Revere’s Sal DeAngelis, III completes his high school basketball career as captain of the team just like dad
As the world around us is constantly changing, it’s refreshing to know that history always brings us back to reality. It tells us there’s a link to the current events, while reassuring us the present is pretty much no different from the past, specifically in our personal lives.
The high school basketball season just wrapped up last Saturday with a bunch of state championship games at Lowell’s Tsongas Center. Locally in Revere, for the second year in a row, the boys basketball team (11-11) was able to win a state tournament game. They defeated Plymouth South, 55-50 in a Division 2 preliminary round game, before losing to Nashoba Regional, the sixth seed, in the Round of 32.
The captain of the team was senior Sal DeAngelis, III. For longtime Revere sports fans, his name has a familiar ring to it, when his dad, Sal, Jr., was the leader of his 1992 squad.
Like everything else, the city has changed considerably since then. There’s no more Hill Park on Park Ave., and McMackin Park, home of the former Revere Little League, on Winthrop Ave. has also experienced a similar fate, to name just a couple of those changes. Ironically, both popular venues for decades met their fate in the same 2013 calendar year. But it’s comforting to know that families that go back generations in this city remain intact.
One of those families is the DeAngelis clan. Sal, Jr. now resides on Olive Street with his wife, Kristen, and two children, Francesca and Sal, III. It’s right behind his childhood Revere Beach Parkway home, where his parents, Sal, Sr. and Bernadette, still live. Bernadette started working the concession stand in the Merullo Fieldhouse, when her son was playing there, and she was still doing the same job this season, while her grandson was leading the Patriots.
Sal recalls growing up and playing sports in Revere throughout the 1980s was a lot of fun, and it was a great environment for kids. He was 5-feet, 5-inches tall, and was involved in the Immaculate Conception and Parks & Rec youth basketball leagues, plus the travel teams from grades 4-8. He modeled his game after Sal Bottari, who was the diminutive point guard of the Patriots in the mid-1980s. The elder DeAngelis was his coach in the youth leagues, and he immediately recognized his son’s skill levels. “He would tell my teammates to get the ball to (me) and get out of the way. He knew there wasn’t a shot I didn’t like,” said Sal, Jr.
Paul Carrabes was his travel coach. His dad was also an assistant coach on those teams, along with Paul’s brother, Bob. Once he was high school age, he originally attended Dom Savio in East Boston. But he transferred back home to Revere High School halfway through his sophomore year, where he played for Gavin Monagle, the program’s JV coach at the time. He was not eligible to play on the varsity team that was coached by Kevin McCann, because of the MIAA’s (Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association) transfer restrictions.
“We had high hopes going into my junior year, but injuries to Matt Ferullo and Mike Vieira hurt us, and as a result things went sideways,” said Sal.
In his senior year, Monagle took over for McCann as the program’s varsity coach. “We had no height on that team – our tallest player was Lenny Guida at 6-1 – but we still participated in the (Division 2 North) state tournament, where we beat Saugus in the opener, before losing to Hamilton-Wenham by just six points,” Sal said.
For the most part, Sal played many years with his teammates from youth sports to high school. “We were a pretty close group, and the coaches always looked out for us,” he said.
Sal also played at McMackin, when it was time to play baseball, while his son’s minor league team was basically the last one to win a championship there. He was eight, when his Diamondbacks beat the Brewers in two straight games. He was primarily the team’s catcher, but did play some second base, His dad was an assistant coach on the winning squad.
“It’s really cool to know that my dad also played there,” Sal, III said, who then moved on to the St. Mary’s Cal Ripken League on Washington Ave. “I was the leadoff hitter on the Diamondbacks, and I remember getting a double down the rightfield line during the championship game. We won that game, 9-6.”
The youngest Sal is now getting ready for the high school baseball season. He’s expected to be the starting catcher, but will also be playing third and leftfield at times this spring.
But it’s basketball that’s his forte. “Sal has been on the varsity team the last two years, and was a part of back-to-back state tournament teams for the first time in 21 years,” said coach David Leary. “Sal started all 22 games this year, and averaged 7.5 points and four rebounds per game. He had his best game at Chelsea in January, where he hit the game-tying three-pointer against the Red Devils to propel us to a big road win, while others were out injured.”
Sal offered this assessment of his game on the court compared to his dad. “He was better than me dribbling the ball after he showed me tapes of his high school games, but I’m taller than him at 5-11. I was my team’s shooting guard or small forward,” he said. “But it’s really cool we grew up in the same city, and he was able to coach me in two sports.”
Sal the dad, who’s a full-time accountant at SS&C in Boston, regrets he got out of coaching, and admits it might have been his calling. “I should have kept on coaching, because I really miss it,” he said.
But his son will never forget what he taught him. “It was really cool to play for my dad over the years. He also played with me, when I was younger, so I could become a better player, but a few years later I was beating him in basketball, including a series of one-on-one games we played against each other during COVID, when I beat him six times. Both he and my grandfather taught me so much about basketball and baseball, and they also told me a lot of stories about both sports.”
Sal is now weighing his options for next year. He might take his mom’s advice and go right into a union to learn a trade. If he goes that route, he will study to become an electrician. But he’s also considering Salem State University, where he wants to study sports management or sports broadcasting. But the one thing he has learned from playing sports and being around his dad and grandfather is if you want to succeed in anything it’s simply a matter of applying yourself, a philosophy that’s all about Revere, where generations bridge the gap to maintain what works in an ever-changing society.