Classical girls hoop plays well in near upset of top-ranked Revere
Wilkey scores 20 points in 55-43 defeat
By Cary Shuman
For three quarters the Lynn Classical girls basketball team looked like it might have the steam to upset Revere for the second year in a row, having toppled the Division 1 North finalists in the regular season on Classical’s senior day last February.
With a representative from the Division 1 UMass/Lowell women’s basketball program scouting Classical’s Paris Wilkey, the Rams’ talented junior forward produced an impressive 20-point performance that helped the hosts take a four-point lead (40-36) after three quarters.
But Revere (3-0) took control in the fourth quarter with its 6-foot-2-inch center, Valentina Pepic, dominating the boards and scoring 10 of her team-high 24 points. Revere went on to defeat Classical, 55-43, before an audience that included Classical Principal Gene Constantino, former girls basketball head coach.
Classical coach Tom Sawyer felt that Pepic’s presence loomed large in the game’s outcome.
“There’s a reason she [Pepic] was the conference player of the year last year,” said Sawyer. “She’s 6-foot-2 and has a soft touch around the basket. Unfortunately we didn’t execute our game plan on her and she took advantage of it.”
Wilkey was at her best in the third quarter when she went on a 10-point spree to turn a 31-23 deficit into a 40-36 Classical lead after three periods. Iriania Delgado continued her strong start to the season with 10 points. Soneta Srey, Jeylly Medrano, and Priscill Alouidor also played well for the Rams, who are 2-1.
Revere outscored Classcal, 19-3, in the fourth quarter.
“The game’s actually pretty simple – it comes down to you have to make shots,” said Sawyer. “Revere made some in the fourth quarter and we didn’t. I wasn’t really happy with our defense in the fourth quarter and we didn’t execute like we needed to and it cost us a game against a very good team and they took advantage of it. But our kids gave a tremendous effort. We just came up a little short.”
Revere is ranked No. 1 in Division 1 North (the same division and sectional as Classical), so the competitiveness of Monday’s game could serve Classical well in its Northeastern Conference schedule and in the State Tournament.
“If we focus and execute on the offensive and defensive end, I think we can be competitive with everybody.”
The UMass/Lowell coach spoke with Sawyer after the game. “UMass Lowell was here tonight to check in on Paris Wilkey,” related Sawyer. “It’s exciting. Lowell is one of the schools she’s interested in.”
Revere’s 6-foot-2-inch senior Meaghan Gotham has committed to Post University, a Division 2 school located in Waterbury, Connecticut – not to be confused with C.W. Post, which is now known as Long Island University (LIU) Post.
Meanwhile, Revere’s Valentina Pepic, a junior, has received correspondences from Assumption, Merrimack, and Hofstra.
Athletic director Bill Devin is continuing the Classical tradition of having the athletic director serve as the public address announcer. Former athletic director Dick Ruth, official clock operator for Monday’s game, started the tradition. Devin really puts a lot of enthusiasm in to his intros of the Classical players.
Classical media teacher and former Northeastern Conference three-time All-Star shortstop Afton Dean handled the Revere-Classical play-by-play responsibilities for Lynn Educational Television.
Classical defeated Peabody, 48-28 last Friday. Wilkey and Srey each scored 14 points.
Classical will play St. Mary’s on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the Boverini Tournament at Lynn English High School.