Here are the Daily Times Chronicle's annual Winter Sports All-Stars. Only the sports that the sports department comprehensively covers for our four towns are eligible.
Reading High — Senior
One word to sum up Haley Lightbody’s four-year Reading High girls basketball career is “relentless.”
Standing just under 5-foot-7, Lightbody’s game was about 100-percent effort, toughness, speed and quickness. When the book closed on her senior year after a tournament loss to Andover, Lightbody totaled 1,326 career points. Only Olivia Healy, who was the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2013, scored more points (1,893) in the Reading girls program.
Lightbody (18.4 ppg this year) was named the Middlesex League Liberty Division’s MVP this year while earning her third straight Liberty Division All-Star. There was also a spot for Lightbody on the first-year All-Conference team the Middlesex League selected. The Boston Herald chose Lightbody as an All-Scholastic.
What is remarkable about Haley Lightbody’s career 1,326 career points is she basically scored them without being a 3-point shooter. Now playing in an era where 3-point shooting is an increased focus in a basketball team’s offense, Lightbody only made 12 in her career. Her game was attacking the rim, especially in transition where her speed made her nearly unstoppable.
Sure, Lightbody had a knack for scoring but she also had a knack for making her teammates better.
Coach Jim DeBenedictis made sure the ball always went through the four-year varsity veteran. If Lightbody wasn’t driving to the basket to score or get fouled, she was kicking it out to outside shooters Isabella Zagami and freshman Jackie Malley who combined to make 72 3-pointers this year — most courtesy of a Lightbody pass.
Yes, Haley Lightbody made teammates better but also the Reading program. After Healy left in 2013, the Reading girls program’s elite run, that could be traced back to the beginning of the millennium, began to wane. After a .500 season in 2013-14, the Lady Rockets hit rock-bottom in 2014-15 with a 2-20 record.
Lightbody’s arrival the next season caused barely a ripple with a 5-17 record, but the 4-5 finish the Lady Rockets had over the final nine games did give a bit of an indication of what was to come.
Her sophomore year Reading jumped to 15-8 and made the Div. 1 North tournament while her junior year the team went 12-9 while earning another tournament spot.
This season the goal was to win a tournament game which it did with a 56-38 victory against Revere at Hawkes Field House. The trail ended in the quarterfinals where they bowed to Andover to finish with a 17-5 record.
As good as Lightbody is in basketball, she is as good, if not better in track. She is a state-class pole vaulter and sprinter. She will continue her track career at Stonehill College.
HONORABLE MENTION: Isabella Zagami, Reading High, Senior; Megan Roderick, Woburn High, Junior.
Reading High — Senior
A four-year varsity starter for the Reading High girls hockey team, Paradis emerged as one of the Middlesex League’s top players this season as well as going down as one of the Reading girls program’s best players in its history.
Paradis finished the season with a scoring line of 21-18-39 and was named MVP of the Middlesex League Liberty Division as well as Liberty All-Star and a spot on the first-year All-Conference Team.
A great skater with a crafty left-handed shot, Paradis was the driving force behind her team’s successful season. Reading went 11-4-6 overall before ultimately losing in the preliminary round of the MIAA Division 1 tournament to Needham, 4-2, at Burbank Arena despite both goals scored by Paradis.
Serving as her team’s captain both her junior and her senior year was a huge accomplishment for Paradis.
“It was big honor for me,” said Paradis. “I was very proud my coaches and teammates thought I would make a good leader. I was very excited to work on my leadership skills and be like the captains that had led me my freshman and sophomore year.”
Paradis finished her four-year varsity career for Reading as just one of four players to ever eclipse 100 points. She winds up third all-time on the scoring list with a line of 51-67-118. Only Dominique Lozzi (Class of 2008) with 214 points and Ali O’Leary (2016) with 151 scored more.
Originally Paradis committed to Sacred Heart last fall but decommitted to now head to UMass Amherst where she will be majoring in nursing and playing on the school’s club ice hockey team.
HONORABLE MENTION: Sydney Conte, Reading High, Junior; Niki Micciche, Winchester, Soph., Mackenzie Russo, Woburn, Soph.
Winchester High — Senior
A four-year member of the varsity basketball team for the Sachems, it was not until his senior year that Joe McCarron was able to show all he had to offer.
Winchester ultimately did not have enough supplementary offense, but McCarron (17.8 ppg) led the Sachems to within one quarter of making the tournament.
The 5-11 senior co-captain and Middlesex League Liberty All-Star, as well as All-Conference, started his high school career coming off the bench as a freshman and provided reliable shooting from beyond the arc. It was that skill which remained a constant throughout his career and led to McCarron now graduating as Winchester’s fourth all-time leader in 3-point field goals with 114.
After playing along side Liam Fitzpatrick for three years, this winter allowed McCarron his chance to show off his total skills set and leadership abilities. McCarron was always a key figure in Winchester’s big wins with his ability to come up with steals and turn them into points with assists and layups, and his willingness to take the biggest shots of the game and make them.
The highlight of the season came when McCarron put up 39 points in a non-league game against Marblehead, a new school record. He also poured in 30 in an overtime victory over Woburn. Seven other times he scored 20 points over more in a game.
The time in the offseason McCarron put in working on his game was reflected by his shooting stats. He connected on 37 3-pointers and had a fine free-throw percentage of 83 percent.
Showing an all-around game he averaged 3.3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
McCarron will graduate as Winchester’s seventh all-time scorer and sixth all-time assists leader. He is undecided on his plans for college this fall.
HONORABLE MENTION: Matt Sannella, Reading High, Senior; Al Wong, Burlington High, Senior; Ryan Ludwig, Woburn High, Senior.
Winchester High — Senior
A senior co-captain, Drew served as a four-year varsity member of the Sachem boys’ hockey squad.
Over the past two seasons, Drew finished among the top five scorers in the Middlesex League and was selected to this year’s Middlesex League All-Star team. In addition, Drew was just one of six hockey players to be chosen on the Middlesex League All-Conference squad.
Drew will also help represent the league in the upcoming annual Shriners Hockey All-Star Game.
Leading the Sachems (17-8-0) in scoring this season, Drew accumulated 44 total points, which included 28 goals and 16 assists. Drew also achieved a plus-11 on ice rating. He also had seven shorthanded goals. In addition, Drew recorded three hat tricks.
In the Division 1 North final against St. John’s Prep at the Tsongas Center, Drew broke a 1-1 tie in the third period by scoring two goals just 1:32 apart to propel the Sachems to the 4-1 victory.
Over his high school career, Drew surpassed the 100-point club, totaling 116 points (75-41-116).
“Mike is a true leader on and off the ice,’’ said Winchester coach Bill Burns. “He’s a pleasure to coach and he’s a very gifted hockey player. He plays well in all three zones and he is one of the main reasons why we went as far as we did in the tournament. He had a great senior season and he rose to the occasion when we needed him to. His leadership will be sorely missed.”
In the spring Drew plays lacrosse and is an honors student in the classroom. Drew plans on attending the University of Wisconsin in the fall.
HONORABLE MENTION: Ryan O’Halloran, Burlington High, Junior; Michael Tobin, Reading High, Senior.