BILLERICA — The good times continued to roll for the Shawsheen Tech Boys Basketball team this past week as the Rams picked up two more wins over CAC rivals to improve to 6-2 (5-1 in the CAC) on the season, defeating Whittier Tech last Friday night by a score 57-47 before downing Northeast by a score of 58-38 on Tuesday.

The Rams have now won five straight games under the direction of first year head coach Joe Gore.

In Friday’s win over Whittier, the Rams seized control of the game with a big second quarter and never looked back, going out to a 27-18 halftime leading and extending their lead to 49-37 at the end of three quarters before holding on against a strong surge by Whittier in the fourth quarter.

“The kids are playing really well,” Gore said. “They are really beginning to show glimpses of our potential. We are just struggling a little bit to put it together for four quarters. The team first approach has been paying off for us, but we just haven’t been able to keep it going for an entire game.”

The Rams led just 15-14 at the end of the first quarter on Friday before getting some separation in the second quarter. They were led by a tremendous effort by senior forward Santino Garafalo of Tewksbury who had 18 points and 17 rebounds and was the key to giving the Rams a big halftime lead.

“That was a great game by Santino,” Gore said. “In the first quarter we were struggling a little bit, but we decided to just put the ball in Santino’s hands and let him take over. They had no answer for him. Every day he is getting better and better and he is going to be a force in Division 3 North. We are excited to see what he can do the rest of the season.”

Whittier also didn’t have much of an answer for junior Jake Tyler, who chipped in with 16 points of his own off then bench to help the Rams cause.

“Jake is probably the best pure shooter in our lineup,” Gore said. “He probably could be in the starting lineup, but he gives us such a spark off the bench that it is almost better to have him in that role. He can score in bunches and when he gets hot, he can be deadly from beyond the three-point line. He is starting to find his groove.”

Senior captain Larry Bevis also had a night for the Rams with ten points and eight rebounds, all of which came in the second half.

“Larry works hard in practice every day and it has been paying off for him. He has been averaging about nine points per game” Gore said. “He has some scoring ability and he is also a very good leader. He is probably our best communicator when he is on the floor.”

The Rams continued their winning ways on Tuesday night with a 58-38 road win over Northeast. This time it was junior James Genetti leading the way for the Rams, with 15 points and ten rebounds, while sophomore Jeremy Perez of Tewksbury set the tone on defense with eight steals.

The Rams will hit the court again on Friday night when they travel to Greater Lawrence for another key CAC battle.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

The effort has certainly been there on a nightly basis for the Shawsheen Tech Girls Basketball team, but their inexperience has also shown in several games. That was certainly the last Friday night for the Rams, as they put up a great effort only to come up just a little short in a 54-50 loss on the road to CAC rival Northeast, dropping their record to 3-3 on the season.

While the effort was there for most of the game, a slow started ultimately came back to haunt the Rams.

“I felt like some sloppy play in the first quarter that put us into a hole that was hard to come out of,” Shawsheen coach Kate Marshall said. “We allowed too many second attempt opportunities under the hoop that allowed their big players to get 12 points on put-backs. Had we boxed out and protected the key more, the game would have been much different.”

On the other hand, Marshall was pleased with the way her team continued to battle through the rest of the game, trailing by just points at the half and battling Northeast basket for much of the rest of the game.

“I’m actually pretty proud of the team for keeping their composure in the fourth, because for our young squad that’s the first time we’ve been that close at the end of regulation so far this season,” Marshall said. “It’s usually a ten-point swing in our favor or the opposite direction.”

Susanna Gillis led the way for the Rams with 18 points, while Shelby Bourdeau led the Rams in assists and Darielle Wilson led the way on the boards.

Prior to the loss to Northeast, the Rams had defeated Essex Tech in a home game last Tuesday by a score of 52-37, getting outstanding efforts throughout their lineup.

“The Essex game allowed us to experiment with lineups that I haven’t been able to do so far this season,” Marshall said. “I was able to put shifts of five girls in and out throughout the game and saw which combinations worked and which one’s didn’t. All twelve girls contributed to the score that game, and if we can have more games like that, we’ll be in good shape.”

With a 3-3 record at this point, Marshall is looking forward to seeing what her team can do the rest of the way, as they continue to improve.

“Like I said at the beginning of the season, this is a young team. We only have four returning varsity players, and my starters are mostly sophomores and juniors, so we’re going through some growing pains,” Marshall said. “There’s a mental toughness and maturity that is required to play at the varsity level and we’re still developing in that area but I think our future is very bright. Hopefully the losses are remedied the second time around when we play these teams. I think we’ve got some work to do in protecting the hoop and making sure we can shut down the other team from second and third attempt opportunities.”

The Rams will be back in action on Friday night when they host CAC rival Greater Lawrence.

SWIMMING

Another outstanding effort from the Shawsheen Tech Co-Ed Swimming team led to yet another victory this past week as the Rams improved to 6-0 on the season with an impressive 94-76 road win over CAC rival Greater Lawrence last Friday afternoon.

The Rams got contributions throughout their lineup to earn the dominant victory, with several athletes new to the varsity squad seeing some action. But some of the Rams regulars still helped contribute to the victory, keeping the Rams perfect on the season.

“This was another big league win; it was truly a team effort. This is the first meet we traveled with a full squad and was very happy with our results,” Shawsheen coach Rick Menard said. “The more experienced swimmers were able to rest up a bit as we had our newer swimmers put in places to compete against a smaller Greater Lawrence squad.”

