Everett falls to Brighton in Holiday Classic
In a showdown of two high school basketball powerhouses, the Brighton High Bengals prevailed 76-71 over the Everett Crimson Tide in the second round of the Slades Bar and Grill Holiday Classic hosted by the Boston Amateur Basketball Club (BABC) Thursday morning, Dec. 28, at Cathedral High School in Boston.
The Holiday Classic is spread over two sessions and features prominent Massachusetts high school teams, as well as potent visitors from Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and New York. The Classic resumes January 14-15.
After dispatching Belmont 80-70 behind Ghared Boyce’s 35 points on Wednesday morning, Dec. 27, the Crimson Tide ran into trouble against a tenacious Brighton pack, powered by Laqu Howard (26 points) and Quincy Taylor (17).
Everett was led by Isaiah Likely, who scored a game-high 28 points, and Ghared Boyce with 24 points – 18 of them coming from Three-Point Land.
The Crimson Tide resume their season Friday night, at home against Peabody.
Price-Espada, Pope John Tigers claim Holiday Hoop Classic title
By Cary Shuman
There was no stopping sophomore guard Angel Price-Espada and the Pope John XXIII High School boys basketball team in the 2017 Holiday Hoop Classic on the Tigers’ home court
Price-Espada lit up the scoreboard with 36 points, 28 coming in the first half, as Pope John ran away from Winthrop, 87-65, in the championship game. Price-Espada was also an offensive force with 39 points in a win over Greater Lawrence in the semifinals.
Michael Thompson, a senior co-captain, had 15 points and a crowd-pleasing dunk. Junior guard Cameron Erickson, an excellent outside shooter, scored 12 points while junior forward Luis Velasquez contributed 10 points and six rebounds for the Tigers who improved to 7-1 and loom as one of the favorites in the Division 4 North sectional.
Price-Espada was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after displaying his terrific long-range shooting skills and dazzling dribbling. The 5-foot-7-inch guard is averaging close to 30 points a game.
“It feels good to be MVP but I was just looking to help our team win,” said Price-Espada, who grew up in Cambridge. “I think our team can go far this season.”
Coach Leo Boucher’s Tigers are the top-ranked team in Division 4 North and they routed a very good Winthrop team that is ranked No. 2 in the division. The two contenders will meet in the final game of the regular season on Feb. 21 in Winthrop and will likely see each other again in the State Tournament.
EHS girls basketball starts season at 3-3
After dropping their first two contests of the season to non-league rival Haverhill and Northeastern Conference foe Saugus, the Everett High girls basketball team reeled off three straight victories before dropping a down-to-the-wire, 71-69 decision to non-league opponent Billerica this past Friday.
The Lady Crimson Tide posted their first “W” of the year with a 58-45 triumph over Gloucester, led by the backcourt duo of captain Yasmeen Guerrier (25 points) and sophomore point guard Jackie Emmanuel (21 points). Senior captain Kloe Cardillo turned in an outstanding performance on the defensive end that keyed many of the Everett fast breaks led by Emmanuel and Guerrier.
The Lady Crimson Tide then ran away to a 51-29 triumph over Salem in which nine of the Everett girls got onto the scoresheet. The third victory of the string came against another non-league rival, Methuen, by a 57-45 score that was not quite as easy as the final score might indicate.
Everett held a slim 22-16 advantage at the half, but outscored Methuen by a wide 22-8 margin in the third period. Senior captain Kiana Wilkerson provided the spark that led to the Everett run, scoring all 10 of her points in the third period.
“We broke their press to start the second half,” said EHS head coach Tammy Turner. “That set up Kiana for shots in the 10-foot range and she buried them.”
The winning skein was snapped with a tough, 71-69 loss to Billerica. Everett trailed by 10 points at the half (39-29) and after three frames (52-42), but Guerrier caught fire, pumping in 23 of her game-high (and career-high) 37 points that helped draw the Lady Crimson Tide within three, 70-67, in the final minute.
However, Everett could not quite make it all the way back and came up short, 71-69.
Turner and her crew, who captured the last Greater Boston League championship before the GBL disbanded last year, are playing in the Northeastern Conference for the first time. All 16 NEC teams (which include former GBL schools Somerville, Malden, and Medford) are playing in the same division and will play each other once. Everett’s other five contests in its 20-game schedule will come against Haverhill and Methuen (twice each) and Billerica once.
