 80-by-80 space and 45 minutes," Halsted said.

The fields at Marshwood are almost clear of snow, except for some random patches, and Buzzell expects the baseball and softball teams to be on the fields March 31 when practices begin for all spring sports.

But Marshwood also has a bit of expertise in field maintenance. Baseball coach Eric Fernandes is a landscaper by trade and has worked on the Marshwood baseball field in the days leading up to the start of spring sports.

"He´s been out there, working on the field and scraping the surface," Buzzell said. "That´s his baby."

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:
rlenzi@pressherald.com

More to the job than meets the eye

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: March 24th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

More to the job than meets the eye
By Tom Chard

 


Athletic trainers like Stan Rintz of Cheverus work with athletes like basketball player Elizabeth Daniels not only to assess and treat injuries, but also to help prevent them.

Cheverus guard Doug Alston hobbled off the floor with three minutes left in the Western Maine Class A basketball final. The first one to him was the school´s athletic trainer, Stan Rintz.

Rintz assessed the injury, the first job of an athletic trainer, and determined Alston had sprained his ankle.

"I have to go back in, I have to go back in," Alston said.

After an evaluation, Rintz taped Alston´s ankle and he went back in, but only briefly. Moments later, Cheverus had its regional title and soon set its sights on Bangor and the state championship.

Rintz´s focus turned to getting Alston healthy for the state final.

"We had our work cut out for us," said Rintz about treating Alston´s injury so he could play a week later.

Alston´s injury illustrates the challenges athletic trainers face. Athletes are conditioned to play while athletic trainers are there to make sure they don´t play until they´re ready.

"Our job is evaluation and assessment of athletic injuries," said Matt Cook, the former trainer at Thornton Academy.

"We treat muscle strains, sprains and fractures. We manage injuries. We do a lot of counseling with athletes and deal with the psychological effects of injuries. We deal a lot with the parents."

March is National Athletic Training Month. Athletic trainers around the country are looking to elevate awareness of their profession. Trainers have been working at the collegiate and pro levels for years.

Their employment at the high school level has increased dramatically in the past 15 years. In Maine, most Class A schools have trainers, as do many Class B schools. The smaller the school, the less likely it will have an athletic trainer.

To celebrate National Athletic Training Month, the Maine Athletic Trainers´ Association held its annual banquet this month in Bangor.

It awarded its coveted Bill Cox Award for dedicated service to Chris Sementelli, the trainer at Gardiner High. The banquet´s theme: "Who´s Taking Care Of Our Kids."

Despite their presence in Maine high schools, trainers said there are still many who don´t know what they do. They said educating the public is important.

"A lot of people think all we do is tape ankles and hand out ice," said Deering High trainer Greg Tosi.

Tosi said trainers got a bad rap recently with the soap opera of Brian McNamee versus Roger Clemens. Tosi pointed out McNamee was Clemens´ personal trainer and not an athletic trainer.

To become a certified athletic trainer, a person needs to earn a four-year degree in athletic training from an accredited college and pass a national exam.

In addition, Maine requires athletic trainers to be licensed. Every three years, they are required to complete 75 hours of continuing education.

JOB BASICS

"The bulk of our job is injury prevention," said Bangor High trainer John Ryan. "We do a lot with conditioning, strength training and nutrition. We have a lot of athletes who want to know about supplements. We provide them with the information and let them make a decision."

"It´s important for athletic trainers to get out and educate the public on what we do. That goes with educating the school committees and the superintendents. I don´t think they have a clear understanding of the important function we serve. Educating them is crucial with the state of finances in Maine."

VALUABLE SERVICE

Some schools like Bangor, Cheverus, Portland and Deering have full-time athletic trainers while other schools contract out training services with physical therapy companies.

Deering´s Tosi and Audrey McKenzie of Portland High are full-time faculty members.

McKenzie, who has worked at Portland for 12 years, said her duties are so well ingrained in the minds of the school´s parents that should any talk of cutting her position arise, it would bring a strong outcry from the school community.

She said the theme of "Who´s Taking Care Of Our Kids" means parents can be confident that should their son or daughter get injured, they´ll receive prompt and excellent care.

McKenzie cited the cost benefit to families of having a trainer at a school.

"A lot of times we can treat the athlete, which can save a family a lot of money in a doctor visit," said McKenzie.

Athletic trainers are quick to refer an athlete to a doctor if needed. Both Deering and Portland have team doctors on the sideline during football games.

"Portland and Deering are fortunate to have excellent working relations with the area´s doctors," said McKenzie.

Tosi recalled a time a parent called him at home at night asking if he would treat a child. Tosi agreed and saved the family a trip to the doctor the next day.

WIDE RANGE OF DUTIES

In any given season, Tosi and McKenzie are responsible for between 300 to 350 athletes daily. A trainer´s hours can vary from 5 to 12 hours a day, depending on how many games are being played and whether the school has lighted fields.

"Last spring, I had six different home games at the same time," said Cook.

A trainer can´t cover all the games and has to set priorities. But the trainer is only a cellphone call away and can respond if needed.

In Maine, athletic trainers´ pay ranges from $35,000 to $60,000 a year.

"The athletic trainer is an integral part of an athletic program, especially in a large school program," said Thornton Academy Athletic Administrator Gary Stevens.

"We had 381 athletes participating in our fall programs and we´ve already had 381 sign up for spring sports. Athletic trainers are an indispensable part of an athletic program."

GETTING RESULTS

In Maine, coaches are required by the Maine Principals´ Association to pass first-aid and CPR courses. The Maine Athletic Trainers´ Association wrote the curriculum and, in most cases, teach the courses to the coaches.

Rintz´s treatment of Alston and the fact the game was postponed that Saturday to the next Tuesday allowed Alston to perform at 100 percent.

"It was great to have those extra days," said Rintz.

Alston could have played Saturday but estimates he would have been between 75 and 80 percent effective.

He spent 1 1/2 hours each day after school getting treatment from Rintz and assistant Katie MacCarthy.

"I got a lot of heating and cooling of the ankle," said Alston. "They also did some electric shock to get the swelling out.

"Having the game delayed made all the difference. I felt good and was ready to go."

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:
tchard@pressherald.com

Troy Howard wrestlers win regional crown

Sport:   Posted: March 24th, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Troy Howard wrestlers win regional crown
C-RMS and HAL round out top three
By Dwight Collins


Troy Howard Middle School's wrestling team holds up the championship trophy after winning the Pine Tree Wrestling League Eastern Regional title Saturday at BAHS. DWIGHT COLLINS

C-RMS wrestlers pose with the 2008 PTWL East Region runner-up trophy after finishing second to Troy Howard Middle School Saturday. DWIGHT COLLINS
 

BELFAST — The Troy Howard Middle School wrestling team captured the 2008 Pine Tree Wrestling League’s east region title on Saturday at Belfast High School. The Lions outlasted Midcoast rivals Camden-Rockport and Hope-Appleton-Lincolnville for the team title in a meet that wasn’t decided until the final round. Camden-Rockport and Troy Howard both qualified 12 grapplers for next weekend’s league championships at Nokomis High School. HAL qualified 11 wrestlers to next weeks meet, while Medomak Valley qualified six and Rockland District Middle School has five. The top four wrestlers in each weight class qualify for the league championships.


Final team scores were: 1, Troy Howard 195, Camden-Rockport 186, Hope-Appleton-Lincolnville 170.5, Brewer 113, Bucksport 92, Medomak Valley 78, Rockland 76, Hermon 69, Ellsworth 55.5, Nokomis 28.5 and Lincoln Academy 20.

Midcoast grapplers winning individual titles were Rockland’s Chris Weiss (75 pounds) and Aaron Weiss (155); Troy Howard’s Brent Waterman (93), John Seekins (111) and Lyndon Whitcomb (135); Camden-Rockport’s Tom Cassidy (105), Peter Bryant (117) and Rhett Chase (240); and HAL’s Calen Bragg (81), Coleman Powers (87) and Jared Gilbert (99).

Finishing second were Evan Drinkwater (81), Jordan Hill (99), Ethan Fitzjurls (123) and Nick Littlefield (129), Peter Kelly (147) of THMS; Josh Dean (93), Wyatt Parra (105), Tristan Leidinger (117), Anthony Batty (135) and Codi Hynd (175) of HAL. Zach Rideout (111), Dylan Look (141) and Zac Sawyer (165) of Medomak Valley and Steve Widdecomb (155), Brandon Graffam (190) and Shawn Rich (210) of Camden-Rockport.

