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Players of the Week: BPS girls basketball

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff December 16, 2012 12:35 PM

The girls basketball stars were nothing short of exceptional in their week one debut.

Takora McCyntire, Fenway: One of coach John Rice’s top players this season is surprisingly only a freshman. The guard was unstoppable in her first week on Varsity and lead the Panthers to two victories, 74-33 against South Boston and 77-0 against East Boston where she scored a total of 30 points and 10 assists.

Joseline Posada, New Mission Although only a freshman, this guard is one of the most dedicated players on the team with a great attitude.

“She shows exceptional leadership and poise on and off the court,” New Mission coach Brianna Forde said. “Joseline may not be my most experienced player but she accepts the challenges of a new team, sport and environment.”

Sara Centeio, Charlestown: This former soccer star turns out to be an even better basketball player.

The senior guard is not only Charlestown’s leading scorer but also has the most positive attitude, according to Coach Alexandra Ventura. She has lead her team to its current 2-1 record all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Krystal Edwards, Madison Park: This senior guard has wasted no time in her first week back on the court. Her outstanding defense lead her to a 43-point game against South Boston. She also learned that she was offered a four-year academic scholarship to Union College this week.

Brenda Calderon, Burke: At only 5 feet and 4 inches, this senior guard knows how to hold her own on the court. Despite losing 57-21 in the Bulldogs’ season opener, she lead the team to most of its points. She scored 8 overall and plans to make sure her team is ready for CASH on Tuesday.

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Madison Park beats Snowden 56-22 in first girls basketball game of season

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff December 11, 2012 07:03 PM

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Madison Park senior guard Amber Edwards goes up hard for a layup against Snowden on Tuesday afternoon. Edwards scored a game-high 20 points in the season opener. (Stan Litchman / For the Boston Globe)

Madison Park and Snowden’s girls' basketball teams faced off Tuesday afternoon in both teams first game. Madison Park coach Carla Hands expressed concern over her small team, while Snowden coach June Robinson was worried about practice time since her school doesn’t have a gym.

It turned out Madison Park had no need to worry, as they beat Snowden, 56-22. The win was secured with the help of 5-foot-7-inch senior guard Amber Edwards, who scored 20 points.

“I like that I got a lot of points in my first game of the season but I’m very humble,” she said. “I’m a senior and I love showing leadership.

“I’m focused on my team, that’s why I’m here.”

Madison Park came out strong in the first quarter, leading Snowden, 21-2, as Edwards and her 5’6” twin Krystal both scored 8 points.

The Cougars couldn’t keep up with the Cardinals, and trailed, 35-10, at halftime.

“For our first game they were playing pretty well,” Robinson said. “They’re not used to playing together yet and it’s a lot of the girls’ first time.

“They just need to get to know each other better.”

Amber Edwards finished with 20 points while Krystal Edwards added 16.
At an early point Coach Hands realized she didn’t have much to worry about, but she still wants her girls to work even harder for next time.

“Every one, even the younger ones stepped up and played a really big role in this game so I’m really proud of the ladies,” she said. “But we’ve got a lot to work on and as a coach I’m greedy.

“I’m happy we won, but I want more.”

Coach Robinson plans to work with her team on fundamental skills and team bonding, but still feels that Snowden’s lack of a gym puts the Cougars at a disadvantage.

“We have to take a bus to practice every day so camaraderie is different because we have to travel,” she said. “Then we have to go to another school and cant start until 4:30.

“But because of this the girls on the team are very committed - some even have to pay to ride the bus to practice every day.”

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Madison Park finishes season in 5-1 loss to Somerville

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff November 9, 2012 07:38 PM

The Madison Park boys' soccer team went to the semifinals against Somerville on Friday for the first time in eight years. After a 15-3 season and with star senior forward Edmilson Barros back in the game after a two-game hiatus because of a red card in its city league championship win, the Cardinals thought the match would be in its favor.

Although after an intense and often physical game, Madison Park fell to the Highlanders, 5-1.

“They played well,” Madison Park coach Joao Gomes said. “There were some mistakes and they let up easy goals, especially the third.”

“Somerville knows how to finish and they punish you if you make a mistake.”