After a bit of a break during the holiday week, the Lady Crimson Tide will return to action at Peabody this Friday and then onto Revere Tuesday. They will return home next Friday (January 12) to host Malden.
EHS track competes in NEC Frosh/Soph Meet
The freshmen and sophomore members of the Everett High boys and girls indoor track & field teams took part in the annual Freshman/Sophomore Meet of the Northeastern Conference that was held Saturday at the Beverly field house.
On the girls’ side, three Lady Crimson Tide earned medals. Jessica Santos finished in second place in the 50 yard dash in a time of 6.7 seconds. Teammate Victoria Chapman tied for fourth place with a clocking of 6.9.
Rothsaine Sylvaine earned a medal in the two-mile run with a time of 15:39, which was good for sixth place.
For the boys, Clarence Jules was the top individual finisher, taking second place in the 50 dash in 5.7 seconds. Mario Sheard took third spot in the shot-put with a toss of 39’-4”. Eduardo Chaparro earned four points for Everett with a fourth place finish in the 300 dash in 42.8.
The Crimson Tide 4 x 440 relay quartet won top honors with their clocking of 4:03.3.
Charlestown’s Leo Boucher has
PJ hoop looking like a contender
By Cary Shuman
Pope John XXIII High School boys basketball coach Leo Boucher has taken little time in turning his squad in to a powerhouse and a major contender for a state championship.
Boucher’s Tigers, top ranked in Division 4, showed their strength and firepower in belting Winthrop by an 87-65 score in the championship game of the Tigers’ Holiday Hoop Classic last Thursday night. Pope John improved its record to 6-1.
The explosive Tigers, led by a 36-point performance from their sensational sophomore guard, Angel Price-Espada, scored 27 points in the first quarter and were on pace to break the century mark before Boucher slowed down the game in sportsmanlike fashion.
Having a state-title contending team is familiar territory for the dynamic Boucher, who led St. Clement of Somerville to the crown in 2014. The St. Clement School closed last year and Boucher took his coaching skills to the Pope John program. Four of his St. Clement players, including senior captain Michael Thompson, also matriculated at Pope John.
It’s been a smooth transition as Boucher has guided Pope John to six victories, most notably over Arlington Catholic and Winthrop. The Tigers’ lone loss (54-50) was to O’Bryant High School, a top team in Division 2.
“I think Winthrop is still the team to beat in the division,” said Boucher, a proud Charlestown resident and 1984 graduate of Christopher Columbus High School. “We play Winthrop on their Senior Night so I’m sure they’ll be motivated after this game.”
Boucher preaches team togetherness and the Tigers have jelled quickly, passing the ball extremely well and playing tough end-to-end defense.
“I thought we were a little more focused against Winthrop,” said Boucher. “One of the things we have to get used to is playing the game together and not making it about an individual or individuals. Basketball is a team game.”
Sophomore guard Angel Price-Espada has been thriving in Boucher’s fast-paced attack. The 5-foot-7-inch Price-Espada is one of the state’s leading scorers.
“I think Angel is one of the better players in Division 4,” said Boucher. “The sky’s the limit for him. He’s just focused on his game and he’s incredibly talented.”
Boucher, 55, grew up in Charlestown, and was a basketball standout at Christopher Columbus High School in the North End, graduating in 1981. Boucher was a senior when fellow Townie and future NHL player Jim Vesey, became a freshman at Columbus.
“What a great [state championship] team Jimmy played on at Columbus,” said Boucher. “His son, Jimmy, is playing in the NHL and he’s a very bright, articulate kid and I’m sure they’re very proud of him.”
Boucher followed up his own glory days at Columbus with a star turn for the Saint Anselm College team. Boucher, a 6-foot-3-inch guard/forward, was known for his talent, toughness, and team leadership.
Can Leo Boucher take another team to the Boston Garden and beyond in his first season at Pope John?
“Our goal is take it one game at a time,” said Boucher. “But I think the kids are focused and they think they can make a run. And I think this team has the ability and the talent to make a run if they stay focused, stay mature, and do what they have to do as teammates – I think we’ll be fine.”
In addition to his coaching success, Boucher is also enjoying the role of a proud hockey father these days. His son, Aidan, played in the Charlestown Youth Hockey program and is currently an eighth-grade defenseman in the Catholic Memorial High School hockey program.
“He has a long way to go and he’s currently playing for the Junior Bruins hockey team,” said Boucher. “Hopefully if he turns in to a 6-3 defenseman, I think we’ll be pretty happy. I just want him to work hard and have fun.”