Archive - Dec 2011 - Sports Article
Ready or not, like it or not, the football programs at Tolman and Woonsocket High Schools are poised to join the Division I ranks.
Based on figures obtained by Blackstone Valley Sports and decreed by the Interscholastic League, the Tigers and Villa Novans rank eighth and ninth, respectively, among the 43 participating schools, meaning both meet the criteria for Division I participation. The stateâs top tier typically houses nine teams.
A little of this, a little of that as we bid adieu to 2011 âŠ
Ryan OâDell will have to sit tight and wait his turn for the URI baseball team, the Lincoln nativeâs redshirt status for this coming spring the result of findings by the NCAA Clearinghouse. The initial-eligibility organization launched its investigation into OâDellâs high school transcript during the middle of the fall ball season, a time when the freshman had visions of making major strides toward landing a substantial role.
PAWTUCKET â Mike Pappas, who helped build the Pawtucket Boys & Girls Club into an organization that profoundly impacts the lives of youngsters throughout this city, passed away early Thursday morning at the age of 86.
Pappas, a World War II veteran, began working at the former Boys Club facility on East Avenue in 1949, joining the staff as a physical education instructor. He moved up the ladder and succeeded Phil Geiger as Executive Director in 1964, serving in that position until his retirement in 1989.
CUMBERLAND â Tolman head coach Mike Kayata can live with Jonathan Percy firing away from the baseline. Itâs a whole other matter when the 6-foot-7 junior tees up a shot from behind the 3-point stripe.
CUMBERLAND â By Gary Reedyâs estimation, eight years have elapsed since Cumberland High last captured the Cumberland-Lincoln Boys & Girls Holiday Tournament.
Needless to say, putting an end to such a drought would brighten the Clippersâ spirits heading into the coming year. Cumberland earned the right to play in the championship game after disposing of Woonsocket, 71-63, Tuesday night in the Wellness Center. Junior Ben Bradley paced Cumberland with 19 points along with eight assists and five rebounds.
WARWICK -- Taylor Regoâs goal late in the second overtime period lifted Lincoln to a 3-2 victory over Cumberland in the Toll Gate Holiday Tournament championship game played on Tuesday night at Thayer Arena.
âIt took a great shot by Taylor to win this game,â said Lincoln coach Jim Riel. âTaylor ended up being named MVP of the tournament.â
Cumberland took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal by Michael Kinch. Lincoln took a 2-1 lead after two periods on goals by Nick Zammarelli and Mike Enos but the Clippers stayed strong and tied the game in the third stanza on Andrew Plutaâs goal.
SMITHFIELD â For 16 minutes of the Smithfield Officials Tournament, Tolman High held its own against Division I opponent North Providence.
Itâs too bad it was the other 16 minutes that made the difference.
The Tigers fell behind by 25 points at halftime before eventually succumbing to a 57-34 loss to the Cougars in Tuesdayâs opener of the three-day tourney. Senior Danai Porter was the lone bright spot for Tolman, scoring more than two thirds of the offense with a game-best 23 points.
WARWICK â Lincoln High is young this season with more than half of its roster consisting of freshmen and sophomores.
According to head coach James Riel, the one thing the Lions do have in their favor is depth.
While Lincoln may still struggle somewhat against the upper-echelon of teams in Division I, Riel envisions his squad being competitive against its other rivals.
The Lions gave evidence of that the past two games.
WARWICK â It was another win for Cumberland High, its sixth straight without a defeat.
But after his Clippers blanked Division III foe Mount Hope, 2-0, in the second game of the Toll Gate Holiday Tournament at Thayer Arena, CHS head coach Mark Andreozzi wasnât exactly singing praise about his squad.
Some RIIL history was made last March when the Johnston/North Providence team became the first co-op club to win a state championship, doing so when it swept defending champ Mount Hope in their best-of-three Division III title series.
While Johnston/North Providenceâs championship didnât come as much as a surprise -- the team was 14-1-1 during the regular season and the top seed in the playoffs -- it was a bit shocking to see a boysâ co-op squad capture a state crown before a girlsâ team.
PAWTUCKET â For about 15 minutes in the first half of Friday nightâs game, St. Raphael Academy looked every bit like the defending state championship team that it is, sprinting out to a 39-22 lead over a solid East Providence team that seemed troubled by the speed of the contest.
The Saints built their biggest lead of the night at 60-33, then watched a never-quit East Providence almost get back into the game with a 21-7 run.
At the final horn, the Saints walked off with a 72-56 victory that left head coach Tom Sorrentine shaking his head.
At this stage of baseballâs offseason, the headlines are typically reserved for the big-ticket acquisition and the occasional blockbuster trade.
Behind that glitzy curtain is where youâll find new Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett. His mission is to replenish the upper levels of the farm system with players who will hold down the fort in Triple-A Pawtucket, ready to contribute if injury besets one of the major-league starters.
Looking back on the 2011 sports year, my most vivid memories relate to a Shea High boys soccer team that dazzled opponents with its talent, ball skills and exuberance for the sport.
The Raiders made soccer fun to watch, even for a traditional sports fan like myself who is more attuned to football than âfutbol.â
PAWTUCKET â Make no mistake: Tolman made Shea earn its 60-55 victory Tuesday night at the Donaldson Gymnasium.
The Raiders were the dominant club for much of the way, building a 32-23 lead at halftime before going ahead by 17 points with eight minutes remaining. Thatâs when Tolman head coach Mike Kayata decided to switch defenses from man-to-man to a matchup zone that allowed the home team to make a spirited charge.
WOONSOCKET -- The senior class is one of its smallest in a number of years.
The number of players that graduated from last seasonâs Division II-North championship club, including six of the top eight scorers and one of the finest goaltenders in the teamâs history, was one of its largest.
And several players who are featured in key positions have little or no varsity experience.
But despite all this, Cumberland has been the talk of the division and the areaâs only team with a â0â in the loss column.
LINCOLN â Joe Handy has been coaching long enough to know that when you take over a program for the first time the transition period isnât always going to be easy. With a new coach and a new system, itâs not always going to be smooth.
In his first year at Davies Tech after two decades at Central Falls, including 10 as the head coach, Handy experienced one of those lumps on Monday.
PAWTUCKET â Defending Division III state champion Johnston/North Providence left Lynch Arena on Saturday night knowing that it has a fight on its hands the rest of this season with Tolman.
The upstart Tigers gave the JNP Co-Op squad all it could handle before losing 6-5 in overtime on a breakaway goal by Jon Alsfeld.
PROVIDENCE â He could have blamed fatigue from the basketball game the night before and the early-morning practice the next day.
He could have blamed the different footwear, a pair of spikes that were more than a full size smaller. He could have even blamed his lack of practice, which is none since last June.
WILLIMANTIC, Ct. â Cumberland High walked away with the team championship at Saturdayâs Lancer Invitational, crowning two individual champions and seeing a third wrestler, Erik Travers, have victory stolen away from him by some sloppy officiating.
Jon Maccini (138) and Tom Lacroix (195) claimed individual titles for the Clippers, who accumulated 220 team points to run away with the title over runnerup Southington (Ct.), which took second place with 166 points.
PAWTUCKET â Mike Kinch must consider Lynch Arena his home ice.
The Cumberland High senior, whose family has strong ties to Pawtucket, led the Clippers to a 5-2 victory over the SRA-PCD-Wheeler Co-Op team on Saturday night by scoring two goals and assisting on another.
âMikeâs a strong player who skates well and has a good shot,â Cumberland coach Mark Andreozzi said after the game. Kinch now has six goals and nine assists on the season, putting him near the top of the state in points scored.