Sports 02-10-2011

February 10, 2011
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Honor Roll Call

Christopher Sullivan, son of Joseph and Sandy Sullivan, was named to the Honor Roll at the St. Sebastian School in Needham…Sophomore Catherine Taglilatela, daughter of John and Beth Taglilatela, has a 3.45 GPA at Colby-Sawyer College and has received her major accepted letter in Sports Medicine/Training…Jackson McGonagle, son of John “Jack” McGonagle and Bryn Ansen and stepson of Rob Ansen, earned Honor Roll at the Taft School in Watertown CT…Patrick Kelly earned High Honors at St. Joseph Elementary School in Medford.

“Townies” sports update

Samantha Maynard, a second-grader at the Warren Prescott School, placed seventh at the Green Mountain Valley ski competition held at the Sugarbush Resort, Vermont…The Boston Latin Academy swim team leads the Boston City League with a 4-0 record (7-3 overall) and features standouts Colby Cahill, Matteo Grando and rookie Teaghan McLaughlin…Matignon High School (2-1) swimming sensation Meaghan Doherty is also enjoying a banner season…New Hampton (17-8-1) winger John Humphrey popped in the first goal during his team’s 2-1 victory over Holderness…St. Anslem (16-4-0) senior co-caption Alexa Hingston tallied two assists in her team’s 5-2 victory over Holy Cross…Lauren Barry, a participant in the Bruins Fundamentals skating program, was selected as a “Bruin for a Day” by Hallmark Health.

Leading “Townie” hockey scorers

G           A            PTS

Brendan Collier, Malden Catholic 16              27           42

Conal Lynch, Boston Latin                                               19           14           33

Michael Settipani, Hebron Academy 8           17           25

Tom DeRosa, Tufts University

9        14           23

John Humphrey, New Hampton 11                12           23

Aaron Titcomb, Brewster Academy 10          10           20

Kevin Flanagan, St. Clement                                            13             5            18

Matthew Grzelcyk, USA (Under-17)     1        13           14

Sean Wrenn, St. Clement                                     3            10           13

Alexa Hingston, St. Anslem                                                 6              6             12

Ryan DeRosa, Latin Academy

6                6            12

State Tournament news

The following is a list of high school basketball and hockey teams (boys and girls) with “Townies” who have already qualified, will probably qualify, or have an outside chance of qualifying for the State tournament.

THEY’RE IN  —  The #4 ranked Charlestown High School boys basketball team (12-1), fresh off a 72-56 demolition of previously unbeaten and #1 ranked St. John’s Prep, have to be considered one of the favorites to go all the way…Malden Catholic (11-1-2), ranked #1, will settle for nothing less than the boys hockey Super 8 title…The Boston Latin boys hockey team (10-1-2) is certain to create a stir in Division II.

PROBABLES  —  East Boston High School (7-3), despite a slow start, has returned to form and are always a tough draw for any boys basketball opponent…Arlington Catholic (7-2-4, ranked #11), on the bubble for a Super 8 berth, and Austin Prep (5-5-3, ranked #16) will more than likely be major players in Division I boys hockey…The Boston Latin Academy (6-4-0) icemen are on pace to qualify and should be a live underdog in Division II…The Boston Latin (8-7) boys have a good chance of getting in and are playing their best basketball of the season…St. Clements (6-6-2), with several quality wins against league rivals, have positioned themselves nicely to qualify in boys hockey Division II.

ON THE BUBBLE  —  The South Boston High School (4-4) boys hoop team got off to a great start but have sputtered of late…With a 4-3 conference record, the St. Clements (4-8) boys basketball team is still alive for a birth but can’t afford any more losses…The Mt. St. Joseph (6-9) girls hoopsters, having already overachieved, are a long shot with several tough games remaining on their schedule…Arlington Catholic (4-6-3) can still qualify for the girls hockey Division I but must get on a winning streak.

Help keep me in the “loop”

I’m looking for scoops on “Townies” who participate in sports/recreational activities in elementary school, high school, prep school or college.  Please E-Mail me at bunkerhillbillie@aol.com with information or photographs and I will be sure to include them in a column.  I’d also love to hear about honor roll students or scholar athletes, or any story which would recognize the accomplishments of past and present “Townies.”

74 Days ‘til Opening Day

Beginning on March 1, the Charlestown Little League program will begin indoor pre-season practice sessions every Tuesday at the Charlestown Community Center gymnasium.  However, it is required that all players participating in the sessions be members of the Charlestown Community Center.  Membership is free for children and applications are available at the gym desk.  The practice times will be 6-7:00 PM for 6-9 year olds, and 7-8:00 PM for 10-12 year olds.  When weather allows, the practices will held outdoors on the field adjacent to the tennis bubble.