One of those young swimmers who made the most out of his opportunity was freshman Anthony Bastianelli, who won the 200-yard freestyle in a time of 2:40.84. Bastianelli led a sweep of the event, along with senior Kelsey Boutwell who was second and junior Jacqui Megna who was third.

The Rams swept several events on the day, with senior Andrew Farrell of Tewksbury taking the 100-yard freestyle in a time of 1:09.18, followed by junior Connor Maguire in second and fellow junior Tyler Newhouse of Wilmington in third. They also had a clean sweep in the 200 individual medley, with junior Damien Hadden of Tewksbury taking first in a time of 2:22.12, followed by junior Derek Costello and Zach Morris, both of Wilmington.

Other sweeps for the Rams came in the 100-yard butterfly where senior Vincent Lopez took first in a time of 1:15.88, while freshman Alyssa Wallace was second and sophomore Tyler Kopacz of Tewksbury was third as well as in the 500-yard freestyle where sophomore Aiden Singh was first in a time of 5:44.63, while Hadden was second and Boutwell was third. The final sweep of the day came in the 100-yard mixed breaststroke where sophomore Kevin Sevens took first in a time if 1:28.16, followed by senior Celina Barczak and junior Dillon Lavallee.

Several other Rams also turned in impressive performances on the day, including a trio of freshmen.

“Bastianelli did a great job to win the 200, while Evan Pinto and John Allard both had very impressive showings in the 50-freestyle. They are showing the promise of a bright future for this program as all three are freshman that are making an impact on this season’s success” Menard said. “Vincent Lopez one of our better breaststrokers and freshman Alyssa Wallace were both able to get best their times in the 100-fly as part of one of our sweeps on the day.

“Kinsey Boutwell had a huge drop in the 500 off of her best personal time while Lexi Vio and Dillon Lavallee both shattered their personal records in the 50 free.”

The Rams continued their outstanding swimming on Monday, performing very well while suffering a tough 82-79 loss to Winchester for their first loss of the season. They also took on perennial CAC champ Mystic Valley on Wednesday at Shawsheen in the team’s Senior Meet, with results of the meet not available as of press time.

WRESTLING

The Shawsheen Tech Wrestling team had made a habit of facing and knocking off great programs during the course of their history and this past weekend was no exception as the Rams traveled to Lawrence for a super quad meet against Lawrence, Winchester, Brockton and Central Catholic, coming away with a 3-1 record on the day against the stacked opposition.

The Rams earned wins over Lawrence by a score of 44-32, Winchester (49-19) and Brockton (46-27), while suffering their only loss of the day to a powerful Central Catholic squad by a score of 41-33. The 3-1 day improved the Rams to 16-2 on the season.

“I thought we had a good day,” Shawsheen coach Mark Donovan said. “We beat some very good teams and Central I think is one of the best teams in the state and we were right there with them as well. We are 16-2 right now and that is very good for this team. Of course, I would rather we were 18-0, but we have had some big wins over some very good teams.”

The Rams were led to victory by several wrestlers who went 4-0 on the day, including senior captain Walter Humphrey, who swept all four of his matches at 113 pounds, pinning two of his opponents. Humphrey has made tremendous strides for the Rams in his senior season.

“Walter got into a couple of matches last year with the varsity, but he has taken a big step forward this season,” Shawsheen coach Mark Donovan said. “He is doing what he needs to do as a varsity captain. Her has kind of come out of nowhere. He has put in all of the hard work and he is doing very well for himself.”

Other wrestlers who went 4-0 on the day for the Rams included junior Diondre Turner of Wilmington at 145 pounds, who had two pins, along with Austin Dube at 120 pounds with all of his wins coming by pin.

Aiden Leffler of Tewksbury was among several Rams who went 3-1 on the day, with Leffler accomplishing the feat at 182 pounds, with one of his wins coming by pin.

“Aiden is having a very good season,” Donovan said. “He is just a great kid. He has good ethics. He is a good character person. He has a lot of natural ability and he embraces the grind. He is the type of kid you want on your team. He put in the work in the off season and it is paying off for him.”

Other wrestlers who won three matches on the day for the Rams included Frank Foti (126 pounds, 2 pins) and Andre Comeau (195 pounds, 3 pins). Devin DeLuca (132), Justin Merrifield (138) and Justin Elias (152) each won two matches for the Rams.

At 16-2 on the season to this point, it would be fair to say that the Rams have overachieved this season, especially considering that they lost several quality wrestlers off of last year’s squad.

“I think they have overachieved, but it is also kind of what we expect from them,” Donovan said. “I don’t believe in rebuilding, it is more reloading. The kids have bought into that. We have set the bar very high here and we know that we have a bullseye on our backs every year.

“Central Catholic was a good example of that, with two powerhouses going at it. We are 16-2, and we would like to be even better. The kids are still working at it.”

The Rams were back in action on Wednesday night with a home match against CAC rival Whittier, with results unavailable as of press time. They will hit the mats again on Saturday when they travel to Reading for a super quad meet with Reading, Greater Lawrence, Wakefield and North Andover.

“There are no cupcakes on our schedule,” Donovan said. “Our league is what our league is, but we face a lot of very good teams every year. We will travel a good distance to face very good teams and we have already done that this season. It is good for a CAC team to wrestle in Division 1 the way we do and also to do so well. We won’t back down from anyone.”

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