Sports 02-22-2012

EHS girls qualify for state tourney

The Everett High girls basketball team qualified for the state tournament for the second time in the past three years with an emotional 40-37 triumph over Salem Thursday in the EHS gym.

The Lady Crimson Tide had been on the cusp of punching their ticket for a Journey to the Tourney for the past two weeks, but three straight losses against teams they had defeated earlier in the season had left Everett with a 9-9 record entering the tilt against Salem, which was another opponent whom the Lady Crimson Tide had defeated their first time around.

Similar to their three previous contests, Everett came out hesitantly against Salem, falling behind 9-6 after one period and trailing 21-14 at the half.

“We weren’t playing with confidence,” said EHS head coach Tammy Turner. “We weren’t able to establish the sort of consistent flow that had been a key to our success throughout the season.”

However, after a pep talk from the coach that fired up her charges during the intermission, the Lady Crimson Tide came out with the level of intensity that had sparked them to victory on nine previous occasions this season.

Senior captain Taylor Sweeney led the way. Taylor sank a pair of three pointers and made a steal and drove in for the layup, helping Everett to reverse the seven point halftime deficit into a 31-28 advantage after three frames.

But Salem dug deep and refused to fold. The visitors fought back in the final period and, with Everett’s leading rebounder, senior captain Amanda DeSouza, on the bench with four fouls, forged  a one point lead with about two minutes to go.

That’s when things got interesting. A Salem girl threw an elbow to the face of an Everett girl, knocking her to the ground, in front of the EHS bench. DeSouza sprang up and ran onto the court to protect her teammate. Although that earned Amanda an automatic ejection, the emotional display of support for her teammate rallied both the Everett girls and their fans in attendance.

Salem got the better of the exchange of technical foul shots (two for Everett for the flagrant foul, two for Salem for the ejection) by hitting one to enlarge their lead to two points, 37-35, but the EHS girls were not to be denied.

Sweeney stole the ensuing inbounds pass, drove the floor, pulled up at the top of the key, and drained a three pointer in front of a Salem defender to boost Everett into a 38-37 advantage. With Everett playing determined, hard-nosed defense, Salem could not get a good look at the basket and got off a poor shot. Senior captain Tori Cyrus was fouled after the Salem miss. Though Cyrus did not hit the front end of her one and one, Jess Wade tipped the rebound to Savannah Spinney, who snared the carom. Savannah gave the ball to Cyrus, who once again was fouled by Salem.

This time however, Tori sank both tosses from the charity stripe to make it a 40-37 contest with 27 seconds to play. Everett played an aggressive man to man defense to ensure that Salem did not get an open three point shot and once again the Lady Crimson Tide forced nothing more than a desperation heave from Salem as time wound down.

“It went down to the wire, but we did what we had to do to win it,” said Turner.

Spinney and Sweeney led Everett with 12 points each, followed by Spressa Ramadani with nine, DeSouza with six, Jess Wade with five, Mimi Febles with four, and Yemi Okhihan and Cyrus with three each.

The dramatic, tourney-clinching victory was a fitting climax to Senior Night festivities at which all of the seniors were recognized for their contributions to the EHS girls basketball program.

Two nights earlier the EHS girls dropped a 55-50 decision at Waltham in a contest in which all three senior captains, Cyrus, Sweeney, and DeSouza, were forced to the bench for long stretches because of early foul trouble.

However, Spinney, who finished with eight points and 15 rebounds, and Ramadani both stepped up to keep the Lady Crimson Tide in the game.  Everett trailed 41-33 after three frames and was behind by 10 points with about five minutes to go. But thanks primarily to the efforts of Spinney and Ramadani, the Lady Crimson Tide closed the gap to three in the final minute.

Sweeney hit for 13 points, despite her foul troubles. Spinney had eight points, followed by DeSouza with seven, Wade with six, and Cyrus and Ramadani with three each.

The Lady Crimson Tide, who now stand at 10-9 on the year, were set to close out their regular season two nights ago (Monday) at Marblehead. They then will await announcement of their tourney seeding and first round pairing, which should come by the end of this week.

Boys hockey team continues to roll

The Everett High boys hockey team added two more notches to its victory belt with a pair of wins over Brookline this past week. The Crimson Tide defeated Brookline 1-0 last Wednesday in the local arena on a goal by Ryan Considine and then blanked Brookline again, 6-0, in the return match Saturday at the old Walter Brown Arena.

The twin wins raised the Crimson Tide’s record to 13-4-1 which will improve their seeding in the upcoming state tourney and may even give them a home game in the opening round.

Everett hosted the annual Bishop Mulloy Tourney this week and dropped a 5-4 decision in an overtime shootout  to Northeast Vocational School in the opening round on Monday. However, the game will be counted officially as a tie for purposes of the MIAA seedings. Everett had won a game in a shootout earlier this year to win the Lynn Christmas Tourney, but that was counted as a tie.

Boys 4 x 200 relay does well at states

The EHS boys 4 x 200 relay quartet of Soufiane Fdal, Bryan Cedeno, Jonathan Mendez, and Andres Tejada turned in their best performance of the season at Saturday’s Division 1 State Meet at the Reggie Lewis Center.

The Crimson Tide foursome blazed around the oval in a time of 1:37.49, which gave them a ranking of 20th among the 35 schools who competed at the invitation-only meet.

“The boys worked really hard all week and it paid off for them,” said EHS head coach Shelanda Irish. “All of their hand-offs were perfect.”

Mendez and Tejada also competed in the 300 meter dash for which they had qualified individually. Jonathan finished in 27th spot in a time of 38.08.Andres was 29th with a clocking of 38.26.

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