by Steev Riccardo
Hello Sports Fans!
Aside from the fact that the local teams didn’t fare all that well at the Clark Tournament, it was still a great experience. Clark University does an excellent job.
The Oxford Pirates actually played pretty well, despite being knocked out in the semi-finals by the Quaboag Cougars. You have to give them a lot of credit; Quaboag is a great high school basketball team. Some people say they only have two guys, but that is just not the case. Thomas Jankins and Jake Wisniewski are elite, but the rest of the starting lineup is also very good.
The Pirates came up with a great game plan and when they took a 10- point lead early in the second quarter, the joint was jumping. Unfortunately, the Cougars didn’t get rattled at all and took the game over from that point on.
The Cougars eventually lost in the finals to Littleton, another very good basketball team.
With the Districts in play this week, the Pirates look like they could do some damage although it would not be fair to count out either Bartlett or Shepherd Hill.
Bartlett has struggled but they still have the weapons to give some teams fits, and if they can start moving the ball around a little better, they can win in the playoffs. They also were awarded a decent draw, getting Tyngsboro in the first round, a team that they can and should beat.
As far as Shepherd Hill goes, they are definitely on their way to bigger and better things. Whether it happens this year or not is the big question. One thing is certain, Michael “Posey” Rapoza is the real deal. The 6’5” freshman has all the tools that could make him a special player at the Hill.
As we did last year, we have come up with our All-Clark local team and it is a good one indeed:
Guard: Mike James, Oxford. Despite having a rough shooting game in the opener vs. Maynard, James still dished out nine assists. In the semi-final against Quaboag, he was fabulous with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
Guard: Donny Freeland, Oxford. Freeland averaged 12 points a game in his two games and played tough defense while guarding some pretty good players, including Jankins.
Forward: Tyler Barrie, Oxford. Barrie was spectacular in both games, averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Forward: Akeem Belnavis, Bartlett. “The Dream” played hard and had 23 points and eight rebounds in the Indians’ loss to Auburn, who eventually were crowned large schools champions.
Center: Michael Rapoza, Shepherd Hill. “Posey” came up with a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in his first-ever appearance in the Clark Tournament. The kid showed great poise out there and it was only a sign of what’s to come.
Sixth Man: Justin Terlizzi, Shepherd Hill. Terlizzi scored 13 points and had 12 rebounds in the tough loss to Quabbin.
Jacob Mailloux: If there were a seventh man, it would have to be Indians sophomore Jacob Mailloux, who registered five blocked shots against Auburn along with 11 points. If Mailloux becomes a better rebounder he could have the full package, not to say he isn’t a good rebounder but if he becomes great, it would be a major force for the Indians in the next two seasons and he could have a shot at the elusive 1000-point,1000-rebound club.
Shepherd Hill girls hoop: It’s not surprise that the Shepherd Hill girls are playoff bound once again this season. They play Doherty on Friday night and if they win, they will meet Holy Name for the fourth time this season. Of course that is what we are hoping for.
High School Football Schedules:
We were fortunate to get a sneak peak at the high school football schedules for the fall and even though at press time Oxford still did not have a Thanksgiving opponent, everything looks to be set.
Bartlett: at David Prouty, at Millbury, Leicester, Oxford, Northbridge, Blackstone-Millville Regional, at Uxbridge, and at Southbridge on Thanksgiving morning.
Shepherd Hill: at Fitchburg, at Gardner, Leominster, at Grafton, Wachusett, St. Peter-Marian, at Holy Name, and Tantasqua at home on Thanksgiving morning.
Oxford: Uxbridge, Leicester, Southbridge, at Bartlett, at Worcester North, Millbury, at David Prouty and Thanksgiving morning (TBA).
At first glance, it looks like both Bartlett and Oxford have very favorable schedules compared to last season, and, of course, I already have Friday, October 4, the date Bartlett and Oxford square off, marked on my calendar. This is a great opportunity for both schools to draw a huge crowd and renew this neighborly rivalry.
As far as the Rams go, there are some very interesting games on their schedule, including Wachusett and Holy Name, which could be fun to watch.
One last note before we go, and whether this is even being discussed or not, we have no idea, but it would be perfect if Oxford and Bay Path started a new Thanksgiving-day rivalry. Think about how cool that would be for everyone.