Also qualifing for THMS are Chapin Lamont (4th 105), Riley Duggan (3rd 117), Dylan Bernosky (3rd 141) and Jordan Luther (3rd 155).

For HAL, John Underhill (3rd 75), Dakota Summers (4th 129) and James Gushee (4th 141) will extend their season another week, while Camden-Rockport’s Brooks Bumbalo (3rd 81), Ben Fernald (3rd 93), Anders Bratz (3rd 147), Ryan Graffam (3rd 165), Nick Linscott (4th 123) and Josh Smith (4th 135) will join them.

Rockland’s Thomas Boynton (3rd 111), Seth Batty (3rd 210) and Robert Gardiner (3rd 240) and Medomak Valley’s Adam Lynch (3rd 135) and Dylan Upham (4th 117) round out the Midcoast contingent

Midcoast grapplers listed by place of finish were:

C-RMS wrestlers pose with the 2008 PTWL East Region runner-up trophy after finishing second to Troy Howard Middle School Saturday. DWIGHT COLLINS
75 pounds — Weiss, RDMS, defeated Teran Booth, Nok, 10-1; defeated Walker Roberts, THMS, 4-2; and defeated Mark Smith, Brew, 9-4 to finish first. Underhill, HAL, lost to Alex Peterson, Her, 14-2; defeated Connor Winchenbach, CRMS, 15-0; pinned Walker Roberts, THMS, at 1:40; and defeated Peterson, Her, 7-2 to finish third. Roberts pinned Jack Weeks, Ells, at 0:49; lost to Weiss 4-2; and was pinned by Underhill at 1:40. Winchenbach was pinned by Smith, Brew, at 0:38 and lost to Underhill 15-0.

81 pounds — Bragg, HAL, received a bye; pinned Jordan Lord, Buck, at 0:30, and pinned Drinkwater, THMS, at 0:30 to finish first. Drinkwater, THMS, pinned Jackson Leonard, at 1:28; defeated Brooks Bumbalo, CRMS, 4-0; and was pinned by Bragg at 0:30 to finish second. Bumbalo pinned Kyle Lima, Ells, at 0:32; lost to Drinkwater, THMS, 4-0; pinned Mike Turner, Her, at 0:26; and pinned Lord, Buck, at 2:41 to finish third.

87 pounds — Powers, HAL, pinned Braden Beardsley, Ells, at 0:22, pinned Alex Brown, at 0:27; and pinned Anthony Sprigg, Brew, at 2:49 to finish first. Mason Hurd, THMS, lost to Cody Staples, Her, 15-2; and was pinned by Todd Anderson, LA, at 0:54 and did not place.

93 pounds — Waterman, THMS, pinned David Shepardson, Her, at 0:19; pinned Fernald, CRMS, at 0:35; and pinned Dean, HAL, at 2:50 to finish first. Dean, HAL, received a bye; pinned Matt Stewart, Buck, at 2:11; and was pinned by Waterman, THMS, at 2:50 to finish second. Fernald pinned Cory Eaton, Brew, at 2:37; was pinned by Waterman, THMS, at 0:35; received a bye; and pinned Eaton, Brew, at 1:46 to finish third.

99 pounds — Gilbert, HAL, received a bye; pinned Robert Benner, Ells, at 0:41; and defeated Jordan Hill, THMS, 4-2 to finish first. Hill defeated Shawn Sprague, RDMS, 12-2; defeated Tim Lewis, Her, 2-0 and lost to Gilbert, HAL, 4-2 to finish second. Sprague, RDMS, lost to Hill, THMS, 12-2; pinned Lucas Ashmore, buck, at 0:44; and lost to Benner, Ells, 15-0 and did not place.

105 pounds — Cassidy, CRMS, pinned Cory McMillian, Ells, at 1:06; pinned Tristan Brooks, Nok, at 0:27; and pinned Wyatt Parra, HAL, at 1:33 to finish first. Parra, HAL, pinned Chapin Lamont, THMS, at 0:43; pinned Luke Potter, Her, at 2:32; and was pinned by Cassidy, CRMS, at 1:33 to finish second. Lamont, THMS, was pinned by Parra, HAL, at 0:43; received a bye; pinned Brooks, Nok, at 2:44; and lost to Potter, Her, 9-5 to finish fourth.

111 pounds —Seekins, THMS, pinned Tom Merrill, Ells, at 0:40; pinned Thomas Boynton, RDMS, at 1:15; and defeated Zach Rideout, MV, 9-0 to finish first. Rideout, MV, pinned Mark Fowler, HAL, at 0:34; pinned Kenny Dyer, Buck, at 2:31 and lost to Seekins, THMS, 9-0 to finish second. Boynton, RDMS, defeated Kyle Monahan, CRMS, 14-1; was pinned by Seekins, THMS, at 1:15; defeated Devon Lovell, Herm, 9-0; and pinned Dyer, Buck, at 1:00 to finish third. Fowler, HAL, was pinned by Rideout, MV, at 0:34; and was pinned by Lovell, Her, at 1:41 and did not place. Monahan, CRMS, lost to Boynton, RDMS, 14-1; defeated Merrill, Ells, 0:42; and lost to Dyer, Buck, 10-4 and did not place.

117 pounds— Bryant, CRMS, pinned Kim Farley, Ells, 0:11; pinned Riley Duggan, THMS, at 0:21; and pinned Tristan Leidinger, HAL, at 1:36 to finish first. Leidinger, HAL, pinned Cole Barbour, RDMS, at 0:59; defeated Taylor Miller, Buck, 9-3; and was pinned by Bryant, at 1:36 to finish second. Duggan, THMS, defeated Dylan Upham, MV, 7-0; was pinned by Bryant, CRMS, at 0:21; defeated Barbour, RDMS, 8-7; and pinned Upham, MV, at 1:37 to finish third. Upham, MV, lost to Duggan, THMS, 7-0; received a bye; and lost to Duggan, THMS, 8-7 and did not place.

123 pounds — Fitzjurls, THMS, pinned Jake St. Pierre, RDMS, at 0:23; defeated Jordan Fogg, Buck, 6-0; and lost to Nick Bishop, 7-2 to finish second. Nick Linscott, CRMS, defeated Nick Pooley, MV, 14-3; lost to Bishop, Her, 5-4; pinned Dakota Bartlett, Brew, 0:23; and was pinned by Fogg, Buck, at 2:40 to finish fourth. Colt Muir, HAL, pinned Zach Gilbert, LA, at 0:18; was pinned by Bishop, at 0:37;and was pinned by Pooley, MV, at 0:39 and did not place. St. Pierre, RDMS, defeated Katelyn, Mosley, Ells, 7-0; was pinned by Fitzjurls, THMS, and lost to Bartlett, Brew, 9-7 and did not place.

129 pounds — Littlefield, THMS, received a bye; pinned Dakota Summers, HAL, at 0:28; and was pinned by Nate Davies, Brew, at 1:59 to finish second. Summers, HAL, received a bye; was pinned by Littlefield, THMS, at 0:28; pinned Jacob Stewart, Buck, at 2:22; and lost to Andrew Bryant, LA, 5-3 to finish fourth.

135 pounds — Whitcomb, THMS, received a bye; defeated Josh Smith, CRMS, 15-2; and defeated Anthony Batty, HAL, 5-0 to finish first. Batty, HAL, pinned Michael Grimble, Brew, at 0:26; pinned Adam Lynch, MV, at 0:14; and lost to Whitcomb, THMS, 5-0 to finish second. Lynch, MV, pinned Blake Hay, LA, at 0:49; was pinned by Batty, HAL, at 0:14; defeated Dean Donavan, Ells, 13-4; and pinned Smith, CRMS, at 0:31 to finish third. Smith, CRMS, defeated Donavan, Ells, 8-4; lost to Whitcomb, THMS, 15-2; pinned Grimble, Brew, at 1:40; and was pinned by Lynch, MV, at 0:31 to finish fourth.

141 pounds — Look, MV, pinned Alex Urquhart, Her, at 2:53; defeated Dylan Bernosky, 8-7; and was pinned by Victor Irwin, Brew, at 0:37 to finish second. Bernosky, THMS, received a bye; lost to Look, MV, 8-7; pinned Blake Haas, Ells, at 0:35; and pinned James Gushee, HAL, at 1:33 to finish third. Gushee received a bye; was pinned by Erwin, Brew, at 0:43; pinned Urquhart, Her, at 2:00; and was pinned by Bernosky, THMS, at 1:33 to finish fourth.

