By Jean DePlacido
---- — Over the years the St. Adelaide’s CYO basketball program has enjoyed tremendous success. The West Peabody church has six teams, and four have earned the right to go to the state tournament which will be held in Milton the first three weekends in March.
Headed for the states are the girls and boys Cadets and Bantams. The Cadet girls are coached by Joy Wallace. Wallace and Tom Rossignoll assist Mike Sullivan with the Bantam girls while John Lepore coaches the Cadet boys, and John Federico is at the helm of the Bantams. Patty Brennan is the St. Adelaide athletic director.
The unbeaten Cadet girls defeated St. Ann’s of Peabody, 38-18 in the North Shore championship to improve to 15-0 in the league.
“St. Ann’s is a very tough, well coached team that was a good match for us,” said Wallace, who is assisted by Bill Gulla. “Overall, it was a great day for the future of Peabody girls’ basketball. There are many talented athletes in this group of eighth grade girls.”
The Peabody High varsity team is loaded with former St. Adelaide standouts including Danielle Sullivan, Courtney Bua, Sara Hosman, Sarah Napolitano and Jill Wallace. This is the last year this group of Cadets will be together before going to the high school. They have been incredibly successful, winning the North Shore championship three years in a row.
In 2010-2011 as Bantams they posted a 21-0 record, won the state championship and went on to take the regional title by beating the best teams in New England. Last season as first year seventh grade Cadets they came in second in the league, North Shore champs, and went all the way to the state finals before losing by only five points.
Team members are Alyssa Alperen, Alia Campagnone, Gianna Capo, Kelly Crotty, Temi Falayi, Melissa Gray, Samantha Gulla, Carla Patania, Marisa Tisi, Katie Wallace, and Lauren Wolff. Gulla, Wallace, Gray, Tisi, Alperen, Wolff, and Falayi also play for coach Gulla’s travel team.
Gray is the leading scorer with an impressive 202 points followed by Falayi (81), Tisi (72), Alperen (64), and Wallace with 58 despite being sidelined for four weeks with a broken wrist. Gray, Wallace, Alperen, Wolff, and Tisi are all excellent 3-point shooters. Falayi is averaging 10 rebounds per game and has had two double-doubles while Alperen averages eight boards and had one double-double. Crotty, Capo, and Campagnone are also strong on the boards.
Gulla, Patania, Tisi, Wolff, and Wallace are always a threat to steal and cause turnovers. As point guards Gulla and Wolff are counted on to move the ball quickly and accurately.
“This is a very unselfish team,” said Wallace. “We are successful because we all work together. We have great defensive minded players and are very tenacious. Our girls are quick, athletic, and our press is hard to beat. The best thing about this group is that they know how to finish under pressure. They keep their wits about them, and they do not get frazzled.
“They have had a huge target on their backs this year because everyone wanted to be the team to beat St. Adelaide’s. That is pretty tough for a group of 13 and 14-year old girls to handle, but they always do it with the grace and ease of champions. They all contribute, and I am honored to have been on this journey with them since the 2010 season. I am so proud of all of them.”