By Cary Shuman
St. Mary’s High School boys basketball coach David Brown is pleased about his team’s start to the 2017-2018 season, especially the play of senior captain Stephen Fama.
St. Mary’s defeated defending Division 2 state champion Brighton, 55-46, in the opener Friday at Tony Conigliaro Gymnasium. On Monday, the Spartans delivered a message to the Catholic Central League by besting Archbishop Williams, 58-37.
Fama made sizable contributions to both victories with 12 and 10 points respectively in the games. He had a team-high 15 rebounds against Williams.
Fama was a starter for last year’s squad that advanced to the Division 4 state finals where the Spartans fell to Gardner High School, the same school that St. Mary’s had beaten a year earlier in the championship game.
There’s no question that the son of former Suffolk University basketball star Leo Fama (and the brother of former St. Mary’s standout Joe Fama, a member of the 2016 state champions) is ready to establish himself as one of the top players on the North Shore this season.
“We had a good week of practice and we knew what we were up against in the Division 2 state champions,” said Fama after the Brighton game. “That’s a good win for us.”
Fama is settling in to his role as a senior captain for the Spartans. “It’s an outstanding honor. I love being a leader on this team – this is my second family,” he said.
The 6-foot-3-inch forward said the returning players on the team are motivated by the defeat to Gardner, denying St. Mary’s back-to-back state titles.
“Last year definitely motivated us because we knew that it took to get there, but we just couldn’t finish the job, and it was tough on us,” said Fama.
Against Brighton, Fama formed a potent frontcourt duo with Joey Abate-Walsh, a 6-foot-7-inch transfer from North Andover. Abate-Walsh, an excellent outside shooter, had nine points versus the Bengals. He has displayed his dunking skills in the preseason practices.
“Joey is an excellent player,” said Fama, who can also dunk the basketball. “He comes to practice every day well prepared, and he know what it takes. I love having him on the team.”
Also excelling early in the season is dynamic guard Jalen Echevarria, who had a game-high 21 points versus Williams.
Fama is excited about the upcoming Walter Boverini Basketball Tournament. St. Mary’s looms as one of the best teams on the North Shore, but are they the best team in Lynn?
“The Boverini is the best tournament of the year, every year,” said Fama. “Classical, English, and Tech are all very good, so the competition will be great.”
Leo and Jeana Fama will be at the Boverini as well, according to Stephen.
“That’s the best thing about it – my parents don’t miss a game. I love it,” said Stephen.