Sports 03-06-2018

Classical girls basketball loses to Wilmington

By Joyce Erekson

The Classical High girls basketball team put together one of its best season’s ever this year, but the wild ride came to an end Saturday with a 64-58 loss to Wilmington in a Division 2 North quarterfinal game at Classical.

Classical coach Tom Sawyer knew coming in his team would have to contend with a pair of six-footers and the Rams did just that for nearly three quarters. Classical led by two at the half, but  eventually the Wildcats went on a 20-3 run that put them  squarely in the driver’s seat. Classical shaved t a 10-point deficit down  to six with 1:30 remaining, but the Wildcats hung tough.

“Tonight just wasn’t our night,” Sawyer said. “They were too big for us. Their size hurt us on the offensive rebounding, but it wasn’t through a lack of effort. They had a little bit of size on us and they used it well.”

Paris Wilkey led the way for the Rams. The Franklin Pierce-bound senior had 21 points with the rest of the scoring spread around. Junior Jazzmine Masse was good for nine, senior Irianis Delgado, eight, and Jean Gufton and Jeylly Medrano, seven each.

Wilmington’s 6-2 center Caroline Anderson also had 21 points with a good chunk of the them, especially in the early going, coming at the free throw line (13-for-14). Overall the Wildcats were 22-for-33 from the line. They also had their perimeter game going, burying eight threes with half of them coming from senior Isabella Granara (15 points).

“She (Andersen) is big. She’s skilled and she’s aggressive. That’s a good combination to have,” Sawyer said. “They hurt us on the boards. That was the story of the game. But even though we were undersized, my kids battled and battled and battled. I’m really proud of them.”

The Rams graduate six seniors – Wilkey, Delgado, Medrano, Damilola Abraham, Tyarah Horton and Maryah Chandler.

“When they came in four years ago, we didn’t even make the state tournament and they leave getting to the second round in three consecutive years,” Sawyer said, adding the team’s 19-1 regular season record was the second best ever.

“I’m not surprised by them. When you have kids willing to commit to a sport, this is the kind of result you get,” Sawyer said. .

Although he knew what he had in his seniors, Sawyer wasn’t sure what to expect from his underclassmen. He wasn’t disappointed.

“None of them had varsity minutes, but they all played big roles in getting us a Northeastern Conference championship,” he said.

For Wilkey, the loss to Wilmington marks the end of a very successful high school career that saw her eclipse the 1,000 career-point milestone.

“This (the loss) doesn’t take away from what we accomplished this season,” Wilkey said. “We were 19-1. Now we’re 19-2. I couldn’t be any prouder of this team.”

Classical swimming star Sirois will attend US Naval Academy

By Cary Shuman

When Sarah Sirois first stepped on the diving platform four years ago for the Lynn Classical swim team, head coach Denise Silva knew the freshman athlete had determination and was a hard worker.

Sirois had also been a trained gymnast from ages four to twelve and Silva felt that skill would translate well to the diving event.

“Her gymnastics background helped, but it was her own hard work, determination, watching others in front of her, and her desire to excel that established the foundation to this dream of attending the US Naval Academy,” said Silva. “It was so wonderful to watch it all unfold and see her dream become a reality.”

Sirois made her dream official Tuesday when she signed a letter of intent to attend the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Sirois will compete in the Navy’s Division 1 swimming program.

Her proud parents, Rob and Jen, sister Kaley, 19, and brother, Rob III, a junior at Classical, were joined by Classical Principal Gene Constantino, Director of Athletics Bill Devin, and swimming coaches Denis Silva, Charlie Rowe, Kay Rowe, and Donald McKenney at the impressive ceremony.

“It feels tremendous to have had a Division 1 college athlete in our program,” said Silva. “This couldn’t have happened to a better person. It’s been a team effort, everyone on our team supporting Sarah and she supporting everyone on our team.”

Sirois was a scholar-athlete in the true sense of the term. She became a record-setting diver for Classical, a four-time Northeastern Conference All-Star, and the city’s Diver of the Year. She is ranked sixth academically in the Class of 2018 and is a member of the National Honor Society.

Sirois received admission to the US Naval Academy after a lengthy application process that began during her junior year. Congressman Seth Moulton and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren nominated Sirois as a candidate.

She had begun focusing on the Naval Academy during her freshman year at Classical.

“I really wanted to attend the Naval Academy,” said Sirois. “My dad had served in the U.S. Marines and I’m proud of that and his career as a police officer. I want to serve my country as well.”

Sirois credited her swimming and diving coaches at Classical for their assistance and guidance for the past four years.

“They’re great coaches and it’s been a privilege to work with them the past four years,” said Sirois. “I wouldn’t have been able to make it this far without my diving coach, Donald McKenney. I’m really excited to begin competing in college.”

She said the Classical faculty prepared her well for college.

“We have excellent teachers and administrators at Classical and I love going to school here,” said Sirois, who intends to major in Mathematics at the Naval Academy. “Miss Samira Ghili is the best math teacher I’ve ever had.”

Principal Gene Constantino said Sirois is well deserving of the honor of attending one of the nation’s service academies.

“It’s an incredible achievement and the first time we’ve had a student that will be attending the US Naval Academy during my years at Classical that I can remember,” said Constantino. “Sarah’s just a great kid and a great student-athlete. I watched her compete in diving for four years and what she did in those meets was amazing. But she’s even better in the classroom and we’re just so thrilled for her. It’s a great family and Sarah worked very hard to get where she is. This is a well-deserved honor.”

Bill Devin, who played college baseball at North Adams State, said that Sirois excelled all four years in the Rams’ swimming program.

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment and a testament to all the hard work she has done,” said Devin. “She is a very quiet leader who leads by example. On top of it all, she’s an outstanding student academically. She has a great support system with her family. All of her coaches have been very supportive and I can’t say enough about her diving coach, Donnie McKenney. I’m very proud of her and all that she has accomplished.”

“I’m proud of Sarah,” said assistant swimming coach Charlie Rowe. “She is a remarkable young lady. I give the credit to Sarah, her parents, her parents, her family, and the teachers and school administrators who’ve really made a difference in her life.”

Donald McKenney worked with Sirois on her diving techniques each day in practice at the Peter Sawin Natatorium.

“This honor of attending the Naval Academy is so deserving for somebody who puts in so much effort and displays so much leadership as Sarah does,” said McKenney. “She is clearly on a path to greatness.”

Rob Sirois said his daughter worked hard during her four year at Classical to achieve her goals.

“I’m very proud of her,” said Sirois, an assistant coach of the Lynn Classical football team. “She workd very hard and she had to very disciplined to get through all the things academically and athletically – and it’s very impressive that she was able to accomplish that.”

Asked if he and his wife, Jen, will be able to attend some of her college swim meets, Mr. Sirois said, “We hope to be able to get to the Naval Academy as many times as possible to watch her compete.”

“This isn’t the end of her career,” said Denise Silva. “This is the beginning of a new career and we’re going to follow her at the Naval Academy. We all wish her the best and know that she will succeed in all that does.”

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