While Somerville dominated the scoreboard, it doesn’t reflect the Cardinals' effort.

Both teams showed off great defensive skill in the first half, until Somerville junior striker Thayrone Miranda headed the ball into the net to start off the scoring 30 minutes into the game.

Barros wasn’t ready to let Somerville take the lead though, and sent a successful shot to the high right corner off of a penalty kick.

Junior defender Emike Pires played extraordinarily throughout the entire game, especially at the end of the first half.

The Highlanders drove the ball up the field and Cardinals goalkeeper Joao Rosa came out too far, leaving Somerville with a clear shot.

Pires used his body to defend the goal for an unbelievable save.

Despite Pires's impressive presence in defense, the Highlanders would not settle for a tie to finish the half.

With just under 17 minutes left, senior forward Felix De Bona scored for Somerville to take the lead, ending the first half, 2-1.

The Cardinals stormed the field in the second half, chanting, “Don’t give them anything!”

The energy became increasingly intense and physical.

Although the Cardinals were confident, 15 minutes into the second half, Miranda re-directed a corner kick to De Bona to score.

Down by two, Madison Park, while mostly maintaining possession of the ball, was often called for being offsides.

Within 10 minutes, De Bona and Miranda scored twice more.

It looked like the game wouldn’t end without another goal from the Cardinals, as it had many free kicks on the Highlanders side of the field.

Somerville junior goalkeeper Luis Guerra blocked every shot for the four-goal edge.

“Madison Park is a great team with a lot of talent,” Somerville coach George Scarpelli said. “If you’re not prepared for them at the start, you’re in trouble. They’re a class act and make the city proud.”

Somerville will face St. John’s Prep in the Division 1 North final at Manning field in Lynn on Sunday at noon.

Despite the tough loss, Madison Park is the city league champion.

“This season overall has been great,” Barros said. “It’s been eight years since we’ve been to the semifinals which makes me proud. We’re keeping our heads up.”

Coach Gomes also refused to let the loss sour his best season yet.

“This has been one of the best seasons we’ve ever had at Madison Park. Not only for the wins, but for the team chemistry and effort.”

“This has been the farthest run since I’ve been coaching and losing to Somerville is nothing to be embarrassed about.”

While the Cardinals will be losing many seniors including Barros next year, all of them plan on showing their support for their alma mater.

“My entire experience at Madison Park has been excellent,” Barros said. “Even when I’m in college I’ll still come back to visit and support the team.”

“I love Madison. My heart belongs to Madison.”

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Madison Park boys' soccer set to take on Somerville in semis

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff November 7, 2012 10:29 PM

The Madison Park boys' soccer team (15-3) can hardly wait for the MIAA state tournament semifinal match against Somerville (18-0-2) Thursday; especially senior forward Edmilson Barros.

Because of a red card in the Cardinals' city league championship win against Boston International, the talented player had to sit out the first round and the quarterfinal. Thursday, he’s off the bench and back in the game.

Barros has his team to thank after it secured an exhilarating win Tuesday against Methuen. The Cardinals were down by one in the first half but pulled it together and scored five in the second, resulting in a 5-1 victory.

Barros joined his teammates in celebration at the end of the game with the assurance that he finally had the opportunity to play in the tournament.

“It is definitely exciting to have Edmilson back,” Madison Park coach Joao Gomes said. “He is a good player and a great young man. He was supportive of his teammates and they played hard when he was out which shows tremendous character of his team.”

Gomes said the game against second place in the state Somerville wont be easy, especially since the Cardinals suffered a 6-2 loss the last time they played the Highlanders. Madison Park has faced Somerville three times within the last year and has yet to pull off a win.

“They can score on you in the blink of an eye especially if you give them space,” Gomes said. “They are strong, physical and quick. However, we also know we can score on them.

“This will not be an easy game but we are ready to give it out best shot.”

Gomes naturally declined to share the Cardinals' game plan, but hinted it will be different from the last time they faced the Highlanders. One thing Somerville can expect is Madison’s secret weapon – Barros.

“We are not timid to play anybody,” Gomes said. “I trust my players and have confidence in their ability.”

“We are ready to upset Somerville.”

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

America SCORES Boston hosts Poetry SLAM!

