Vikings ease into North quarterfinals

Saturday, February 28, 2009
By Cary Shuman

The Winthrop High boys basketball team cruised into the quarterfinal round of the MIAA Division 4 North Sectional tournament with a runaway 71-38 triumph over Tyngsboro before an appreciative home crowd at the Holland Gym Tuesday evening.

Coach Dave Brown and his Vikings, the No. 2 seed in the bracket, now will host 10th seeded Lynn Tech Saturday evening at the high school at 7 p.m.

Tyngsboro, the 15th seed with a 1-19 record, was a decided underdog coming into the contest, but made a game of it through the first quarter. The visitors sank four treys to keep matters close at the first buzzer, 13-12.

“I reminded the team at the end of the quarter what I had been telling them all week, that everybody coming into the tournament is 0-0 and that we can’t take anyone for granted,” said Brown.

The Vikings emerged a different team after the break, pressuring Tyngsboro with a full court press, creating turnovers, and then making good on the transition. The style of “Viking basketball” that Brown and his crew had parlayed into an 18-4 regular season record soon paid dividends, as Winthrop outscored Tyngsboro 21-6 in the ensuing eight minutes and broke out to a 34-18 lead at the half.

The Vikings continued the onslaught after the intermission, enlarging their lead to 50-26 at the three quarter pole, at which time Brown began to use all 15 players (some of whom, such as freshmen Quinton Dale and Ahmad Sebic, were brought up to the varsity) en route to the 71-38 finale.

Jake Connors turned in his most impressive game in a WHS uniform with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Dino Mallios chipped in with his usual double figure scoring with 15 points.

Winthrop had prepped for its Journey to the Tourney with an impressive 62-44 victory over a 16-4 Wilmington team last Wednesday on Senior Night in the season finale. Dino M. led the way with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Mark Jenkins (who was ill and saw limited action against Tyngsboro) popped in 16. Connors had another strong game with seven points and 11 rebounds.

“Jake is really coming on,” Brown said afterwards. “He’s playing some great basketball for us.”

If the Vikings defeat Lynn Tech Saturday, they will face the winner of the Snowden Academy vs. Manchester contest at a date and location to be announced.

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