147 pounds — Kelly, THMS, received a bye; defeated Aaron Guyette, Ells, 13-6; and was pinned by Adam Micheller, Nok, at 1:27. Bratz, CRMS, received a bye; was pinned by Micheller, at 2:35; received a bye; and pinned Guyette, Ells, at 2:35 to finish third. Brandon Vinal, HAL, was pinned by Micheller, Nok, at 0:25; received a bye; and was pinned by Guyette, Ells, at 0:50 and did not place.

155 pounds — Weiss, RDMS, pinned Sam Lounder, Ells, at 0:31; pinned Dustin Willey, Herm, at 1:25; and pinned Widdecomb, CRMS, at 2:35 to finish first. Widdecomb, CRMS, received a bye; pinned Jordan Luther, THMS, at 0:15; and was pinned by Weiss, RDMS, at 2:35 to finish second. Luther, THMS, pinned Ricky Gould, Nok, at 1:42; was pinned by Widdecomb, CRMS, at 0:15; pinned Lounder, Ells, at 2:19; and pinned Willey, Her, at 2:53 to finish third..

165 pounds — Sawyer, MV, received a bye; pinned Kyle Jackson, Nok, at 2:52; and was pinned by Chris Powell, Buck, at 0:19 to finish second. Ryan Graffam, CRMS, pinned Kevin Gooley, Her, at 2:59; was pinned by Powell, Buck, at 0:58; received a bye; and defeated Mike Phillapon, Ells, 7-6 to finish third.

175 pounds — Hynd received a first and second round bye; and lost to Josh Fowler, Ells, 7-2 to finish second.

190 pounds — Brandon Graffam, CRMS, received a bye; pinned Mike Garland, Ells, at 0:21; and was pinned by Marcus Eaton, Brew, at 0:23 to finish second.

210 pounds — Rich, CRMS, received a bye; pinned Pat Kidder, Ells, at 0:49; and was pinned by Shawn Smith, Buck, at 0:36 to finish second. Batty, RDMS, received a bye; was pinned by Smith, Buck, at 1:31; received a bye; and pinned Kidder, Ells, at 2:44 to finish third.

240 pounds — Chase, CRMS, received a bye; pinned Robert Gardiner, RDMS, at 0:14; and pinned Damon Klinedinst, Buck, at 0:42 to finish first. Gardiner received a bye; was pinned by Chase, CRMS, at 0:14; and received byes through to a third place finish.

ORR's Jeff Rezendes is S-T's player of the year

Sport:   Posted: March 23rd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

ORR's Jeff Rezendes is S-T's player of the year

By Buddy Thomas
Standard-Times senior sports writer
March 23, 2008 6:00 AM

MIKE VALERI/The Standard-Times ORR’s Jeff Rezendes led the area with 19 points per game.mike valer

Steve Carvalho remembers having mixed emotions.

The 2003-04 season had come to an end, but for the longtime assistant coach, a new career was about to begin. When Al Laborante resigned after three seasons as Old Rochester's varsity head coach, Carvalho was named his successor. The boys basketball team hadn't had a winning season since 1998-99 and had qualified for the postseason just three times in seven years thanks to a trio of 10-10 regular-season finishes.

Carvalho's junior varsity teams had suffered through its ups and downs as well, but the 2003-04 season was a good one and the level of the future talent pool was rising. One of the more talented youngsters was a freshman named Jeff Rezendes, who had played a lead role in the success of Carvalho's last JV team.

Carvalho was looking forward to the challange of getting the varsity program back on track. But he also knew he'd have to face that challenge without his up-and-coming star, who was about to transfer to Wareham High.

"On the one hand I was very excited about getting the job and was looking forward to the challenge of trying to turn things around. But, at the same time, I had a hollow feeling about losing Jeff who I thought had a chance to be something special on the basketball court," Carvalho said.

The 2004-05 season proved a struggle for both, as Rezendes played sparingly and scored less than 30 points over Wareham's 20-game regular season while Old Rochester limped through a 4-16 record in Carvalho's first season at the helm.

Not much changed the following season.

While Rezendes enjoyed more playing time, he reached double figures just four times and spent the entire season playing in the shadow of Wareham's one-two scoring punch of Aaron Strothers and Steve Monteiro, who powered the Vikings to a 19-2 regular-season record. Carvalho, on the other hand, watched his Bulldogs struggle to another 4-16 record.

But things were about to turn around for both player and coach.

"I heard rumors that Jeff wanted to transfer back to Old Rochester (because of family reasons) but I never took it serious until I saw him back in school," Carvalho said.

And when the two spoke, the conversation centered around basketball.

"He told me he was coming back to try and help this team win 14 or 15 games," Carvalho said.

With Rezendes leading all area players in scoring (19 ppg), he fulfilled his prophecy by leading Old Rochester to a record of 14-6 — its first winning record of the new millennium.

"It's funny how things worked out," Carvalho said. "When he was here the first time, he was the best player in the ninth grade. After he came back he became one of the best players in the South Coast Conference and the entire area for that matter."

Carvalho only saw Rezendes play four times during his sophomore and junior seasons — in ORR's head-to-head clashes with Wareham — but he saw enough of him this past season to label the 6-0 senior "one of the best all around players I've ever coached.

"He obviously had talent when I saw him as a freshman but since then he's improved his all-around game tremendously," Carvalho said. "His offense is greatly improved because he's spent so much time trying to perfect the outside shot and his jumping ability allows him to score inside and off the offensive boards."

How much of an offensive weapon was the 6-foot senior?

In addition to leading all area scorers, Rezendes reached double figures in all 20 regular-season games, leading or tying for the team lead in scoring in 15 of those outings. His 34 3-point field goals was second to cousin Jordan Rezendes' 39 and his season and career-high point total came in his final regular-season contest when he poured in 29 in a 76-72 victory over visiting Martha's Vineyard.

And his defense was second to none.

"We looked for offense first from Jeff but he's such a good defensive player that we put him on our opponent's biggest offensive threat and more often than not he came up big for us," Carvalho said.

Basketball is the only sport Rezendes plays in high school and according to Carvalho, he's the perfect example of a gym rat.

"If he's not here practicing or playing a game, he's at the Y shooting around or playing in a pick-up game," Carvalho said. "After we'd finish practice, instead of going home to eat supper he'd head for the Y. It got to the point where I'd have to insist he go home and get some rest."

Rezendes hopes to continue playing basketball on the next level but as of now he's undecided where or when that will be.

"We're looking at UMass Dartmouth and prep school is also a possibility," Carvalho said, "but he definitely wants to go on and we're working hard to make sure he does."


The Super Team

Jordan Rezendes, Old Rochester

Guard, Sophomore

The first-year varsity player averaged 14.2 points to finish second behind cousin Jeff Rezendes in the team scoring race. ... "He's a complete player," head coach Steve Carvalho said of the 5-11 shooting guard. ... In addition to drilling a team-high 39 3-point field goals in the regular season, also had more than 20 steals while guarding the opponent's second biggest offensive threat. ... His breakout performance came three games into the season when he scored 23 points and drained six 3-pointers in a 58-54 victory at Dighton-Rehoboth. From that point on Jordan reached twin digits in 16 of his last 18 regular-season contests.

Ryan Pina, Wareham

Center, Sophomore

His head coach, Kevin Broigioli, called the first-year starter "the most gifted low-post player I've ever coached." ... Although he's a long way from reaching his potential, the 6-3 Pina showed extraordinary moves in the low post. ... After struggling a bit offensively through the first four games, led the Vikings to 16 wins over the final 17 regular-season outings by averaging a team-high 14.4 points and leading the team in rebounds. ... The slender lefty hit a career-high 26 points in a 32-point rout of Old Rochester in a game that ignited a 16-game winning streak to end the regular season. ... He also came up big in the postseason when his spinning left-handed layup with less than two seconds left in the game lifted the Vikings to a 53-52 victory over Norwell and into the Division 3 South Sectional championship game.

Billy Dias, GNB Voc-Tech

Forward, Junior

The three-year varsity player continued to show improvement on the offensive end by reaching double figures in 17 of the 19 games he played on his way to averaging a team-leading 16.1 points per outing. ... After starting all 22 regular season games as a sophomore and never scoring more than 16 points in one contest, Dias opened this season with 21 points in a loss to Wareham and scored 20-or-more points in four of his first six games, breaking his career high with a 32-point effort in a rout of Case. ... Was accurate in the low-post area and also showed a nice outside touch with a team-leading 11 3-point field goals. ... Also led his team in rebounds.