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff November 7, 2012 04:18 PM

America SCORES Boston will host the 14th annual Poetry SLAM! featuring 360 elementary school student athletes who will perform original work in front of peers, parents, friends and the Boston community on Nov. 15 from 5-7 p.m. at the Strand Theatre.

The theme of the spoken pieces that the children will share is “My American Dream.” Andre Dubus III, acclaimed author of “House of Sand and Fog,” will also speak at the Poetry SLAM!

America SCORES Boston’s mission is to promote academic excellence and healthy choices for Boston public school athletes. For more information visit americascoresboston.org.

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

MP advances to quarterfinals in MIAA soccer

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff November 2, 2012 06:52 PM

Madison Park's chances for a win on Friday against Lexington looked as grim as the weather. Despite a major setback, Madison Park beat Lexington 1-0 in the first round of the MIAA Division 1 North soccer state tournament.

Star junior midfielder Edmilson Barros was forced to sit out due to the red card he received in the Cardinals’ championship win against Boston International on Thursday.

“I’m so disappointed, I want to play,” Barros said prior to the game. “I hear [Lexington] is good, but I believe in my team.”

The good vibes Barros produced showed on the field. Madison Park challenged Lexington by playing its most aggressive game of the season.

Thirty minutes in and the score at 0-0, both teams upped its game. With speed and aggression, Madison Park freshman forward Bill Tuloe and senior midfielder Patrick Teixeira took shot after shot, but Lexington senior goalkeeper Joey McWeeney blocked all attempts.

With two minutes left in the first half, Madison Park defender Emike Pires shot the ball from the middle of the field. With one touch Tuloe redirected the ball and scored in the upper left corner.

“We weren’t as confident without Edmilson [Barros,]” Teixeira said. “We wanted to win but I didn’t think we would. It’s hard in the tournament, but we’re also underestimated.
“We fought together and got what we wanted.”

Lexington stormed onto the field with determination at the start of the second half, but despite its impressive touch and passing skills, the Minutemen could not trump Madison Park sophomore goalkeeper Joao Rosa.

Lexington senior captain and defender Alan Bartels was disappointed by the loss, but proud of the Minutemen’s season.

“It was a tough, unlucky goal that we couldn’t get back from,” he said. “But this season was better than our previous one, and we look forward to building for next year.”

Depending on the outcome of the match between Methuen and Chelsea, Madison Park will face the winner in the quarterfinal on Tuesday, a match that Madison coach Joao Gomes was not expecting.

“I didn’t look past this game,” he said. “I wanted to take it one game at a time. The boys were challenged and played three consecutive games.

“They came out, responded and I am very proud of them.”

Due to his red card, Barros has to sit out and cheer on his team for one more game, but he’s confident he’ll get to play in the tournament.

“Like I said before,” he said, “I believe in my team.”

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Latin Academy and East Boston advance to city finals in 1-0 victories

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff October 31, 2012 07:08 PM

First place Latin Academy (11-2-0) downed fourth place O’Bryant (10-3-2) while second place New Mission (10-1-1) was upended by third place East Boston (10-1-1) on penalty kicks in the Boston City League girls soccer semifinals.

Both games ended 1-0, showing the parity in the leading heading into the championship game Thursday at Madison Park, said Latin Academy coach Nick Kamberidis.

“We’re all within a goal from each other,” Kamberidis said.

O'Bryant forwards Aleena Hill-Da Costa, Yonetta Harris and Keena Nicholas all attacked the goal and exhibited great skill, but were unable to score.

At the end of the first half it looked like the game would go in O’Bryant’s favor after the team was granted a penalty kick, but it was unsuccessful.

With fifteen minutes left in the second half, Latin Academy forward Morgan Wheeler sent a swift pass to senior Virginia McCaughey. McCaughey went on to score what would be the only goal of the game.

“We were nervous towards the end,” Wheeler said. “[O’Bryant] picked it up, but we have an amazing goalie and defense so we got lucky. For tomorrow, we’re just going to get a long night of sleep in, come in and do it again.”

East Boston and New Mission proved to be an even matchup as well, going a scoreless 90 minutes before being decided by shootout.

