Hutchinson Tourney Offers Consolation for BHS Fives
Bellngham Bulletin Sports Editor Ken Hamwey
Bellingham High’s two varsity basketball teams were unable to advance to the championship round of the 10th annual Barry Hutchinson Memorial Tournament held on Dec. 27 and 28. The girls bowed to Coyle-Cassidy of Taunton, 50-35, and the boys lost to Hopedale, 47-42, in a contest that had fans on pins and needles during a hectic fourth quarter. As a result, both BHS quintets played in the consolation round, where the boys won and the girls lost.
In the opening-round game, the BHS boys led at halftime, 23-20, but the Blue Raiders began the third stanza with a 10-0 run that propelled them to a 30-23 advantage. The Blackhawks did not score during the first 6-1/2 minutes of the quarter, and the closest Bellingham ever got was 43-41 with two minutes remaining in the final period.
With 20 seconds left in the game and Bellingham trailing, 45-42, senior captain Paul Beera had a chance to tie the game with a three-pointer. His first attempt was on the mark, but it rimmed out, almost falling in while it bounced off the rim. A second chance also missed. Hopedale’s Steven Stuppiello then was fouled, and the point guard converted both free throws for the five-point victory. Josh Jones led Bellingham with 14 points, and Hopedale’s top scorer was Brian Espanet with 13.
“We went to sleep in that third quarter,” said Bellingham coach TJ Chiappone. “Our kids made some defensive mistakes, but they played hard and battled. We just have to play smarter in stretches. Paul is the guy we want to take threes when a game is on the line. Josh played well for us and so did Shawn Rebello. Our mental lapses hurt us.”
Hopedale coach Tony Cordani credited Bellingham for its intensity and unwillingness to quit when the Blue Raiders poured in 10 straight points. “TJ keeps them motivated and they make you play ugly with their traps and pressing,” Cordani noted. “Brian Espanet played well for us, giving us good leadership with his inside game.”
The BHS girls trailed Coyle-Cassidy, 16-7, after a quarter and by 24-12 at intermission. The Warriors extended their lead to 38-19 after three periods before concluding with a 50-35 win. Bellingham was led by Erin McTomney, Cailey MacGregor and Katie Reed, all with six points.
“Losing is difficult but the girls remain upbeat,” said Bellingham coach Stacy Bilodeau. “Today we got good efforts from Meghan Cook, who never comes off the floor, Amy Coehlo, Gabbi Constanzo and Cailey MacGregor. We tried some man-to-man and some zone defense, but Coyle made its shots. Give them credit.”
In the consolation games, Bellingham’s boys downed Coyle-Cassidy, 62-51, and the girls lost to Natick, 64-34. The boys were led by Beera (23 points) and Brent Crayton (19) while the girls’ top scorers were Gabbi Constanzo with 10 points and Cook with nine. The title games were won by the Hopedale boys, who downed Dedham, 38-35, and the Coyle-Cassidy girls, who were victorious over Watertown by a 40-36 margin.
“We’re delighted we won the tourney title in our first appearance,” said Mike O’Brien, the Coyle-Cassidy coach. “We weathered the storm and our kids showed resiliency. They never let the pressure get to them.” Cordani labeled Hopedale’s triumph “a great accomplishment” and emphasized that “we’re a young team and the learning experience in the tourney should help our confidence.”
Chiappone said that if his squad is to earn a tourney berth, a victory over Coyle was a must. “I spoke to the kids about how urgent it was to get a win today,” he noted. “We still believe we have a chance to win 10 games.” The victory gave the Blackhawks a 2-4 record.
Since the tourney, the Bellingham boys have beaten Norton and lost to Medfield, Hopkinton, Dover-Sherborn and Holliston. Their record at Bulletin deadline was 3-8. The girls have yet to win, losing to Medfield, Norton, Hopkinton, Dover-Sherborn and Holliston after their tourney appearance.
The girls all-stars selected for the tournament included Emily Wickles of Natick, Meghan Cook of Bellingham, Michaela Antonellis and Shannon Murphy of Watertown and Nicole Bostick and Grace Orfanello (MVP) of Coyle-Cassidy. The boys all-stars were Brent Crayton of Bellingham, Jacob Barbour of Coyle-Cassidy, Steven Acosta and Kevin Clifford of Dedham and Steven Stuppiello and Brian Espanet (MVP) of Hopedale.
