Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
WEBSTER – Greetings sports fans!
Tonight (Wednesday January 9) is the long awaited boys basketball re-match between the Bartlett Indians and the Quaboag Cougars. The Cougars beat the Indians three times last season, including an eliminating buzzer beater at the Clark Tournament in the semi-finals.
The two Southern Worcester County League powers will meet in Warren in what should be the high school game of the year, at least until they meet again at Bartlett on February 5.
Gino Manzi: When Marianapolis scrimmaged Bartlett recently, we ran into one of the Indians’ all-time leading scorers and new Marianapolis basketball head coach Gino Manzi.
Before taking some time off from coaching, Manzi held several jobs, including 11 successful seasons with Southbridge High School, which he called a “great run.” He was also head coach at Shepherd Hill for four years and an assistant at Nichols College. His first coaching job was at Trinity Catholic.
“I really like coaching and I missed it when I was out of it. I’m really happy and fortunate to be back in it,” said Manzi who scored over 1300 points during his Bartlett high school career.
“Marianapolis wanted to go in different direction in terms of stepping up their varsity 2 program and they knew that I coached in the area for many years and that I wasn’t really doing anything. I went in and talked to the headmaster and we shared the same vision of what we thought the program should be and it went well and I took the position. I couldn’t be happier with the decision I made. It’s really working out well.”
As far as being in his old gym, Manzi said, “I always like coming back here. I have some great memories playing both basketball and football at Bartlett.”
St. Louis grads: A couple of Gino Manzi’s players who also have strong ties to Webster are Pat Kunkel and Kevin Matyczymski, who both went to St. Louis school in Webster. The pair are now playing for Marianapolis and are enjoying having Manzi as their new coach.
“We thought before the season started that since he was a really good player it would be a good experience for us having him here and that he would give us a lot of insight,” said Kunkel.
“It’s different than any other coaching experience we have ever had,” said Matyczymski. “It’s more intense and more dedicated; we have practiced every day over break and that is something we never did before. There is a lot more conditioning and a lot more strategy. It’s a good change.”
As for the Bartlett scrimmage, Manzi and his players were happy about the experience. It was a good opportunity for them to have a practice game against one of the area’s top teams.
The View’s Top 5 of the week:
1. Emily Dawidczyk, Oxford Track: “The Sweet Assassin” stole the show at the SWCL track meet at Tantasqua Regional last Wednesday. She won the 55-meter dash and the 55-meter hurdles and came in third in the shot put.
This performance followed her amazing run at the Reggie Lewis center at the Boston Holiday Challenge on December 29, in which she shone among the stars.
Dawidczyk came in first in the hurdles with the fastest time in the state and the 7th fastest time in the nation! She also ran her best time in the 300 meters and finished third in the state and 24th in the nation.
2. Tyler Martin, Shepherd Hill boys basketball: Martin played huge down the stretch in the Rams’ 46-43 win over Quabbin.
3. Stella Worters, Shepherd Hill Indoor Track: The star junior runner finished first in the 1-mile run and also won the 1000 meters at the SWCL meet in Tantasqua last week.
4. Liam Pickett, Oxford boys basketball: The junior forward had two solid games for the Pirates this past week, including a career high 26 points against Leicester.
5. Alex Givins-Perry, Bartlett boys basketball: “AGP” came up big with 26 points and helped the Indians stop the Millbury Woolies on Friday night.
Key SWCL track results (SH,Oxford) at Northbridge:
Katie McCambridge, Shepherd Hill-First in the shot put
Emily Dawidczyk, Oxford-Third in the shot put
Lexi Poirier, Shepherd Hill-Third in the girls high jump
Lucy Harmon, Shepherd Hill-Second in the two-mile run
Emily Dawidczyk, Oxford-First in the 55 metal hurdles (*SWCL record)
Emily Dawidczyk, Oxford-First in the 55-meter dash
Stella Worters, Shepherd Hill (JR)-First in the mile run
Emily Thibaud, Shepherd Hill (JR)-First in the 600 meters
Haley Chamberlin, Shepherd Hill (JR)-Second in the 600 meters
Jacob Gratton, Shepherd Hill (SR)-Third high jump
Elijah Fossas, Shepherd Hill (JR)-Second in the two-mile run
Jacob Gratton, Shepherd Hill (SR)-Second 55-meter hurdles
Mitchell Hass, Shepherd Hill (JR)-Second in the 300-meter dash
Key SWCL track results (Bartlett) at Tantasqua:
Shayna Kubilis, Bartlett (FR)-Eight in the shot put
Deanna Truhanovitch, Bartlett (SR)-Fourth high jump
Leah Dunbar (8th)-Tenth in the one-mile run
Jeremy Guyette, Bartlett (JR)-Second 1000 meters
Chris Herron: Former NBA player and college star Chris Herren, who struggled with a substance abuse problem for most of his adult life, will be speaking to Shepherd Hill students on January 31. He should make for a very interesting public speaker.
Herren, who scored over 2000 points at Durfee High School in Fall River, had his career best game with the Celtics when he scored 18 points in a game.