As we enter the final week of the winter sports term, there is much already settled with regards to final league positions and playoff berths but there are still some matters yet unresolved.
Several Reading High teams clinched Middlesex League titles this week, including the girls basketball team, who haven’t shown the slightest hint of a misstep so far this season, and the Rockets boys hockey team—who may have gone from knocking on the door to the Super 8 Tournament to working on it with a battering ram after a huge win over top ten competition last week. Boys basketball are also Middlesex League champions, and will enjoy that honor all to themselves after holding off Lexington with a one-point win in the regular-season finale against Woburn last week.
Add the RMHS boys track squad’s ML Large crown and the ML champion boys swim team into the mix, and Oakland Road is starting to look like the Main Street of “Titletown.”
Over on Willow Street is where the uncertainty sets in. While most of the RMHS squads await playoff seedings, several Austin Prep fought for their playoff lives down the stretch run. So far, only the Cougars boys hockey team has clinched a playoff berth.
Without any further ado, here’s how the locals fared last week.
RMHS Boys (12-4-5, 7-1-2 ML Large): The Rockets faced three tough opponents last week as they sought to not only hold off a dangerous Woburn squad for the league title, but also align themselves squarely in the view of the Super 8 selection committee. After the dust has settled, it appears they may have done both of those things.
The Rockets clinched the ML Large with a 2-2 draw against Arlington on Feb. 15 at the Spy Ponders’ house, but welcomed one of the state’s top hockey programs, BC High, to Burbank Arena the following night for a contest, that, while being an exclusion game and not officially counting towards the final standings, would certainly weigh on the minds of the Super 8 selection committee should the Rockets win.
Derek Galante paced the attack with two goals, while netminder Evan Morelli stood up to what can be a withering Eagles’ barrage well, allowing two scores, but backstopping the Rockets to a enormous 4-2 win. Ryan and Michael Thompson added Reading’s two other goals during the upset win. Completing the season-sweep against league rivals Woburn on Feb. 18 may have put the Super 8 situation beyond debate, but the Tanners defended their home ice and skated to a 3-1 victory, leaving the question mark remaining.
For what it’s worth, it seems pretty tough to make a case for teams like Springfield Cathedral and Burlington—despite two wins versus Woburn and a win and draw against the Rockets—over the Middlesex League Large champs with a win against BC High under their belts.
The Rockets finish the regular season on Monday at home against Andover.
RMHS Girls (3-16-1, 0-9-1 ML Large): The season ended for the Lady Rockets last week, and that probably comes as somewhat of a relief to the squad after a long, tough season of frustration. Arlington blanked Reading, 3-0, on Feb. 15, while an away game at Woburn was how the term concluded, with the Lady Rockets losing 3-1.
Austin Prep Boys (9-6-3, 7-3-1 CCL): The Cougars are out of contention for the Catholic Central League title, but have done enough to secure entry to the playoffs. Last week AP took on Duxbury in non-league action and came away with a 4-1 win on Feb. 18.
Austin Prep Girls (7-12, 0-6): Winless in league play is not how the Lady Cougars envisioned their season turning out, but that’s the way things stand at present, and last week, despite seeing AP win twice, did nothing to change that. The Lady Cougars beat Notre Dame of Hingham, 4-2, on Feb. 15 and dropped Ursuline Academy on Feb. 17 by a 2-1 margin, before falling against Archbishop Williams in CCL play on Feb. 18 in a close 2-1 game.
RMHS Girls (20-0, 10-0 ML Large): Perfection is something not everyone gets the chance to experience. The 2012 Lady Rockets are now just a single win from being able to count themselves among the lucky few. After three wins last week, only this afternoon’s final of the Comcast/Board 27 Tournament at Reading High against Arlington Catholic stands between the Lady Rockets and an undefeated regular season.
The Lady Rockets defeated Arlington 68-24 on Feb. 14, before completing the season sweep over Woburn, 55-38, on Feb. 17 to lock up sole possession of the Middlesex League Large School title. During the first-round of the Comcast tourney, the Lady Rockets started off slow but recovered well in the second half to pull out a 63-46 win. Olivia Healy tallied a game-high 29 points, adding to her already eye-popping season totals, while Morgan O’Brien chipped in with 17 points.
Reading played Arlington Catholic Sunday afternoon for the tourney crown, but, as of this writing, the game was still ongoing.
RMHS Boys (15-5, 8-2 ML Large): It came down to the final game of the season, but the Rockets were able to hold off the Lexington Minutemen and claim the Middlesex League championship thanks to a last-second, 53-52 win over Woburn at the Tanners’ place on Feb. 17. Prior to that, the Rockets stumbled against Arlington on Feb. 14, losing 54-39 to set up the last-day dramatics. Reading High will take part in the Masco Tournament this week as a final tune-up before the postseason run begins.
Austin Prep Boys (1-15, 0-11 CCL): The Cougars fell to Shawsheen Tech last week, on Feb. 17, by a score of 65-45, as their tough season continues.
Austin Prep Girls (8-10, 3-9 CCL): The Lady Cougars defeated Pope John Paul II, 50-29, on Feb. 15 and Shawsheen Tech on Feb. 17, 44-39, to keep their playoff hopes alive—barely. AP will take part in the Lowell Catholic Tournament this week.
RMHS: Both the girls and boys indoor track squads took part in the MIAA Division 2 State Championship on Feb. 16 at the Reggie Lewis Track Center in Boston. The boys team placed 10th overall in the team standings, while J.D. Greenfield captured the state championship in the 600 meter run and the 4x400 relay team finished a strong second.
Locals in the News:
- RMHS graduate Jen Abrams, the school’s all-time leader in hits and runs scored, started her senior season strongly for the Providence Friars on the softball diamond, scoring five runs and collecting six hits during the Friars’ first five games of 2012. Abrams has also doubled twice.
- Reading resident Michael Boyle has been named strength and conditioning coach for the US Women’s Hockey National Team that will compete in the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship in April in Burlington, Vt. One of the foremost experts in the fields of strength and conditioning, performance enhancement and fitness, Boyle currently is a strength and conditioning coach at Boston University, a position he has held for more than 20 years. Boyle served in the same role for the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League from 1991-99. He is also a strength and conditioning consultant for the Boston Red Sox. Boyle served as the strength and conditioning coach for the 1998 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team that won the gold medal in Nagano, Japan.
- Jennifer Green, of Reading, won a gold medal at the Bay State Games Winter competition, winning the junior ladies free skating competition as a figure skater.