East Boston senior Maria Vargas and freshmen Pamela Sepulveda and Vanessa Figgueroa attacked the New Mission goalie tenaciously throughout the game, but were unable to make good on any of their scoring chances. Neither were New Mission senior forwards Fantazia Hinds and Bonnie Ramos as well as sophomore Qiyamah Abburrashid.

Both teams were aggressive and showcased a strong defense, resulting in a 0-0 tie.

“Our whole team was nervous today,” East Boston junior defender Hannah Lunetta said. “We knew it’d be tough but we came through. We were confident at the end though. We knew our goalie could make those saves.”

Lunetta's confidence was spot on, as East Boston keeper Brittany Brancato helped bring the girls to victory. She faced four shots from New Mission and blocked three, while Titans junior keeper Amarelis Morales faced four of East Boston’s shots and blocked one.

“We performed pretty well,” East Boston coach Richard La Cara said. “We’re a defensive minded team, we set the defense first. We have the best goalie and the best defense. If it went to penalty kicks, we knew we’d get it.”

East Boston will face Latin Academy 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Madison Park for the city title.

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Madison Park shuts out Boston International, 3-0

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff October 24, 2012 06:25 PM

The confidence of the Boston International boys' soccer team soared after a big win against O'Bryant Tuesday, but the celebration ended with a 3-0 shutout loss to Madison Park at home Wednesday afternoon.

The Lions and Cardinals are two of the top teams in the league, with similar records -- Boston International is 11-2, Madison Park 10-1. With both performing at such a high level, it was clear that the game was not going to be easy.

"I tried hard and played for my team," said Madison Park senior midfielder Edmilson Barros. "The results of this game made the decision of whether we would be the division champions or not. So I had to put my heart in the game, my head in the game, and play tough."

Tensions were high on the field with both teams trying to get closer to the city championship. The Lions and Cardinals possessed the ball equally and defense was being played at its best.

Twenty minutes into the game, Barros scored Madison’s first goal with a clear shot to the middle.

Toward the end of the half, it looked to be Boston International’s time to score. The Lions had possession of the ball and Madison’s keeper, sophomore Joao Rosa, stepped too far out, providing an open goal. But the Lions just couldn’t get the ball into the net.

Rosa was a big part in the shutout, with seven saves.

Boston International freshman Eliseu De Pina also played well, making eight saves.

The second half was even tenser than the first, and it was looking like 1-0 could be the final score. But Barros struck again, as did junior midfielder Emike Peres, both in the last 10 minutes.

"We need to practice more, talk to each other and get better organized," De Pina said.

He hasn’t lost hope for the big city win, however.

"This loss doesn’t mean anything," he said.

Barros believes the Cardinals also have a lot of work to do if they are to take home the title for the third year in a row.

"For the city champs, we’re just going to keep practicing hard," he said. "Every game that we play, we have to play like it’s the finals. We have to play hard, play tough, and play smart."

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public School athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Week 5: BPS soccer players of the week

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff October 7, 2012 11:43 AM

A new month brought even greater performances by the city soccer stars.

Boys stars:

Troy Fredericks, Latin Academy: The freshman forward put the seniors to shame against CASH on Friday. He made sure he was open at all times and helped out on defense when necessary. He also had great control of the ball which helped set up the two goals scored.

“He’s coming up and showing the older ones how to play,” coach Dennis Allen said. “I was very happy with his performance yesterday and I think he has earned a starting spot.”

Elmer Ventura, East Boston: Somerville brought an end to East Boston's winning streak, but that doesn't mean the Jets didn't play their best. Not only did Ventura lead the team to 9 wins thus far, he scored two goals and three assists against Latin Academy on Thursday.

Lizandro Noguiera, Brighton: This junior forward had an outstanding week. He had an assist in the Bengal’s 9-1 win over Dorchester as well as 3 goals in their 8-0 shut out against Charlestown on Friday.

Ildo Pires, Boston English: Coach Edmar Varela called the junior his best defender and counts on his performance every week. The Cape Verde native is well-conditioned, disciplined, and sets a great example for his team.

“He chased every play as if it was his last,” Varela said of his performance last week.