C.J. Moss, Westport

Guard, Sophomore

In his first season with the varsity, the poised 6-foot sophomore quickly established himself as the take-charge guy of the offense, finishing the season as the team's leading scorer (just under 15 points a game) and leader in 3-point field goals. ... Was effective from anywhere on the court and kept defenses honest because of his ability to penetrate and dish the ball off to a teammate. ... His most productive outing came in a 104-100 loss to Avon in triple overtime when he scored a career-high 30 points and dopped in a career-best five 3-pointers.

Jordan Todman, Dartmouth

Guard, senior

Having established himself among the state's premier football players, Todman took his basketball game to the next level by leading the Indians in scoring and reaching double figures in 16 of the 20 regular-season contests. ... Season high came in regular-season finale when he poured in 21 points in a four-point loss to Brockton. But scoring was just one element of the veteran guard's game. ... A good ball-handler and deft passer he forced defenders to play off him which gave him opportunities to shoot the open jump shot and his tremendous speed and quick hands made him lethal in defensive pressure situations. ... Todman will attend the University of Connecticut on a football scholarship in the fall.

Justin Mello, Dartmouth

Forward, Junior

It took the all-star wide receiver a little while to make the adjustment from football to basketball, but over the second half of the hoop season, he was arguably the Indians most consistent performer. ... Always at or near the top in rebounding, Mello finally found his shooting touch around the mid-way point of the regular season and reached double figures in eight of the last 10 games. ... His regular-season high was 17 points in a loss at Brockton but his 23 points helped spark the Indians to a five-point win over Mansfield in the opening round of the Division 2 South Sectional Tournament.

BOYS SUPER TEAM

Guard Jordan Rezendes Old Rochester Sophomore

Forward Billy Dias GNB Voc-Tech Junior

Center Ryan Pina Wareham Sophomore

Guard Jordan Todman Dartmouth Senior

Forward Justin Mello Dartmouth Junior

Guard C.J. Moss Westport Sophomore

THE SECOND TEAM

Forward Chris Joyal Apponequet Senior

Guard Steven Monteiro Wareham Senior

Forward Nathan Miller New Bedford Senior

Forward Matt Ranzinger Bishop Stang Senior

Guard Nick Jagoe Westport Senior

Guard Owen Higham Dartmouth Senior

Guard Matt Pacheco Old Colony Senior


Contact Buddy Thomas at bthomas@s-t.com

Fairhaven's Baldwin repeats as Player of Year

Sport:   Posted: March 23rd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Fairhaven's Baldwin repeats as Player of Year
By Ed Collins
Standard-Times staff writer
March 23, 2008 6:00 AM

MIKE VALERI/The Standard-Times Fairhaven’s Erin Baldwin played the season on a bad ankle, but still won her second straight player of the year award.

FAIRHAVEN — It's a raw and windy Friday afternoon and Erin Baldwin is wrapping up an interview and photo session on the outdoor basketball court at East Fairhaven Elementary School.

For most high school kids this would be something out of the ordinary, but Baldwin is used to the attention. She's been in the basketball spotlight since her freshman season at Fairhaven High School and her four years with the Blue Devils were nothing short of spectacular.

A senior swingman, Baldwin finished as the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,466 career points and she's been named The Standard-Times Girls Basketball Player of the Year for the second straight season.

A fierce competitor and one of the best outside shooters to ever play in the area, Baldwin helped the Blue Devils make school history a year ago.

She teamed up with fellow juniors Maggie Rossi, Kaleigh Charette, Tessa McMullen and Colleen Pepin to achieve two firsts for the girls basketball team — a South Coast Conference championship and an appearance in the Division 3 South Sectional final.

This season, Baldwin passed the Class of 1993's Nate Pickup to put her name at the top of the school's scoring list and, despite playing with an injured right ankle, she helped lead the Blue Devils to a 20-5 record, a second SCC title with a 16-0 league mark and the sectional semifinals.

Baldwin, who had surgery on Wednesday to repair torn ligaments and bone spurs, said nothing was going to keep her from playing her final season.

"I broke my ankle in the seventh grade and it's never been the same. I knew it was going to be either play in pain or don't play at all. It hurt all season. It wasn't that bad during games, because I taped it up and wore a brace, but I felt it afterwards," said Baldwin, who's facing a four-to-five-month recovery period. "There was no way I was going to give up my senior year with my teammates. We had a great junior year together and we had a lot to look forward to."

With Baldwin in the lineup the last four years, the Blue Devils went 72-26 under coach Dave Brogioli, who stepped down this past season after going 109-50 in seven seasons.

"Erin is a complete player. She can shoot, she can pass, she plays defense and she runs the floor," said Brogioli. "She played with a sore ankle all season, but she toughed it out and still ended up leading us in scoring."

Baldwin averaged 15.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 3.2 steals a game en route to earning SCC All-Star honors for the fourth straight year and finishing second in the coaches voting behind Dighton-Rehoboth's Mary Nwachukwu, a high-scoring junior center.

"It was a pleasure to coach Erin. She has a tremendous work ethic and she's a total team player. There's no telling what she could have done this season if she hadn't been hurt," said Brogioli. "She couldn't take the ball to the basket like she had in the past and she had to play without that quick first step that made her so tough to guard as a junior."

She signed to play at Division II Southern New Hampshire University in August and can't wait to start her college career.

"Signing early was a big load off my shoulders. It was one less thing that I had to worry about. It's a small school, but the team and the coaches are great and I loved the campus," said Baldwin, who will major in sports management and hopes to become a sports agent. "I'm happy with the high school career I had. I loved playing with my teammates and we made some history. It was a great four years and I'm looking forward to taking my game to the next level."

Where the interviews and photo sessions are sure to follow.


Girls basketball Super Team


Kaleigh Charette, Fairhaven

Forward, Senior

A 5-foot-8 fighter in the paint, Charette averaged 12.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals a game en route to being named a South Coast Conference All-Star for the third straight year. ... Was able to compete against bigger players because of her jumping ability. .. Proved to be a tough rebounder and a quick defender on the team's full-court press. A hard worker, she never stopped hustling and gave the Blue Devils a physical presence in the middle. ... Could end up playing at UMass Dartmouth or Salem State College.

Kelsey Craveiro, Apponequet

Guard, Junior

Scored a team-high 14.1 points, pulled down 8.0 rebounds and dished out 2.5 assists a game for the height-challenged Lakers, who did not have a player taller than 5-9. ... Earned South Coast Conference All-Star honors. ... Won the three-point shooting contest at the SCC All-Star game. ... A three-year starter, she helped the team with her defense and helped spark the offense with her shooting and drives to the basket. ... Has led the Lakers in field-goal percentage the last three seasons.

Shelly DePina, New Bedford

Forward, Senior

A very athletic player, DePina was a good shooter on the baseline and played tough defense for the Big 3 Conference champion Whalers. ... Earned Big 3 All-Star honors and scored a team-high 11.4 points a game to go along with 5.8 rebounds. ... Averaged a steady 9.0 points in the team's five-game tournament run that resulted in the school's first-ever Division 1 South Sectional championship and appearance in the state semifinals. ... Will play with teammate Stephanie Houtman at Bridgewater State College.

Stephanie Houtman, New Bedford

Guard, Senior

A good ballhandler and tenacious defender, Houtman averaged 10 points, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals a game en route to earning Big 3 Conference All-Star honors for the league-champion Whalers. ... Played a key role on the team's full-court press, which helped fuel the offense by generating turnovers. ... Her experience helped lead the Whalers to the school's first Division 1 South Sectional title and appearance in the state semifinals. ... Will move on to Bridgewater State College with teammate Shelly DePina.

Brittany Mello, New Bedford

Center, Sophomore

Mello was a key ingredient on a New Bedford team that won the school's first-ever Division 1 South Sectional and advanced to the state semifinals. ... Averaged 9.0 points and 8.0 rebounds a game and helped lead the team to the Big 3 Conference championship... A tough rebounder, Mello gave the Whalers a rugged inside presence. ... Proved to be a good scorer in the paint and was very aggressive taking the ball to the basket against bigger players. ... Earned Big 3 All-Star honors in her first full season as a starter.

