Rams at the Lowell Holiday Wrestling tournament

Placing at the Lowell Holiday Wrestling tournament includes from left, Austin Dube, Walter Humphrey and Frank Foti, who join head coach Mark Donovan.

    (courtesy photo).

LOWELL – With several outstanding individual performances, the Shawsheen Tech wrestling team had a very good weekend at the George Bossi Holiday Tournament this past Friday and Saturday, with a pair of wrestlers finishing in the top six of their weight class and several others wining multiple matches over the two-day tournament.

With their fine individual efforts, the Rams finished 21st overall as a team in the 81-team field made up of teams from all over New England, scoring 86 points for the tournament. Springfield Central took home the team title with 177 points, followed by Timberlane (NH) with 151 points.

“I thought we did pretty well. That is not a bad finish,” Shawsheen coach Mark Donovan said. “We had some kids we lost to injury so that made things tough, but it was a good tournament for us. We did very well on the first day.”

Leading the charge for the Rams on the weekend were a pair of juniors, with Austin Dube taking a sixth place finish at 120 pounds, while Frank Foti did the same at 126 pounds. Dube went 5-3 to earn his top six finish, winning all three of his matches on Friday, with two of them coming by pin, before returning for another day of wrestling on Saturday.

Dube lost his first match of the day on Saturday by a score of 7-4 to Joseph Perna of Burlington, before coming back with wins over Jack Callahan of Tewksbury and Josh Jackson of Springfield Central. Dube advanced to the fifth place match, where he was defeated by Perna for the second time of the weekend this time by a score of 8-0.

Foti earned a bye in the first round of the tournament, before winning three in a row to advance to the semifinals. His run to the semis included a thrilling 7-5 win over Payton Sills of Windham in the quarterfinals before he was eliminated from the championship bracket by Matthew Adams of Salem in a double overtime classic in the semis. Foti would then go on to lose his two matches in the consolation bracket to finish the tournament with a record of 3-3.

“They both wrestled well, especially Foti,” Donovan said. “Foti’s weight class was stacked, so for him to wrestle so well in that weight class was big.”

Senior Walter Humphrey also had a good tournament, going 4-3 for the weekend, including picking up a pair of wins by pin to earn an eighth place finish at 113 pounds.

Other multiple winners on the day for Shawsheen included senior Andrea Comeau who was 3-2 at 195 pounds, along with junior Diondre Turner of Wilmington, who also went 3-2 for the tournament. Turner won his first two matches of the tournament on Friday, winning by a 20-4 major decision over Nick Antonucci of Windham in the first round, followed by a 4-3 win over Teddy Moscatelli of Hollis-Brookline (NH).

Turner was eliminated from the championship bracket with a loss to eventual champion Kyle Merritt in the round of 16, before winning his first consolation match over Marcus Sconza of Pinkerton Academy by pin in 1:42. Turner was finally eliminated by Ale Fracassa of Franklin.

“Diondre has only been on the mat for a year, but he has improved so much,” Donovan said. “He is such a gifted athlete and he works hard in the room. He will making a name for himself by the end of this season.”

Shawsheen senior Justin Merrifield was 2-2 for the Rams at 138 pounds, while junior Aidan Leffler of Tewksbury was 1-2 at 182 pounds, as was senior Lucas Moreira of Tewksbury at 285 pounds. Other wrestlers who went 1-2 on the weekend included sophomore Lucien Tremblay at 106 pounds and junior Devin DeLuca at 132 pounds.

The Rams will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham and put their perfect 9-0 dual meet record on the line against powerhouse opponents Minnechaug and West Springfield.

BOYS HOOP

A pair of games in the Lowell Catholic IAABO 95 Holiday Tournament this past week showed made it very clear that while the Shawsheen Tech Boys Basketball team still has some work to do in order to improve, the young squad certainly has some potential to be a very good team.

In the opening game of the tournament last Saturday night, the Rams dropped a 76-61 decision to host Lowell Catholic, as an 18-point effort by junior forward Jalen Massengill was not enough to overcome a deep and talented Lowell Catholic roster.

Despite the loss, Shawsheen first year coach Joe Gore felt like his team played well despite long odds against Lowell Catholic.

“We played a very tough Lowell Catholic team,” Gore said. “They are very talented and they are coached very well. We battled them, but they are just an excellent team. Overall, I thought we actually played pretty well, but it just wasn’t enough to beat them.”

The Rams bounced back very well in their next game, in the consolation game of the tournament with a 76-49 win over Littleton on Sunday afternoon. Massengill was once again outstanding for the Rams with 18 points and ten rebounds to help the Rams even their record at 2-2 on the season.

“Jalen has played so well. His ceiling is so high and he has so much potential,” Gore said. “He has such great athleticism and his court awareness is so special. He scored 18 in each game of the tournament. He has really been a major part of our offense and we have been running our offense through him. He is our only player with varsity experience from last year and has kind of taken to that role of being an experienced leader. We will need that going forward.”

