Sports 01-11-2017

High Aspirations

Everett boys basketball team rolls into new year with perfect 6-0 mark

By Cary Shuman

The Everett High School boys basketball team has reached the Division 1 North semifinals in each of the last four seasons, the lone team in the sectional to lay claim to that impressive accomplishment.

Judging by the superlative start to the 2016-17 season, this is shaping up as the year that the Crimson Tide may take the next step and get to the North final and the Garden.

Coach John DiBiaso’s contingent starts the new year with a 6-0 record. The latest conquest was a 68-56 victory over Medford Friday night following wins over Saugus (87-47), Lynn Classical (82-75), Salem (86-48), Belmont (83-51), and Bishop Stang (60-52).

Jordan McAfee led the way past the Mustangs in the GBL opener with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Ghared Boyce had 14 points while Theo Zidor had 11 points.

Boyce, a new member of the 1,000-point club, is averaging 22 points a game. He had a season-high of 35 points versus Classical with five three-pointers. McAfee (12.8 ppg), Donnell Skeen (11.0) and Zidor (10.1) are also averaging double figures. The 6-foot-6-inch Zidor has blocked 20 shots through six games. Isaiah Likely, a 6-foot-4-inch transfer student, is averaging 6.7 points per game with 22 assists through six games.

“We’re happy and optimistic, we have to get in to a little bit of roll with consecutive games on the schedule and hopefully we’ll be ready to go,” said John DiBiaso. “Everybody is playing well. Somerville is also undefeated in the league and we’ll see them Friday night. And we have a big game against [defending Division 2 state champion] Mission Hill on Martin Luther King Day (10 a.m.).”

In addition to the starting five, Everett has been receiving steady contributions from Jean St. Vil, Jaylen Smith, Chris Jenkins, Gerrell Boyce, Shooby Beldor, and Jake Willcox off the bench.

The pollsters certainly think highly of the Everett High team. The Tide are No. 3 in the Globe Poll and No. 4 in the Herald’s Super Six. Former GBL foe Cambridge is No. 1 in both polls.

“The only ranking that counts is in the end,” said DiBiaso, whose EHS football team finished No. 1 in Massachusetts after winning the Division 1 Super Bowl.

Next generation:  Sons of former EBHS star Gerard Boyce are soaring in Everett

By Cary Shuman

Gerard Boyce has a seat at the table of East Boston High School’s greatest athletes. Boyce was an All-Star performer in two sports during a majestic career that would earn him admission to St. Thomas More prep school and a spot on the Central Connecticut State University football team.

“They used to call me ‘The Maniac’ back then,” recalled Boyce with a smile.

Mr. Boyce was a towering talent during the glorious Mike Rubin Era in basketball when Eastie was a city powerhouse and a state title contender every year. The 6-foot-3-inch defensive giant was a three-year (1988-1990) starter and played alongside fellow Eastie legnds Jermaine Wiggins, who later played for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, John Blake, Sean Williams, and the late Jamal Jackson, who went on to star at Cleveland State University.

Mr. Boyce was often called upon to defend the opposing team’s best player, including former NBA player Rick Brunson (“Brunson lit us up in 1989,” said Boyce) and former Ohio State star Scoonie Penn, who both played at Salem High School.

“Those years at East Boston High were very special,” said Boyce, who was also a free safety and split end for John Loftus-coached Jets teams. “We had a family-oriented environment. We played with tenacity on defense. We were led by the great Mike Rubin. He preached defense and that’s what we lived off of. Our defense was our offense. I’m still in contact with most of my teammates ‘til this day.”

Gerard Boyce remembers fondly the strong connections the students had with John Poto, who was the principal during his days at EBHS. “Also Tom Elliott was my freshman coach. He was a great guy. And everyone knew the legendary Tony Albano, who was my freshman/junior varsity coach. What a great person he was, always helping out kids.”

In football, Gerard Boyce still holds the East Boston High and state record with five interceptions during his senior season.

Mr. Boyce is now enjoying a front row seat for the careers of his four sons, Gerrin, Gerrell, Ghared, and Ghustin.

Mr. Boyce watched proudly as his son, Gerrell, a senior at Everett High School, helped the Tide claim the Division 1 Super Bowl title. Gerrell, whose godfather is the former Eastie coach and school principal, Mike Rubin, is also a member of the undefeated EHS basketball team.