Maggie Rossi, Fairhaven

Guard, Senior

One of the area's most versatile players, Rossi averaged 13.3 points, 6.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds a game for the Blue Devils. ... Finished as the school's No. 2 girls scorer, behind teammate and all-time leader Erin Baldwin, with 1,172 career points. ... Earned South Coast Conference All-Stars for the third time. ... Did a great job running the team's offense and pushing the ball on the fast break. ... Showed good-range on her outside shot and was deadly shooting pull-up jumpers at the foul line. ... Will play at Colby-Sawyer next season.

SECOND TEAM

Athlete School Year

Center Kate Farias Westport Junior

Forward Arielle Gomes New Bedford Freshman

Forward Jordan Manchester Bishop Stang Senior

Guard Kelsey Johnson Apponequet Freshman

Center Lauren Kelleher Dartmouth Junior

Center Carissa Kennedy Bishop Stang Senior

Guard Kristen Peck Apponequet Senior


Contact Ed Collins at ecollins@s-t.com

Muse gives Eagles inspiration, win

Sport:   Posted: March 23rd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Muse gives Eagles inspiration, win

HOCKEY EAST CHAMPIONSHIP

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


BC's Anthony Aiello, left, celebrates a second-period goal with teammates Kyle Kucharski (18) and Carl Sneep (7).



BOSTON— Freshman John Muse made 29 saves as Boston College won its record eighth Hockey East tournament championship with a 4-0 win over Vermont last night.

After playing more than 100 minutes and making a career-high 45 saves 24 hours earlier in a triple-overtime win against regular-season champion New Hampshire, Muse was tested early by Vermont (17-15-7).

But Ben Smith gave the defending champion Eagles (21-11-8) a 1-0 lead when he tapped in the puck at 18:32 of the first.


Tim Kunes scored his first goal of the season when he fired a wrist shot past Joe Fallon and inside the left post to put the Eagles up 2-0 five minutes into the second.

Boston College freshman Brian Gibbons scored a power-play goal for a 3-0 lead just 20 seconds before the end of the second period.

The goal came moments after Vermont’s Slavomir Tomko missed the net on a three-on-one short-handed break.

Tournament MVP and Hobey Baker finalist Nathan Gerbe added an empty-net goal with 1:05 to play.

Fallon made 24 saves for the Catamounts, who were making their first appearance in the championship game in their third season in Hockey East.

Muse, who has started all 40 games this season for Boston College, posted his third shutout of the season and just the second shutout in the 24-year history of the Hockey East tournament championship game.

With the win, the Eagles earned an automatic berth to the 16-team NCAA tournament field.

UMass run too much for Zips

Sport:   Posted: March 23rd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

UMass run too much for Zips

MEN’S NIT

By Matt Vautour SPECIAL TO THE TELEGRAM & GAZETTE

 


UMass' Matt Glass, left, and Matt Pennie watch the closing seconds of the Minutemen's second-round win over Akron.




AMHERST— Trailing by 12 with 8:36, the University of Massachusetts basketball team finished on a 22-5 run to defeat Akron, 68-63, yesterday afternoon at the Mullins Center.

UMass (23-10) advances to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament for the first time since 1991. The Minutemen travel to Syracuse at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Akron finishes the season 24-11.

Junior point guard Chris Lowe, who had nine of his 17 points in that final run, scored two in the lane to start the spurt. Ricky Harris followed with a driving layup as the Minutemen scored nine straight to cut the deficit to 58-55 with just under five minutes left.


Two free throws by Cedrick Middleton couldn’t stop UMass’ momentum, as Lowe answered with a floater and Harris hit a pull-up curling into the lane.

Akron senior Nick Dials then underestimated Tony Gaffney’s leaping ability, trying to loft a pass over him. Gaffney sprung up and snared it and started a break that ended with Middleton fouling Lowe. The junior point guard, who had been in the midst of a mini-free throw slump, made both from the line with 3:14 left to put UMass ahead by one, 61-60.

Gaffney knocked another Dials pass away and the Akron point guard dove to try to recover it. He got his hands on the ball, but Lowe scooped it at his ankles. Dials tripped him and despite considerable protestation was called for an intentional foul. Lowe made both free throws again to make it 63-60 with 2:52 left.

Gary Forbes made two free throws to stretch UMass’ edge to five points, but Brett McKnight answered with a 3 that made it 65-63. Both teams’ shooting went cold after that. Forbes missed a chance to ice the game, making just one of two free throws with 20 seconds left which kept the lead at one possession, 66-63.

Jeremiah Wood’s 3-point attempt to tie the game bounced off the front of the rim to Harris with three seconds left. Harris quickly launched the ball ahead to Dante Milligan, who threw down a one-handed dunk at the buzzer to punctuate the win.

“In the first eight minutes we played very hard and the last eight minutes we played very hard,” UMass coach Travis Ford said. “In between that we didn’t do very much, but we made plays when we needed to.”

Harris led UMass with 20 points.

“I thought he (Harris) played with great energy,” Ford said. “He had several key rebounds at the end of the game and played great defense at times.”

Lowe added 17 points and five assists. Forbes struggled from the field, shooting 3 for 11, but kept his season-long streak of scoring at least 10 points alive. He finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Wood’s 25 points were the most by any Akron player this season.

UMass controlled the game early, opening a 27-16 lead with 7:19 remaining in the first half. But the Zips began chipping away. They cut it to 34-31 at halftime and opened the second half of a 13-5 spurt that gave Akron a 44-39 lead and momentum.

Riding Wood, who had 18 of his points in the second half, the Zips stretched their edge to 58-46 before the Minutemen began their comeback.

“At the end of the game I thought we were just tired. It was kind of like being caught between a rock and a hard place,” Akron coach Keith Dambrot said. “I didn’t want to play our young players too much, we put our subs in a difficult position to win the game and they just couldn’t get it done.”

A public works project; Champs construct historic finish to season

Sport:   Posted: March 23rd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

A public works project; Champs construct historic finish to season
By Bruce Lerch / In the Slot  |   Sunday, March 23, 2008  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  High School Hockey
 

The 2007-08 hockey season ended like no other during the last 30 years: A public school was standing atop the highest mountain.

The Reading Rockets ensured the past year will forever stand in the history books, becoming the first public school to capture the Super Eight championship in the 18-year history of the tournament, defeating BC High, Catholic Memorial, Waltham and Xaverian before blanking Malden Catholic, 3-0, in the title game. In the process, Reading (25-1) also became the first public school to win the championship of Massachusetts’ highest level of hockey since Hudson won the Division 1 crown in 1978.

“I realize exactly what we accomplished,” said longtime Reading coach Peter Doherty. “Our kids were just great. They took each game just like they would any other game. They were pretty cool through the tournament, and the way they were able to keep their composure was just amazing.”

In his ***29 years ***at the helm of the Rockets, Doherty admitted he had never before been blessed with the kind of depth the Rockets displayed this season. Led by the dazzling top line of center Michael Lozzi and wingers Pat Kiley and Rob Toczylowski, who combined for 164 points during the regular season, Reading had more than enough firepower to be successful.

In order to be called the best team in Massachusetts, Doherty knew they would need more than just offense to get the job done. The defensive trio of Travis Busch, Garrett Collins and Quinlan Junta contributed key goals throughout the Rockets’ run, and junior goalie Jeff Wyer made big save after big save en route to the championship.

“We’ve never had depth like we had this year,” Doherty said. “Our second and third lines had a great tournament, our defense was very good, and Jeff Wyer was excellent in goal all year long.”

Doherty reflected back to the Rockets only loss of the season, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of BC High on Martin Luther King Day. He knew before then that he had a potentially great team to work with, but the way they played against the Eagles cemented his belief that the Rockets were truly special.

“I thought all along we had a real good team. We played really good against BC High in that game, but their goalie (Sam Marotta) just won the game for them. We made one or two mistakes that cost us, but I knew we could compete at the highest level.”

Two of the wild card teams that were eliminated from the Super Eight made their presence felt in the Division 1 tournament, as Needham and Westford Academy each worked their way to the state final, with Needham (20-3-2) claiming a 4-1 victory, thanks to a pair of goals by Cody Sharib, to win its first state championship since 1970.

In Division 2, freshman goaltender Pat Farrington posted shutouts in the South sectional and the state final, and Sandwich got a goal off the stick of Craig Brubaker to sneak past a tough Wilmington squad with a 1-0 victory, giving the Blue Knights their first state title.