If Gore was happy with his team’s effort in the loss to Lowell Catholic, he was thrilled with the way they bounced back the very next day to pick up the win over Littleton.

“To come back within 16 hours and play so well was great. Our kids really responded,” Gore said. “Right from start today, the kids really responded. Don’t get a scouting report in something like this. For a young team, the kids responded really well.”

Another outstanding player for the Rams in the tournament was junior point guard of Jeremy Perez of Tewksbury. Perez had a great all-around game in the win over Littleton with eight points, nine assists and five rebounds. For his efforts, Perez was named to the All-Tournament team.

“It is so much watching Jeremy play basketball. He plays his heart out every time he is out on court,” Gore said. “He is our point guard and is able to handle any pressure that is thrown at him. He gets us in our offensive set, and gets us prepared. I don’t want to say he has been a surprise, but it is a little bit of a surprise how he has adjusted to the speed of the varsity game.

“Today was his first start of varsity season. He came off bench against Lowell Catholic, and we couldn’t get him off the court. He brings great energy and leadership on court. We are so pleased with how he has been able to adapt to varsity basketball. He gives an unbelievable effort on both sides of ball from start to finish in every game. He is not a big kid, (5’5) but he is the epitome of what we are trying to preach in our program. He is everything that embodies what we are trying to do. He is going to huge part of us going forward.”

In their game prior to the tournament, the Rams had picked up what at the time was their first win of the season with a 61-43 over Mystic Valley. In the victory the Rams got some outstanding play from sophomore guard Jeff Kelly and junior forward James Genetti, who each scored 15 points, while senior center Santino Garofalo added a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds.

At 2-2 at this point in the season, Gore sees even better days ahead for his squad.

“I definitely think we are trending in the right direction,” Gore said. “It is still early and we are definitely still searching for our true identity. But as a team collectively starting to click. Everybody is buying into what trying to do, which is to play as a team and work together and out work the other team. I think everyone is starting to trend in right direction.

Shawsheen will be back in action on Friday night when they host CAC rival Lowell Catholic at 7:00 pm.

BOYS HOCKEY

It has been a mixed bag of results for the Shawsheen Tech Boys Hockey team to this point in the season, as the Rams have struggled against non-league opponents while dominating their foes in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference.

After kicking off their season with a loss to East Longmeadow, as well as a loss to Billerica in non-league clashes, the Rams rattled off three straight wins recently against CAC foes, with two of them coming in blowout fashion. However, with a loss Haverhill on Friday in the championship game of the Haverhill Christmas Tournament, the saw their record drop to 3-2 overall (3-2 in the CAC). The Billerica game, an endowment game, does not officially count in the standings.

The Rams picked up their first win of the season on Thursday, December 19, dominating CAC rival Rockport/Manchester Essex by a score of 8-1 at the Hallenborg Pavilion. Sophomore Dylan Timmons of Wilmington had two goals and three assists, while senior assistant captain Nate Silva of Tewksbury dished out five assists for Shawsheen, as part of a 44-shot attack by the Rams.

Senior forward J.J. Thibert of Wilmington had three goals and one assist, while junior forward Sean Murphy of Tewksbury had a goal and an assist. Freshman defenseman Tom Sampson and junior forward Connor Preble of Tewksbury both scored their first varsity goals for the Rams.

It was more of the same for the Rams in their next game, a 9-2 walloping of Lynn Tech on Saturday, December 21 at the Connery Rink, with many of the same stars getting the job done for the Rams in this blowout win.

Thibert had a five point night with a hat trick to go along with two assists. While Timmons and Silva each had two goals and two assists in the win. Sophomore forward Aydan Churchill of Wilmington scored the first goal of his varsity career, while senior DJ Williams of Tewksbury had one goal, and Kyle Brouillette, Chance Fitzgerald, DJ Ducharme and Connor Preble finished with one assist apiece. Senior Kam Neault of Tewksbury made 15 saves.

Shawsheen extended their winning streak to three games on Monday, December 23 with an exciting 2-1 win over Essex Tech in the first round of the Haverhill Hillie Christmas Tournament, with Murphy and Thibert providing the goal scoring for the Rams, while Fitzgerald, Silva and Timmons had assists and Neault made 27 saves to earn his third win of the season.

The Rams will be back in action on Thursday night when they host CAC rival Minuteman at the Hallenborg Arena.

GIRLS HOOP

The Shawsheen Girls Basketball team has had a very light schedule as of late, with only one game in the past two weeks, back on December 20 against Mystic Valley. The Rams, however, made very good use of their limited time on the court with a 62-46 blowout win over Mystic Valley in a home game.

The Rams were led by an outstanding effort by senior captain Shelby Bourdeau, who had 15 points, nine assists and ten rebounds, while fellow captain Susanna Gillis had 14 points and two steals to help secure the victory.

Shawsheen will be back in action on Thursday night when they host non-league rival Lowell Catholic at 6:30 pm.

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