Boston High School: Chris O'Donnell

WINCHESTER, Mass. – Down a goal entering the fourth quarter, Winchester wasn’t about to fret. Actually, the Sachems felt they had Burlington on the run.

“By the time the fourth quarter came around, he just told us to keep playing our game,” Winchester attack Chris O’Connell said. “I think we knew if we kept playing, we’d be OK.”

That’s when the Sachems turned a switch on during Friday afternoon’s Division 2 EMass first-round tournament game. First, O’Connell tied the score in the first minute of the fourth, the first in a string of four straight goals in an 8-6 win over their Middlesex League rivals.

Midfielder Tim Mangano scored his game-high fourth goal of the game, providing the Sachems (15-5) with their first lead of the contest at 5:41 of the fourth.

Meanwhile, the No. 24 seed Red Devils (10-10), fresh off a preliminary round upset of No. 9 seed Beverly, looked primed for another ground-shaking win. Burlington scored in the opening minutes of each half, taking a one-goal lead in both instances.

Yet, with momentum on their side, the Red Devils were unable to close.

“Our guys have been in tight games, they understand the circumstances,” Burlington head coach Rob Parkin said. “When you’re part of tight games, you’ve got to clamp down and be mistake free. I don’t think we played mistake free ball in the fourth quarter.”

Winchester head coach John Pirani threw the Red Devils a changeup in the fourth quarter, using the Sachems’ “Navy” offense to combat Burlington’s slide package.

Both O’Connell’s game-tying goal and Mangano’s go-ahead were scored on the same offensive call. The Red Devils weren’t able to find answer defensively.

More than that, the Sachems locked down in their own end, with goaltender Alex Sharp collecting six of his 18 saves in the final quarter.

“Burlington doesn’t sneak up on anybody in the Middlesex League anymore, so we were taking them seriously all along,” Pirani said.

In closing out the Red Devils, Winchester was able to limit Burlington attacks Alex Pearsons (2 G) and J.P. Scola (1 G) in their clean looks at the cage in the second half.

They also claimed the ground ball battle in the second half.

“It’s been an Achilles heel for us this season,” O’Connell said. “We have hard workers, but sometimes we just don’t pick the ball up.”

Scooping up the win, the Sachems advance to play No. 1 seed Hingham in a quarterfinal, slated for the Harbormen’s home field Tuesday at 5 p.m.

New England Roundup: Vermont

March, 26, 2012
The North got the best of the South in Saturday's North-South Senior All-Star Classic at Windsor High School.

VermontNorth teams won three of the four games at the event, which is sponsored by the Vermont Basketball Coaches' Association and featured some the state's top senior boys and girls players. Scores and highlights from each contest:

Division I-II Boys: Mill River's Nate Salgo scored 13 points and Springfield's Kurt Perham added 10 in the South's 80-69 triumph. Mount Mansfield's Tom Lacy led the North with 17.

Division III-IV Boys: Rivendell's Dylan Pelletier, Blue Mountain's Eddie Soucie and Websterville's Andrew Shuman each tossed in a team-high 11 points as the North prevailed 97-77.

Division I-II Girls: Burlington's Kaylah Jones led all scorers with 11 as the North edged the South 61-59.

Division III-IV Girls: Twinfield's Brianna duPont tossed in 10 points in the North's 82-63 triumph.

South Burlington's Chris Weinheimer scored a power-play goal midway through the third period to give the Austin Conference a 2-1 triumph over the Harris Conference in the Rotary All-Star Hockey Classic held Saturday at Essex High School.

Stowe's Hunter Grosvenor gave the Austin Conference a 1-0 lead with 3:20 left in the second period, but Northfield's Billy Whaley tied the game 39 seconds later.

South Burlington's Nate Young (10 saves), Rice's Ian Koupash (12) and Spaulding's Kevin Avery (seven) were the Austin Conference goaltenders. Essex's Pat Campbell (14), U-32's Mike Bresette (six) and St. Johnsbury's Chris O'Donnell (17) played in goal for the Harris Conference.

Montpelier's Mary Cain made 24 saves to highlight the Harris Conference's 4-2 triumph in the girls game, held March 17.

Middlebury's Maria Ploof scored twice for the Harris Conference, which also received goals from Rutland's Erin Kiernan-Reilly and Hartford's Bethany Bouthillier.

The Rotary games are used to select Vermont's teams for the Make-A-Wish Twin State Classic. Vermont will face New Hampshire's all-stars July 14 at the University of Vermont's Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Gatorade selected Missisquoi Valley Union's Matt St. Amour as its boys basketball Player of the Year in Vermont for the 2011-12 season.

St. Amour, a 6-foot-3-inch junior guard, is the first boys basketball player from Missisquoi to receive the award, which is based on athletic excellence, academic achievement and character.

St. Amour averaged 26.6 points. 12.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.7 points per game for the Thunderbirds, who lost in the Division I tournament's opening round. Missisquoi won the Division II title last season.

“He plays under control and can finish on either side of the basket, and he's also got great range,” Vergennes coach Peter Quinn said. “You have to defend him as soon as he gets one or two dribbles over half-court.”

St. Amour holds Missisquoi's record for career point scored (1,388).

South Burlington's Mollie Gribbin has announced that she will continue her track and field career at Dartmouth College.

Gribbin, who holds the state record in the long jump (18 feet, 5.5 inches), the triple jump (40-9.5) and the 100 meters (12.24 seconds), was also considering Virginia, Columbia, Illinois and Oregon. She also played soccer for South Burlington.

Roger Brown is a freelance writer who has been reporting on high school sports in New England since 1992.