Scituate found itself dealing with a tragedy, when sophomore defenseman Tim Mahoney was killed in a car accident on Feb. 2. The Sailors went into an understandable funk but rallied behind Mahoney’s older brother Pat and rolled through the Division 3 South sectional tournament as the 15th seed to earn a chance to defend their state title. The Sailors routed Marblehead, 8-2, in the semifinals, but saw their inspirational run come to a close at TD Banknorth Garden with a 3-2 loss to a very physical Westfield team, which had knocked off perennial CMass. power Gardner in the other semifinal.

The girls saw a bit of history made as well. St. Mary’s Abby Gauthier became the all-time leading scorer in the state, wrapping up her stellar career with 179 goals and 179 assists for a total of 358 points.

The Providence-bound Gauthier was joined on the Spartans top line by sophomore Courtney Winters and senior Christen Hart, who was moved up from the blue line at midseason, St. Mary’s tore through the regular season, capping a perfect 25-0 season with a 7-1 drubbing of Wakefield to win the Division 1 state championship.

“It’s taken a while to sink in,” admitted Spartans coach Frank Pagliuca. “The kids are really pleased with their accomplishment, and I know for certain that they will be able to look back and appreciate what they did.”

Hart ended her career with more than 200 points, but depth and the play of Marblehead transfer Kelsey Magrane in net also played a major role in the Spartans’ championship run. The end result was sweet for St. Mary’s, which was the top seed in last year’s tournament but fell short in the semifinals.

“We learned a lot from last year,” Pagliuca said. “We wanted and expected to get back to this point. We learned that we had to worry about what we were doing and not let what our opponents did dictate how we were going to play.”

“Kelsey was a great addition to our team. It’s tough when you transfer in from another school; you never know what you are getting into. She has a great personality and fit right in with the rest of the girls, and once she settled in, she got her confidence going. It can be tough when you don’t face a lot of shots every game, but Kelsey made every big save when we needed them.”

In Division 2, all signs pointed toward a Milton-Hingham matchup for the state title, and neither team disappointed. The top two seeds in the tournament made their respective paths through to the final, where the Harborwomen put an end to Milton’s unbeaten season with a 6-1 victory.

The talented Hingham squad proved to be just too fast and too talented for the competition, led by forwards Stephanie Schlosky, Stephanie Invernizzi and Chrissy Bowler (four goals in the state final). The deciding moment for Hingham came in the semifinals, when they rallied to score three goals in the third period, including the game-winner by Invernizzi with 32 seconds to play, erasing a 3-1 deficit against a defensive-minded Waltham squad to propel themselves into the finals.

Season to cherish; 2007-08 made for memories

Sport:   Posted: March 23rd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Season to cherish; 2007-08 made for memories
By Dan Ventura / In the Paint  |   Sunday, March 23, 2008  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  High School Basketball

Another basketball season has slipped by but not before providing enough highlights to last a lifetime. While last weekend’s state championship games proved to be anticlimatic, the road to Worcester was anything but.

Start with the boys ranks, where Central Catholic rallied to defeat Charlestown in overtime in the sectional semifinal, planting the final seeds for a successful run to its first state title since 1999. In Division 2, Brendan Monteiro’s jumper in the final seconds gave Catholic Memorial a sectional championship and the Knights parlayed that into their first state title since 1969.

The biggest surprise was in Div., 4 where North Cambridge Catholic, a team that finished seventh in a seven-team league, defied the odds and defeated Avon for the title. Scituate captured its first Div. 3 South title, then went on to dethrone defending champion Watertown, before falling in the state final.

On the girls side, let’s start with Div. 3 where Archbishop Williams successfully defended its title in style, rolling over a good Quaboag team in the state final. Wellesley created history of its own, knocking off defending champion Lincoln-Sudbury in the semifinal and Millbury in the final to take home the school’s first girls hoop title.

Cohasset, meanwhile, belied the belief that a young team cannot win when the stakes are high. Employing a roster without a senior, the Skippers defeated Manchester Essex in overtime to win the Div. 4 title. Andover relied on defense and 3-point shooting to get to the championship game before losing to Northampton.

As we’ve done through the years, the Herald provides the region’s loyal basketball fans with a final look at the 2007-08 season:

The final top 10 lists

Boys

* 1. CENTRAL CATHOLIC (25-2) -- The Div. 1 champions didn’t take the easy road to Worcester, defeating Charlestown, Lowell and BC High in succession.

* 2. LOWELL (22-2) -- The more experienced team in the North final came oh-so-close to playing on the parquet.

* 3. CHARLESTOWN (23-1) -- The perfect season went up in smoke in a heartbreaking way in the sectional semifinal.

* 4. BC HIGH (21-4) -- Offensive shortcomings were finally exposed in the state semifinals.

* 5. EVERETT (19-2) -- Yes, they do more than just play football in Everett.

* 6. BROCKTON (21-3) -- Like Lowell, Brockton wasn’t far away from winning a sectional title.

* 7. CATHOLIC MEMORIAL (22-4) -- The Knights’ tough nonleague schedule paid dividends in the postseason.

* 8. DARTMOUTH (16-4) -- The Indians were the only team to challenge Catholic Memorial in the Div. 2 tournament.

* 9. SCITUATE (22-3) -- Size does matter in Sailor Country, especially with 6-foot-10 Andrew McCarthy, 6-9 Sean McCarthy and 6-7 Blaine O’Brien leading the way.

* 10. WATERTOWN (22-3) -- The Raiders would certainly attest to the Sailors’ size issue, having seen their hopes of a repeat go up in smoke against Scituate.

Girls

* 1. ARCHBISHOP WILLIAMS (22-2) -- The Bishops certainly didn’t crumble under the pressures of trying to repeat.

* 2. ANDOVER (23-4) -- Coach Jim Tildsley will have a tough time replacing this terrific group of seniors.

* 3. CARDINAL SPELLMAN (22-2) -- It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Jade Santos (torn ACL in the regular-season finale) been available in the tournament.

* 4. LOWELL (19-3) -- All three losses during the season came at the hands of Andover.

* 5. WELLESLEY (23-3) -- A nice blend of youth and experience paved the way to a Div. 2 state title.

* 6. LINCOLN-SUDBURY (21-4) -- The one-two punch of Sarah Wetmore and Shatasia Kearse led the Warriors to another sectional title.

* 7. MASCONOMET (20-2) -- A terrific season snuffed out at the hands ot Lincoln-Sudbury once again.

* 8. PENTUCKET (21-3) -- Youthful Sachems figure to enter the 2008-09 season as the team to beat in Div. 3.

* 9. CENTRAL CATHOLIC (16-8) -- Forget the overall record, this team was peaking at the right time and it showed in the tournament.

* 10. BISHOP FEEHAN (22-1) -- The Shamrocks had everything going their way until they ran up against Wellesley.

The 10 teams to keep an eye on

Boys

* 1. WATERTOWN -- Raiders return their top three scorers. Look for freshmen Marco Coppola and Connor Stockdale to play bigger roles next year.

* 2. BROCKTON -- Louis Montes and Jarrod DeVaughn should be the premier forward combo in EMass next year.

* 3. STOUGHTON -- If the Black Knights get any sort of consistent guard play to go along with their big frontcourt, they could be a state title contender.

* 4. DARTMOUTH -- Lots of good talent coming back from a team that gave Catholic Memorial all it could handle.

* 5. CENTRAL CATHOLIC -- You can do a lot worse than returning a rapidly improving 6-9 center (Carson Desrosiers), a proven scorer (Billy Marsden) and an underrated contributor (Tim Wheeler).

Girls

* 1. PENTUCKET -- If you are an investor who likes futures, this is your team. Almost everyone will be back from a team that lost to Archbishop Williams in the state semifinals.

* 2. WELLESLEY -- Let’s see here, we have a sophomore point guard, a freshman shooting guard with ice water in her veins and a junior rebounding machine. Need we say more?

* 3. SWAMPSCOTT -- Even with Pentucket lurking in their bracket, the Big Blue is going to be heard from next year as just about everyone returns for another go.

* 4. CENTRAL CATHOLIC -- A killer schedule benefitted the Raiders down the stretch. With future Div. 1 college forward Katie Zenevitch back for two more years -- and a good freshman class to boot -- watch out for this team.

* 5. READING -- Rockets had a great tourney run and return four starters, including Jackie Lyons.

