By Dan Guttenplan
---- — The Pentucket girls basketball team’s loss to Archbishop Williams Monday at the TD Garden marked the end of the winter sports season for River Rival schools. The season included a state championship for a local track team, sectional titles for two other teams, four league title, and several individual achievements. Plus, for the first time in several seasons, every school is represented in the top 10 list. Here are the top moments from the winter season.
1. Another year, another state title: The Newburyport boys indoor track team continued its recent run of dominance by claiming a Division 4 state championship for the third year in a row. The Clippers, who finished undefeated and won a Cape Ann League Open title, narrowly edged out Old Rochester and Weston in the state championship meet. Newburyport sophomore Nick Carleo won the mile in 4:25.03, a new school record. A week later, he placed third in the mile at the All-State Championships in a new record time of 4:19.16.
2. Adding to the Garden: The Pentucket girls basketball team won its fifth sectional title in the last seven years, earning what has become a near annual appearance at the TD Garden. The defending state-champion Sachems fell to Archbishop Williams at the Garden for the third time in that seven-year stretch, but not before improving their cumulative record to 158-20 in coach John McNamara’s seven seasons as coach.
3. Kings of the mat: Four Triton and three Pentucket wrestlers qualified for the All-State Championships this season. All but one of those wrestlers logged his 100th career victory this season with the lone exception being Triton freshman John Boyle, who has three more years to achieve the feat. Triton’s Victor Ramirez, Mark Boyle, Luke Boyle and John Boyle earned trips to the All-States, as did Pentucket’s Tom Funk, Josh Wesolowski and Jeff Funk.
4. A grand accomplishment: Two local basketball players — Georgetown’s Kristin Hogan and Pentucket’s Ashley Viselli — surpassed the illustrious mark for 1,000 career points this season. Hogan was the fourth Georgetown female and sixth player in school history to eclipse 1,000 points. Viselli was the third female and fifth player in Pentucket school history to achieve the same feat.
5. Worthy of cheer: The Georgetown varsity cheer squad captured a Division 4 North Regional title, marking the top performance by any Georgetown team since the school’s baseball team won a state title last spring. The Triton cheer team also earned its sixth Cape Ann League title in the last seven years.
6. Long time, first time: The Newburyport hockey team earned its first Cape Ann League title in coach Paul Yameen’s 10 seasons as coach. The squad had a nice regular season before falling in the opening round of the tournament. The Clippers finished 12-3-5, earning a Newburyport Bank Classic championship and regular-season ties against Franklin, Canton and Beverly.
7. Amesbury on the rise: Amesbury athletics had a breakout winter season with surprising performances spreading to nearly every sports team. The Amesbury girls basketball team qualified for the state tournament for the first time in seven seasons, and even earned a tournament win against Excel. The Amesbury boys basketball team earned its first trip to the state tournament in more than a decade. The Amesbury hockey team flirted with a state tournament berth after beating Newburyport for the first time since 2006. The Amesbury boys indoor track team had a surprising fourth-place finish at the CAL Open.
8. Sustained success: The Newburyport boys basketball team won 14 games including its tournament-opener before falling to Whittier in the Division 3 North quarterfinal. The Clippers’ senior class was a part of 44 wins over the last four seasons, seven of which came in the state tournament.
9. A turnaround season: The Newburyport girls basketball team fought back after a 3-5 start to earn a state-tournament berth for the third year in a row. Needing to catch fire at midseason, the Clippers won five games in a row heading into the final week of the regular season to improve to 10-6. They then dropped four of their last five including a first-round tournament loss to Bedford.
10. Another tournament appearance: Triton coach Drew Wile led his team to a state-tournament berth for the third year in a row despite the graduation of CAL Player of the Year Nate Williamson last season. Wile’s team saw their season come to a close with a 2-1 loss to Winthrop in the first round of the Division 2 North tournament. Still, the Vikings are a long way away from the pre-Wile era, when they were 10-37-8 in the previous three seasons.