Ghared Boyce, a 6-foot-1-inch junior, may be the best backcourtman in Massachusetts. Ghared is averaging 22 points a game, can hit the three at a high clip, and is already a 1,000-point scorer with many more games to be played in his high school career. Ghared, son of Gerard Boyce and LaLita Davis, is considered a top-tier Division 1 college basketball prospect.

“I’m very proud of what my sons are accomplishing in sports and academically,” said Mr. Boyce. “I just hope it continues on with their hard work on and off the court. “Gerell helped win a Super Bowl and has schools looking at him for football. Ghared is having an excellent career.”

Just as Mike Rubin had a profound influence on him at East Boston High, Gerard Boyce says that John DiBiaso has been an incredible mentor to Gerrell and Ghared.

“Coach DiBiaso has been a father figure to me and my kids,” said Mr. Boyce. “He’s just an amazing coach and person who cares about his players as athletes and students.”

 Mr. Boyce said he sees similarities between the current Everett High hoop team and his Jets teams of yesteryear.

“I think this Everett team is very athletic,” said Mr. Boyce. “Defensively they get after it and offensively they have more firepower than we did. If they play the tough defense and get the rebounding aspect done, I think we will see Everett-Cambridge in the North final. That’s definitely going to happen.”

EHS Roundup

EHS girls basketball defeats Medford, 56-43

The Everett High girls basketball team broke open a tight 23-19 contest at halftime with an overpowering third period to post a 56-43 victory over Greater Boston League rival Medford this past Friday.

After a tightly-played opening two periods in which the Lady Crimson Tide focused on their defense to contain Lady Mustang star center Destiny Fitzgerald, who had entered the encounter averaging more than 20 points per game, the Everett quintet turned on their offensive jets after the intermission. The Lady Crimson Tide outscored Medford 30-12 in the eight-minutes of the third period to break open the battle between the two top teams in the GBL.

The key to the Everett surge was a balanced scoring attack in which five Lady Crimson Tide players scored five points or more.

“We had great passing and ball movement,” said EHS head coach Tammy Turner. “The girls really took pride in their passing and making assists. It was a nice thing to see.”

Everett also employed a tough 3-2 zone defense to neutralize Fitzgerald after the first period in which Fitzgerald scored six points. “We stopped her after the first quarter and that took away a lot of their offense,” noted Turner.

With Everett holding a commanding 53-31 advantage after three frames, Turner was able to use all of her players over the final eight minutes.

Captain Yasmeen Guerrier led Everett in scoring with 19 points. Kiana Wilkerson also reached double figures with 10 points. Captain Nyomi Dottin and junior Jackie Emmanuel both hit for eight points, followed by Kloe Cardillo with six, captain Haley Powers with two, Carolann Cardinale with two, and Melissa Mendez with a free throw.

The Lady Crimson Tide, who have won two of their past three games to improve to 2-3 on the season, were set to play at Malden last night (Tuesday) and trek to Somerville Friday. They return home to host Lynn Classical this coming Tuesday at 7:00.

Faia reaches 100 point career mark

Although the Everett High hockey team is off to a 1-6 start under new head coach Erick Kainen, there have been some highlights for the Crimson Tide as they approach the end of the first half of the season.

Among the biggest was the attainment of the 100-point career mark by EHS captain Marc Faia. “Marc is one the leaders of our team and is a very gifted offensive player,” said Kainen. “He works very hard and sets a great example for our younger players. Reaching 100 points is a well-derrved accomplishment for him.”

Teammate and fellow senior captain Bryan Bessler, who (like Faia) has been a four-year performer for the Crimson Tide, is zeroing in on the 100-point career achievement.

“Our offense definitely is a strength of our team,” noted Kainen. “We have a number of players who can put the puck in the net.”

Joining Bessler and Faia in leadership roles are fellow seniors and assistant captains Ryan Snook and Louis Staffiery.

Junior goaltender Brendan Calderon has been a huge performer for Everett through the first seven games. “Although our goals-against average is not what we’d like it to be, Brendan has been immense for us,” noted Kainen. “He’s seen a lot of shots and made big saves in every game for us.”

Kainen also cited a pair of newcomers to the EHS varsity, sophomore Brian Giannelli and junior Nathan Johnson, who are among the Crimson Tide players who have been progressing steadily during the season. “Both Brian and Nathan have stepped up and epitomize what Everett hockey is all about,” said the coach. “They work hard and bring a hard-nosed, physical style. They play with a lot of grit.”

Kainen and his crew play Somerville this evening (Wednesday), trek to Minuteman Regional Monday afternoon, and then host East Boston next Wednesday at Allied Veterans Rink at 7:00.


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