Heroldans Limage, Dorchester: This freshman took over the role as keeper this season and has been impressive. The Bears lost 3-1 in a thrilling game against Brighton, but Limage had 12 saves.

Girls stars

Lovelyse Bienamie, Dorchester: Dorchester received a blessing last week in the form of a sophomore forward from Boston International. The newbie debuted with a bang and scored both goals in their 2-1 win against Charlestown on Tuesday. The first goal was during the first half, after a cross from senior midfielder Merlande Philogene. The second came at the end of the thrilling second half. The game was tied until Bienamie scored in the last 15 minutes of the game.

Helina Gurmessa, Brighton: This freshman surprised everyone this week, even coach Bridget Driscoll. The forward scored three of the four goals in the Bengals 4-1 win over Boston English. Not only is she new to the game, this was the second match she's played this season.

Monique McPherson, West Roxbury: Although West Roxbury has yet to win its first game this season, coach Edmar Cayemite applauds senior forward Monique McPherson for keeping the team motivated. She also scored the only goal in Thursday's 6-1 loss to New Mission.

Sara Centeio, Charlestown: Despite missing the first two games of the season with paperwork issues, this forward has recorded six goals and two assists in the five games since she's returned. The Townies suffered a tough 5-4 loss to Snowden on Thursday, but Centeio had a hat trick.

"She works very hard both on and off the field," coach Conor Treacy said via email. "Her GPA of 4.34 demonstrates her standing as a model student-athlete."

Brittany Brancato, East Boston: The Jets' city record is 7-1, mostly due to this exceptional keeper. She's had six shutouts this fall, two of them against Burke and CASH 7-0 last week.

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public school athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

Heather O'Reilly makes appearance at Boston SCORES gala

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff September 28, 2012 10:50 AM

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Photo courtesy of America Scores Boston

Heather O'Reilly, who won a gold medal with the US Women's Soccer team at the 2012 London Olympics, showed off her hardware at the 2012 SCORES Celebration in the South End. She is flanked on her left by John Maconga, executive director America SCORES Boston, and Dwayne Simmons, program director for America SCORES Boston.

The South End was abuzz with soccer enthusiasts of all ages to celebrate at the 2012 SCORES Celebration Thursday night with special guest, U.S. women’s national soccer team star Heather O’Reilly. Students, athletes and Boston public school supporters gathered at the high-energy gala at Cyclorama for a night of soccer activities, poetry performances and food from local restaurants.

The faces of Boston public school athletes lit up as they received pointers from O'Reilly in the kid's clinic that kicked off the event. The olympic gold champion enthusiastically assisted each player in shooting and passing drills and coached them in a scrimmage.

“I've been involved for close to seven years," O'Reilly said. "I fell in love with the program and its uniqueness. I was an education major in college so it sort of blended together everything I find important. When I heard America SCORES was [in Boston] I jumped at the opportunity to help.”

O'Reilly also spoke about competing in the London olympics, signed autographs and posed for photos.

O’Reilly, New England Revolution team President Brian Bilello and New England Revolution broadcaster Brad Feldman spoke about their love of America SCORES and the impact it’s making on students.

“It’s a great organization,” Bilello said. “The fact that they’re combining soccer and education is great. It’s made a lot of sense for a long time for the Revs to be involved.”

After the soccer events, Lael Watson, a fifth-grader at Orchard Gardens K-8 School in Roxbury, made a poetry performance.

“My poem ‘I Am’ is about where I’m from and who I am,” Watson said. “I’m nervous, but I have a lot of confidence. I’m really happy I was chosen.”

Coach Mark Salzillo was thrilled and grateful that SCORES invited the Orchard Garden School.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to meet professional soccer players and create the idea of soccer at a bigger level for them, because they’re all beginners,” Salzillo said.

The celebration was provided by America SCORES Boston, a non-profit organization dedicated to help urban youth attain life skills, literacy, and health through soccer.

“America SCORES is a very special organization because it gives kids the platform to believe in themselves,” O’Reilly said. “Keep it up America SCORES because you’re doing fantastic things.”

Mary Pavlu covers Boston Public school athletics. She can be reached at Mary.Pavlu@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaryPavlu

About Boston Public Schools Sports Blog

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.
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