Memorable games during the season

Boys

* 1. Brockton 91, Catholic Memorial 90 -- For sheer intensity and shot-making, we wish you good luck finding a better game. Kyle Gerry capped off a wild final minute by going coast-to-coast and hitting a 12-footer at the buzzer.

* 2. Central Catholic 74, Charlestown 63 -- Trailing the entire game, the Raiders rallied to tie the score on a layup by Carson Desrosiers with time running out in regulation. Central Catholic then scored the first 13 points of overtime and never looked back.

* 3. Avon 87, Cathedral 84 -- Akeem Williams scored 50 points, including the game-winner in the second overtime as Avon knocked off the two-time champs.

* 4. Scituate 66, Medfield 64 -- Keith Fleury’s steal and layup in the final seconds gave the Sailors a win in the sectional semifinals.

* 5. Reading 61, Woburn 59 -- Nick Edson’s putback with a second left gave the Rockets a stunning tournament win in a game better known for Woburn’s decision to ban its student body from attendance following an incident at a hockey game earlier in the week.

Girls

* 1. New Bedford 50, Brockton 49 -- The Whalers’ third win of the season over their bitter rival was the sweetest, this one being a come-from-behind win in the sectional quarterfinals.

* 2. Cohasset 44, Manchester Essex 36 -- After struggling to find their offense in regulation, the Skippers put it all together in a four-minute overtime to capture the Div. 4 state title.

* 3. North Quincy 66, Franklin 57 -- Siobhan Carnell sent the game into overtime by hitting two free throws with 16 seconds left, then the Red Raiders put it into high gear in the extra session to finish the upset.

* 4. Cardinal Spellman 53, Archbishop Williams 51 -- Cori O’Kane knocked down two free throws in the waning moments to give the Cardinals the win.

* 5. Watertown 52, Ipswich 51 -- Brittany Obi-Talbot scored 28 points and grabbed 19 rebounds as the Raiders survived in a game better known for its late-game clock controversy.

Five things i’ll never understand

* Why the league representative for girls basketball in the South Coast Conference annually fails to do his duty and report the league’s weekly standings. Every year, it is the same old song dance when we contact this rep, a million excuses and zero results. Hopefully, other coaches in the league will lean on him to do his job next year and publicize the standings.

* Why a local college with better facilities won’t step up so that the South sectional finals can be held at a better venue than UMass-Boston. The list of complaints we hear from coaches, players and fans grows with each year. God bless the North’s home, Tsongas Arena.

* Why more and more places refuse to list on the scoreboard how many fouls players have tallied. Have we become so PC that we fear ruffling a kid’s feelings by listing it on the board?

* Why the MIAA focuses on the need for postgame handshakes to promote sportmanship when the bigger issue is conduct in the stands. The ill will on the court is nothing compared to the stands, where kids are allowed to spew venom to their hearts’ content.

* Why can’t we go back to getting the best officials to referee the best games in the tournament? There’s just too many occasions in which top-flight officials were bypassed or even blackballed in the postseason. That shouldn’t happen again

Season to cherish; 2007-08 made for memories

Sport:   Posted: March 23rd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Season to cherish; 2007-08 made for memories
By Dan Ventura / In the Paint  |   Sunday, March 23, 2008  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  High School Basketball

Another basketball season has slipped by but not before providing enough highlights to last a lifetime. While last weekend’s state championship games proved to be anticlimatic, the road to Worcester was anything but.

Start with the boys ranks, where Central Catholic rallied to defeat Charlestown in overtime in the sectional semifinal, planting the final seeds for a successful run to its first state title since 1999. In Division 2, Brendan Monteiro’s jumper in the final seconds gave Catholic Memorial a sectional championship and the Knights parlayed that into their first state title since 1969.

The biggest surprise was in Div., 4 where North Cambridge Catholic, a team that finished seventh in a seven-team league, defied the odds and defeated Avon for the title. Scituate captured its first Div. 3 South title, then went on to dethrone defending champion Watertown, before falling in the state final.

On the girls side, let’s start with Div. 3 where Archbishop Williams successfully defended its title in style, rolling over a good Quaboag team in the state final. Wellesley created history of its own, knocking off defending champion Lincoln-Sudbury in the semifinal and Millbury in the final to take home the school’s first girls hoop title.

Cohasset, meanwhile, belied the belief that a young team cannot win when the stakes are high. Employing a roster without a senior, the Skippers defeated Manchester Essex in overtime to win the Div. 4 title. Andover relied on defense and 3-point shooting to get to the championship game before losing to Northampton.

As we’ve done through the years, the Herald provides the region’s loyal basketball fans with a final look at the 2007-08 season:

The final top 10 lists

Boys

* 1. CENTRAL CATHOLIC (25-2) -- The Div. 1 champions didn’t take the easy road to Worcester, defeating Charlestown, Lowell and BC High in succession.

* 2. LOWELL (22-2) -- The more experienced team in the North final came oh-so-close to playing on the parquet.

* 3. CHARLESTOWN (23-1) -- The perfect season went up in smoke in a heartbreaking way in the sectional semifinal.

* 4. BC HIGH (21-4) -- Offensive shortcomings were finally exposed in the state semifinals.

* 5. EVERETT (19-2) -- Yes, they do more than just play football in Everett.

* 6. BROCKTON (21-3) -- Like Lowell, Brockton wasn’t far away from winning a sectional title.

* 7. CATHOLIC MEMORIAL (22-4) -- The Knights’ tough nonleague schedule paid dividends in the postseason.

* 8. DARTMOUTH (16-4) -- The Indians were the only team to challenge Catholic Memorial in the Div. 2 tournament.

* 9. SCITUATE (22-3) -- Size does matter in Sailor Country, especially with 6-foot-10 Andrew McCarthy, 6-9 Sean McCarthy and 6-7 Blaine O’Brien leading the way.

* 10. WATERTOWN (22-3) -- The Raiders would certainly attest to the Sailors’ size issue, having seen their hopes of a repeat go up in smoke against Scituate.

Girls

* 1. ARCHBISHOP WILLIAMS (22-2) -- The Bishops certainly didn’t crumble under the pressures of trying to repeat.

* 2. ANDOVER (23-4) -- Coach Jim Tildsley will have a tough time replacing this terrific group of seniors.

* 3. CARDINAL SPELLMAN (22-2) -- It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Jade Santos (torn ACL in the regular-season finale) been available in the tournament.

* 4. LOWELL (19-3) -- All three losses during the season came at the hands of Andover.

* 5. WELLESLEY (23-3) -- A nice blend of youth and experience paved the way to a Div. 2 state title.

* 6. LINCOLN-SUDBURY (21-4) -- The one-two punch of Sarah Wetmore and Shatasia Kearse led the Warriors to another sectional title.

* 7. MASCONOMET (20-2) -- A terrific season snuffed out at the hands ot Lincoln-Sudbury once again.

* 8. PENTUCKET (21-3) -- Youthful Sachems figure to enter the 2008-09 season as the team to beat in Div. 3.

* 9. CENTRAL CATHOLIC (16-8) -- Forget the overall record, this team was peaking at the right time and it showed in the tournament.

* 10. BISHOP FEEHAN (22-1) -- The Shamrocks had everything going their way until they ran up against Wellesley.

The 10 teams to keep an eye on

Boys

* 1. WATERTOWN -- Raiders return their top three scorers. Look for freshmen Marco Coppola and Connor Stockdale to play bigger roles next year.

* 2. BROCKTON -- Louis Montes and Jarrod DeVaughn should be the premier forward combo in EMass next year.

* 3. STOUGHTON -- If the Black Knights get any sort of consistent guard play to go along with their big frontcourt, they could be a state title contender.

* 4. DARTMOUTH -- Lots of good talent coming back from a team that gave Catholic Memorial all it could handle.

* 5. CENTRAL CATHOLIC -- You can do a lot worse than returning a rapidly improving 6-9 center (Carson Desrosiers), a proven scorer (Billy Marsden) and an underrated contributor (Tim Wheeler).

Girls

* 1. PENTUCKET -- If you are an investor who likes futures, this is your team. Almost everyone will be back from a team that lost to Archbishop Williams in the state semifinals.

* 2. WELLESLEY -- Let’s see here, we have a sophomore point guard, a freshman shooting guard with ice water in her veins and a junior rebounding machine. Need we say more?