The tournament, which originally was called the “Bellingham Holiday Tournament,” was renamed after coach Barry Hutchinson died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 47 in 2006, not long after guiding the Bellingham boys to a state title in 2003. That team downed Bromfield, 49-40, at the Worcester Centrum.
Low Turnout Hurts WrestlersBellingham High’s wrestling team doesn’t have an abundance of competitors, but the core group continues to work hard to improve its individual skills. The Blackhawks were 1-8-1 at Bulletin deadline, beating Shepherd Hill and tying South Shore Tech.
“We’re handicapped because of our low numbers, and due to those numbers and inexperience it’s difficult to come out on top,” said coach Tom Forbes. “We’ve also had some injuries that have limited us.”
Senior captain Josh Reget (152 pounds) has a 12-1 record, junior Kyle Baxter (145) is 9-3 and junior captain Justin Mangegani (138) has six victories. “Josh is a student of the game,” Forbes said. “He’s got a high wrestling IQ, he works hard and he’s technically sound. Kyle is a thinking man’s wrestler and he’s patient and methodical. Justin is a good leader who has lots of passion for the sport.”
Soph David DeFrancesco (182), freshman Juliete Slobogan and eighth grader Tyler Reget (160) are young, eager to learn and gaining experience. Eighth-grader Anthony D’Alio (106) has been sidelined because of a fractured collarbone.
“Our goal is to win our head-to-head matches,” Forbes said. “What’s important is how well we fare with the kids we have wrestling.”
BHS Hockey Team in Tournament MixThe Bellingham High hockey team, which started the season 4-0, was 4-5 at Bulletin deadline but still in contention for a tournament berth.
“If we stay out of the penalty box, we’ll be okay,” coach Ken Bertoni said. “We’ve got a group that’s been together for three years and has experience. The kids continue to be upbeat and positive.”
Five forwards—Nick Dulac, Sean Williamson, Kyle Holland, Owen Haley and Jason Robidoux — have been prolific in the early going. Dulac has 12points, Williamson 10, Holland 10, Haley 11 and Robidoux 8. “Nick has lots of natural ability and he’s a solid all-around player,” Bertoni said. “Sean grinds It out, is a blue-collar skater and has a nose for the net. Kyle is skilled, physical and very business-like. Owen is an all-around skater who also is very business-like. Jason can pass, is active around the net and has good hands.”
Goalie Josh Morse, who has a 3.90 goals-against average, is athletic and relies on quick instincts.
The Blackhawks defense, led by Matt Alexander (4 goals, 4 assists), also includes Kyle Robitaille, Bayley Laughlin, Colin Day and Kyle Costello. “Matt is a captain who works hard and stays on the ice a lot,” Bertoni said. “He’s very sound on defense and was our MVP in our Christmas Tournament. Robitaille, Laughlin, Day and Costello don’t get on the score-sheet often, but they make key contributions. Their play has been solid.”
Bertoni emphasized that the Blackhawks’ No. 1 goal is a tourney berth, which has eluded Bellingham during his years at the helm. “It’s a realistic goal and I feel good about our chances,” he said.
Record-Setting Mode for BHS TrackRead the rest of Ken Hamwey’s Sports Spotlight at our website, www.BellinghamBulletin.com.
Coach Pete Lacasse has been pleased with the efforts of both teams, emphasizing that the boys squad set a pair of records at the Division 5 State Relays and that the girls, especially younger competitors, are starting to score points. “The boys are competing at a high level and really starting to jell,” he said. “The girls are improving and progressing.”
The boys 4x400 relay contingent of Kyle Marquez, Alex Carr, Nick Michaud and Will Schmith posted a time of 3:41.84; and the 4x800 team of Carr, Kyle Martin, Darius Shubert and Mike Fitzgerald had a time of 8:53.45 for another school record. The 4x400 team finished second out of 28 schools, and the 4x800 squad had a fifth-place finish. “Our team finished tenth overall at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston,” Lacasse noted.
For the girls, Sarah Edwards has yet to lose a race in the 600, 1,000 and mile, and she broke her own indoor record in the mile in a time of 5:05. Against Medway, Edwards ran the 300 and shattered the previous record, which was 44.97 seconds set by Lakecia Porter in 1998. Edwards ran the distance in 41.6. “Sarah posted a time that’s not only extremely fast, but also what you’d see at the state level,” Lacasse said. “She dominated that race as she has so many others, and she continues to be one of the top middle-distance runners in the state.”
Two other girls who have displayed solid effort and produced good results are seniors Julia Mazzola (dash, 300) and Katerina Tsiounis (hurdles, 4x400, 4x200).