Swiderski, MassBay, back in the nationals
Mike Swiderski was sixth man on the MassBay Community College men’s basketball team that captured the Region 21 New England championship in 2011 and advanced to the national tournament.
A former three-sport athlete at Framingham High, Swiderski returned to the Wellesley campus this season, was named a team captain, and is again enjoying a ride to the nationals.
On Thursday, MassBay (26-6) will play Rock Valley (Ill.) Community College in the opening game of the NJCAA Division 3 round robin in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y.
Under the direction of Bill Raynor, the national District 8 Coach of the Year, MassBay upset top-seeded Roxbury Community College, 57-55 , last Sunday in the regional final. Plagued by turnovers and vulnerable to the press in three previous losses to Roxbury, MassBay overcame a 13-point first-half deficit, then worked its zone defense to perfection.
“What gave us confidence,’’ said Swiderski, a 6-foot-5 starting forward, “is that the last time Roxbury beat us, we turned the ball over 30 times and only lost by three points.
“Coach put in the zone defense a week before regionals and it made a big difference. Going to nationals was special two years ago but it’s even more special now as a captain. I try to contribute in a lot of ways and I missed playing last year.’’
The 23-year-old Swiderski is averaging 7.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. His return to the working world last year included a stint as assistant freshman football coach at Framingham High for the 2007 alum.
“I’m glad he’s back,’’ said Raynor, in his seventh year as head coach and athletic director. “Mike is the glue guy on our team. He does a little bit of everything and he’s a great leader.”
Raynor’s starters also include All-New England freshman guard Roger Paul (West Roxbury High); sophomore power forward/center Boris Fodouop, who met Raynor back home in Zimbabwe two years ago when the latter was conducting a basketball clinic; sophomore wing player Chris Ewing (Brighton High); and sophomore point guard Eric Alleyne of Watertown (Brimmer and May School).
Fodouop and Ewing were second-team All New England selections along with freshman small forward Givaughn Jones (West Roxbury High). Alleyne (team-leading 128 assists) was honorable mention.
Paul (12.8 points per game) paces the Buccaneers’ double-figure scorers, followed by Jones (11.8) and Fodouop (11.1), who is also the team leader in rebounds and steals.
Alleyne is an excellent passer and a 3-point threat, according to Raynor, Paul is dangerous in the open court, Ewing an inside-outside force, and Fodouop a significant inside presence.
A trio of forwards round out the local contingent: sophomore Ken Kirunda (Waltham High) and freshmen Jonathan Perry (Marlborough High) and Lewis Balulu (Newton South).
“Kenny is the spiritual leader of our group who can play multiple positions,’’ said Raynor. “Lewis has had a strong season as a front court backup, and Jonathan is a good perimeter shooter with great potential.’’
Ex-UNH star Santos returns as a coach
Bellingham’s Ricky Santos is back with the football program at the University of New Hampshire, hired as wide receivers coach by his former coach Sean McDonnell.
A record-setting quarterback for the Wildcats from 2004 to 2007, whose uniform No. 2 has been retired, Santos piloted the Wildcats to a 37-14 record and four NCAA playoff appearances.
He ranks first in the Division 1 Football Championship Subdivision career record book with 2,140 plays, third in passing yards (13,212) and touchdown passes (123), and fourth in total offense (14,615 yards).
In 2006, Santos won the Walter Payton Award as the most outstanding offensive player in FCS football, when he threw for 3,125 yards and 29 touchdowns. He holds more than a dozen UNH single-game and career offensive records.
An undrafted free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008, Santos spent four seasons in the Canadian Football League, wrapping up his pro career on the Toronto Argonauts practice squad last season.
Tennis association honors area players
Several area residents were honored earlier this month at the United States Tennis Association/New England awards luncheon in Marlborough.
Erin Reeves of Framingham was named USTA League Female Captain of the Year. Her Natick-based team won the national open 4.5 level championship last October. She is also girls’ tennis coach at Wayland High.
Junior sportsmanship awards were presented to Weston Brach of Dover, Brianna Greene of Westborough, and William Sharton of Wayland (16-and-under); Benjamin Maffa of Lexington (14-and-under); and Griffin Posey of Lexington (12-and-under). The separate 18-and-under William Hoblitzelle Award for sportsmanship was given to Caroline Joyce of Newton.
Here and there
Arlington’s James Roche, who starred at Bentley University and was a consensus All-American outfielder last season at Franklin Pierce University, has signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets and was assigned to extended spring training in Port St. Lucie, Fla. . . . Norwich University senior flanker Josh Nowak of Arlington was honored as a New England Collegiate Rugby Conference All-Star. . . . Newton’s Jack St. Clair (Belmont Hill), a sophomore dean’s list student at Holy Cross, was making the most of his at-bats with the Crusaders baseball team: Through last weekend, he was batting .571 (4-for-7). His mom, Robyn, a member at Woodland Golf Club, qualified for the US Women’s Senior Amateur last year. . . . Marlborough’s Bobby Butler was claimed on waivers by the Nashville Predators on Monday from the New Jersey Devils. The 25-year-old wing had registered one assist in 14 games for the Devils.