* 3. SWAMPSCOTT -- Even with Pentucket lurking in their bracket, the Big Blue is going to be heard from next year as just about everyone returns for another go.

* 4. CENTRAL CATHOLIC -- A killer schedule benefitted the Raiders down the stretch. With future Div. 1 college forward Katie Zenevitch back for two more years -- and a good freshman class to boot -- watch out for this team.

* 5. READING -- Rockets had a great tourney run and return four starters, including Jackie Lyons.

Memorable games during the season

Boys

* 1. Brockton 91, Catholic Memorial 90 -- For sheer intensity and shot-making, we wish you good luck finding a better game. Kyle Gerry capped off a wild final minute by going coast-to-coast and hitting a 12-footer at the buzzer.

* 2. Central Catholic 74, Charlestown 63 -- Trailing the entire game, the Raiders rallied to tie the score on a layup by Carson Desrosiers with time running out in regulation. Central Catholic then scored the first 13 points of overtime and never looked back.

* 3. Avon 87, Cathedral 84 -- Akeem Williams scored 50 points, including the game-winner in the second overtime as Avon knocked off the two-time champs.

* 4. Scituate 66, Medfield 64 -- Keith Fleury’s steal and layup in the final seconds gave the Sailors a win in the sectional semifinals.

* 5. Reading 61, Woburn 59 -- Nick Edson’s putback with a second left gave the Rockets a stunning tournament win in a game better known for Woburn’s decision to ban its student body from attendance following an incident at a hockey game earlier in the week.

Girls

* 1. New Bedford 50, Brockton 49 -- The Whalers’ third win of the season over their bitter rival was the sweetest, this one being a come-from-behind win in the sectional quarterfinals.

* 2. Cohasset 44, Manchester Essex 36 -- After struggling to find their offense in regulation, the Skippers put it all together in a four-minute overtime to capture the Div. 4 state title.

* 3. North Quincy 66, Franklin 57 -- Siobhan Carnell sent the game into overtime by hitting two free throws with 16 seconds left, then the Red Raiders put it into high gear in the extra session to finish the upset.

* 4. Cardinal Spellman 53, Archbishop Williams 51 -- Cori O’Kane knocked down two free throws in the waning moments to give the Cardinals the win.

* 5. Watertown 52, Ipswich 51 -- Brittany Obi-Talbot scored 28 points and grabbed 19 rebounds as the Raiders survived in a game better known for its late-game clock controversy.

Five things i’ll never understand

* Why the league representative for girls basketball in the South Coast Conference annually fails to do his duty and report the league’s weekly standings. Every year, it is the same old song dance when we contact this rep, a million excuses and zero results. Hopefully, other coaches in the league will lean on him to do his job next year and publicize the standings.

* Why a local college with better facilities won’t step up so that the South sectional finals can be held at a better venue than UMass-Boston. The list of complaints we hear from coaches, players and fans grows with each year. God bless the North’s home, Tsongas Arena.

* Why more and more places refuse to list on the scoreboard how many fouls players have tallied. Have we become so PC that we fear ruffling a kid’s feelings by listing it on the board?

* Why the MIAA focuses on the need for postgame handshakes to promote sportmanship when the bigger issue is conduct in the stands. The ill will on the court is nothing compared to the stands, where kids are allowed to spew venom to their hearts’ content.

* Why can’t we go back to getting the best officials to referee the best games in the tournament? There’s just too many occasions in which top-flight officials were bypassed or even blackballed in the postseason. That shouldn’t happen again

Bessey gets most out of young Cougars

Sport: Basketball (boys)  Posted: March 23rd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Bessey gets most out of young Cougars
 
BY MORNING SENTINEL STAFF


JIM BESSEY

Jim Bessey looked at his Mt. Blue High School boys basketball team last fall, and the veteran coach saw a lot of new faces.

The Cougars were coming off a 16-win season that ended in the Eastern Maine Class A semifinals. All five starters from that team had graduated, and Bessey had just three players on the roster who saw any significant varsity playing time last season.

Bessey made it clear early on that lack of experience wasn't an excuse for a lack of hard work.

"The first day back, he said this is Mt. Blue basketball, and we've had a run of successful seasons," junior Ben Russell said. "He really set the tone that we would work hard, even before summer basketball."

After losing the first two games of the season, Mt. Blue became one of the pleasant surprises in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference. The Cougars won 13 games and once again went deep in the postseason.

For guiding the Cougars back to the Eastern A semifinals, Jim Bessey is the Morning Sentinel Boys Basketball Coach of the Year. Troy Scott of Skowhegan and Mike McGee of Lawrence also were considered.

The turning point of the season came early, Bessey said, near the end of the second game, a 53-49 loss at Lawrence. Down 17 points with six minutes to play, Bessey called a timeout.

"I said at that point, our body language was bad, our effort wasn't there and the game wasn't over," Bessey said. "We went out and hit a 3, they missed a shot, we scored again and suddenly were down 11. With eight seconds left we were down two or three points."

After dropping the first two games of the season to Messalonskee and Lawrence, the Cougars won 11 of their next 12, losing only to eventual regional champion Bangor in the stretch. The Cougars beat Messalonskee, Brewer and Hampden all on plays in the final seconds. "I thought we'd be competitive," said Bessey, who won his 400th game in 2007 and just completed his 33rd year at Mt. Blue.

"This team got better as the season went on. We won a bunch of games and got confidence. This was a very bright team. Both Jamie (Sawyer) and Ben are straight-A students, and that leads to smart coaches."

In nearly three and a half decades, Bessey had never before had a team with no returning starters. Joe Gilbert and Justin Kobischen were the only seniors on the team, and Bessey found himself teaching more than in recent seasons.

"We did less offensively. We were probably less sophisticated than we've been before," Bessey said. "Defensively, we did more than we've done. We changed up a lot defensively. We had to play some zones."

Added Russell: "We went over much more on the fundamentals. Coach showed everybody their roles."

That those roles were embraced was another factor in Mt. Blue's success. "They did what was necessary to be a competitive team," Bessey said. "They understood their roles. They understood them and were happy with them. "It was a very rewarding season. It was a whole lot of fun for me."

Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242

tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com

Mosher making strides

Sport: Basketball (Girls)  Posted: March 23rd, 2008 by Tom Nolette

Mosher making strides
 
BY MORNING SENTINEL STAFF

Christina Mosher was in a lot of different roles this season. She began as an unused reserve, gradually became a starter and ended the winter as one of the top players off the bench for the University of Maine women's basketball team.

Mosher was a freshman on a team with little experience, and the 6-foot-2 Mt. Blue High School grad mostly sat and watched in the early going. Of UMaine's first six games, she played a total of six minutes in two and didn't get off the bench in the other four.

"She didn't stick out immediately," UMaine coach Cindy Blodgett said. "She slowly continued to work on her footwork, pick up the offense, that sort of thing, and found herself playing more minutes."

Although the Black Bears had a rebounding edge on their opponents this season, Mosher's ability on the boards was what Blodgett especially liked about her. Mosher twice led the Bears in rebounds, and her per-minute rebounding rate was the second best on the team.

"She's a very good offensive rebounder," Blodgett said. "She has an ability to come find the ball. You can't really teach that."

Blodgett wanted to bring Mosher along slowly, but with Maine on its way to a 7-23 record, she had more room -- and reason -- to experiment. Mosher played 29 minutes Feb. 13 against Albany, then started three days later against Stony Brook.

"It was amazing, to say the least," Mosher said. "It's been a dream for so long to help out the team, just to be entrusted to give it your all to start the game."

Mosher started the next three games before returning to the role of a substitute for the final three games of the regular season. She was one of only three reserves Blodgett used as the Bears fell to Stony Brook 64-58 in the quarterfinals of the America East tournament.

"We have great team chemistry," Mosher said. "We come to practice and still work hard. We've never given up on the season. Even though the games haven't gone our way, we haven't stopped trying for it."

Mosher also enjoyed playing under Blodgett, a Lawrence High and UMaine grad in her first season coaching the Black Bears.

"She's a great coach," Mosher said. "She's very patient with us. She looks out for us. Not just on the court, too. She's there if we need her off the court."

Mosher played 15.5 minutes per game this season. Blodgett thinks that number can go up with some improvements. She would like Mosher to get stronger, as Mosher often had trouble finishing inside baskets when she got bumped.

"It's all going to depend on how hard she wants to work," Blodgett said. "It's really the same for everyone on this team. They all have potential to play big minutes."

Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243

mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
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