It is also urged that Little Leaguers register for the 2011 baseball season at the clinics.  The cost is $50 per player ($25 for each additional player per family).

Billy Endicott and the Bunker Hillbillies

In February of 1969, the Charlestown High School basketball team lost a heartbreaking “Tech Tourney” game to Somerville High School at the Boston Garden.  Shooting sensation Billy Endicott was the game’s leading scorer and primarily responsible for Somerville’s thrilling victory.  In what turned out to be a very black eye for Charlestown, a group of young adults used their disappointment to inflict a post-game beating on the unsuspecting Endicott.

Local newspapers provided coverage of the story, which included gruesome hospital photographs of Endicott (it reminded me of the post-beaning hospital photo of Tony “C”), and neighboring communities were in an uproar.  The incident served to cement pre-existing negative stereotypes about “Townies.”

I was a seventh-grader.  My parents purchased a new banjo for my birthday and I couldn’t wait to show it off at the next Bunker Hillbilly practice (held in the “ranch house” at the Boy’s Club).  The other banjoists, Bernie Kelly (my cousin) and Stevie Coyne, were already using new banjoes bought by their parents.

The word on the “street,” however, was that gangs were coming to Charlestown that night from every direction to exact revenge for the Endicott battery.  The Somerville gangs were supposed to come through Sullivan Square, Everett and Chelsea rioters were to cross the bridge at “The Neck,” and North End groups would come over the Charlestown Bridge into City Square.

I lived on Winthrop Street, six blocks from the Boy’s Club.  The urge to show off my new banjo overcame any apprehension I may have had about roving “out of town” thugs, so I went to practice.  I was proud to be strumming my new banjo and Hillbilly director Bob Munstedt complimented me on my “professional appearance.”  He also reminded me, if I hadn’t already, to thank my parents when I got home after practice.

Practice proceeded as usual with a meticulous rehearsal of songs that were to be performed at our next “gig.”  The routine had become second nature to us and we always tried to do our best at practice for Bob.  He also stressed that we were the “Goodwill Ambassadors” of the Charlestown Boy’s Club, an important responsibility.

Looking back, my Bunker Hillbilly experience was truly magical.  We performed many times on television programs such as the Major Mudd Show, Rex Trailer’s Boomtown, Bozo the Clown, Community Audition and the Ted Mack Show.  The “Ranch House 7,” the cream of the Bunker Hillbilly crop, even performed at the White House for President Nixon.

After practice ended, me, Bernie and Stevie walked home together carrying our prized banjoes.  We immediately noticed how dark it was and that the streets were empty.  The Billy Endicott situation quickly brought us back to reality and the need to skedaddle home hit us like a sledgehammer.  On the way, we convinced ourselves of hearing voices and sounds in the distance and of seeing flickers of light, as though things were being broken and smashed and fires were being lit.

Bernie arrived home first.  He lived across the street from the liquor store at Thompson Square, just minutes from the Boy’s Club.  Stevie’s house was on Cordis Street, the next street over, so he was gone seconds later.  I still had another few blocks to go before reaching my house.  As I hastened home, the image of a horde of hooligans chasing me down, catching me and beating me to death with my new banjo overwhelmed me.  It was frightening. I made it home without incident.

A week later, our next Hillbilly “gig” (the first with my new banjo) was upon us.  We got off the bus and entered the Somerville Knights of Columbus.  Once inside, I discovered that the function was a benefit for Billy Endicott.  Frankie Fontaine was the Master of Ceremony and Jackie Gleason the Guest of Honor.  As I walked by the front of the stage with my gear, I passed a group of adults huddled in a circle.  In the middle of them was Billy Endicott, who was sitting in a wheelchair and still showing the effects of the assault.  My first instinct was to apologize to him on behalf of Charlestown.  He caught me staring at him, smiled gently and continued to listen to the adults who were fawning over him.  My impression was he didn’t enjoy the attention.

For the next few years, I kept track of Billy Endicott’s basketball exploits.  He went on to enjoy a spectacular career at UMass-Amherst and played alongside teammates Rick Pitino and Al Skinner.  I’m guessing he probably got to watch, and maybe even practice with, Julius “Dr. J” Erving.  Today, Endicott continues his legacy as an AAU youth basketball coach, as well as instructing and mentoring local “hoop” prospects.  His is a remarkable story of perseverance and accomplishment, one that I will never forget.