Warriors take on Beverly in first round tourney game tonight at BHS

THE WARRIOR boys’ basketball team is hoping to high five each other after a win in tonight’s Div. 2 North tournament game against Beverly. The first round matchup will be played at Beverly High School. (Donna Larsson File Photo)

THE WARRIOR boys’ basketball team is hoping to high five each other after a win in tonight’s Div. 2 North tournament game against Beverly. The first round matchup will be played at Beverly High School. (Donna Larsson File Photo)

Published in the March 1, 2016 edition.


BEVERLY — Even though the Warrior boys’ basketball team is facing a team from another conference, it is not exactly unfamiliar with that league given the fact it has faced two of those squads this year in non-league play and it faced two of those conference’s foes in last year’s state tournament.

Wakefield takes on Northeastern Conference opponent Beverly tonight in a Div. 2 first round state tournament game. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at the Beverly High School Field House.

The Warriors (12-6) are seeded ninth in the 18-team Div. 2 North field while the Panthers (15-7) are ranked eighth.

Wakefield posted an 11-5 record to capture the Middlesex League Freedom division title while Beverly finished the regular season with a 9-7 record as it placed fourth in the NEC Large division.

“Beverly is 15-7 and they played a full schedule. Twenty-two games is the maximum amount allowed,” said Coach Brad Simpson. “They went 6-0 in their non-league games so they were very successful outside of the Northeastern Conference. Their coach, Scott Lewis, is a veteran and he has been there about 12 years. They are a perennial tournament contender. I don’t recall Wakefield every playing Beverly. This could be the inaugural game. If we have played them, it hasn’t been since Coach Lewis has been there.”

While the Warriors and Panthers haven’t faced each other anytime recently, they did play similar foes. Wakefield played NEC large champion Danvers (15-4) and Marblehead (8-11) in non-league competition in the Saugus Holiday Tournament in December. The Warriors lost a close game against Danvers (64-62) and beat Marblehead (54-48).

Beverly split its two games against Danvers losing on the road by a 51-47 score on Jan. 5 and defeating the Falcons, 68-66, on Feb. 11. The Panthers defeated Marblehead by a 59-55 score in their only meeting against the Magicians on Jan. 12.

Wakefield also played two NEC opponents last year in the state tournament. The Warriors defeated Lynn Classical in preliminary round game before having its season ended by eventual Div. 2 state champion and undefeated Danvers.

Beverly is led by senior captains Kyle Coughlin and Sam Traicoff. Both are guards.

Coughlin has played in all 22 games for the Panthers and he has scored 200 points, while having 114 assists, 73 rebounds, 41 steals and seven blocks. He has a 9.1 points per game average.

Traicoff is the leading scorer on Beverly with 363 points scored (a 16.5 points per game average.). Traicoff has 97 rebounds, 32 assists, 15 steals and one block.

“Kyle Coughlin is the point guard and Sam Traicoff shoots the three-point shot as good as anybody in the Middlesex League,” said Simpson

Junior forward Pat Gavin and senior forward Ryan Garrity lead the way in the Beverly front court.

Gavin has netted 208 points in 22 games (a 9.5 PPG). Gavin lead the team in rebounds with 158. The junior also has 23 steals, 22 assists and 16 blocks.

Garrity has tallied 175 points in 22 games (an 8.0 PPG). The senior has 154 rebounds, 27 assists, 11 steals and three blocks.

“They have a lot of offensive firepower,” said Simpson. “Ryan Garrty and Pat Gavin are two players that can score points.”

Two other Panthers players have scored over 100 points. They are junior forward Hugh Calice (136 points in 22 games) and sophomore guard Luigi Derrane (111 points in 21 contests). Calice has 128 rebounds as well and leads the team in blocked shots with 26. Derrane also has impressive numbers with 57 rebounds, 29 assists and 16 steals.

“Hugh Calice, a junior, is their fifth starter depending on the matchup, I guess,” said Simpson. “They usually start Coughlin and Traicoff in the backcourt, either Garrity or Gavin, and another player, a senior forward, John Loretti, who is more of a defensive specialist.”

The rest of the Beverly roster includes senior guard Ryan Anderson, junior guard Kevin Morency, senior guard Sean Kalivas, junior forward Federico Poncini, junior forward Alex Copeland, sophomore forward Kyle Cravatis, and senior guard Peter Mulumba.

Beverly had a 6-5 record until it won nine straight games from Jan. 21 through Feb. 18. The Panthers ended the regular season with two straight losses. They lost to Peabody and Lynn English by three points in both contests.

“We will have our work cut out for us,” said Simpson. “Traicoff’s had games where he has scored 29 points and 26 points. During their run, he was averaging about 20 points per game. He is the main engine that drives them. They have scored in the 80s, and certainly in the 70s and 60s. We don’t score that much. We usually try to keep team in the low 60s and 50s. I guess it will be their offense against our defense.”

Wakefield will also be playing its first game since the regular season ended for it on Feb. 12. Even though there has been a long layoff, Simpson isn’t too concerned.

“Anytime you are playing in March, you’ve had a good season,” said Simpson. “We had three scrimmages and practices during the time. We did also have a few days off. We scrimmaged Stoneham, Lynnfield and Lynn English. I’d be more concerned if we hadn’t played any scrimmages. I’m sure the first four minutes or so the adrenaline will be high for both teams.”

If the Warriors win, they they will advance to the quarterfinal round which will be played on a day, time and site to be announced. The quarterfinal matchup will be against the winner of first round on Thursday night between Salem and Chelsea. Chelsea edged Masconomet by a 53-52 last night in preliminary round game at Chelsea High School.