Archive - Sports Article
February 24th, 2011
Over the years, the final weekend of the high school hockey regular season had always featured plenty of drama and storylines. Regular-season titles on the line. Teams pursuing higher seeds. Others fighting for late playoff berths.
Unfortunately for local fans, there wonâ€™t be much suspense this weekend.
A big reason is because only five boysâ€™ teams from the area qualified for their respective tournaments. Four of the five teams that didnâ€™t make it were long eliminated from postseason consideration, while a fifth, Lincoln, saw its run at a playoff berth come to an end last weekend.
PROVIDENCE (AP) â€” Notre Dame appeared to be in total control, then all of a sudden the Fighting Irish were lucky time ran out on Marshon Brooks.
Ben Hansbrough scored a career-high 32 points and Tim Abromaitis had a season-high 28 as No. 9 Notre Dame hung on for a 94-93 win over struggling Providence on Wednesday night despite a Big East-record 52 points by Brooks.
The Irish (22-5, 11-4 Big East) are off to their best start ever in 11 seasons under coach Mike Brey. Notre Dame, in second place in the conference, has won eight of nine.
CUMBERLAND â€“ The elite seedings for this weekendâ€™s state wrestling championships bear out the dual-meet rankings for the regular season.
Unbeaten Cumberland, the defending state team champion, collected four No. 1 seeds. Cranston West earned three, as did Warwick Veterans. East Providence was honored with two top seeds â€“ sophomore heavyweight Jonah Aurelio and senior 160-pounder Jared Burrows. Bishop Hendricken, also expected to contend for the team title, got one.
NORTH PROVIDENCE â€“ The music played over the PA system to introduce the players from top-seeded North Providence High was the theme song from the movie â€śRockyâ€ť â€“ the fictional story of the Philadelphia southpaw who overcame all odds to eventually become the heavyweight champion.
While the music was appropriate for the Cougars, who showed plenty of heart in Mondayâ€™s Division II quarterfinal matchup with No. 8 seed Tolman, it would be hard to not say the same for a gutsy Tiger squad.
NEWPORT â€“ Shea High went down fighting in the Division II quarterfinals on Monday night, rallying from a 12-point halftime deficit to lead in the final minute, only to see second-seeded Rogers hit a crucial three-pointer with 12 seconds left that produced a dramatic 59-56 victory over the Raiders.
COVENTRY â€” It was with 10:27 to go in the game when Coventry head boys basketball coach Tom Campbell called a timeout with his Oakers in serious trouble against St. Raphael Academy that it was more than just them losing the game and having no momentum for the upcoming RIIL Open Boys Basketball Tournament.
The Oakersâ€™ pride was in severe jeopardy since the Saints made C. Arthur Flori Gymnasium all their own for two-thirds of the Division I Quarterfinal game on Monday night.
After that timeout, Coventry gained back more than its pride and momentum.
PAWTUCKET --- When Lincoln and Cumberland were rivals in the old Met B league from the mid-1990s to 2004, the two neighbors hooked up in some entertaining, tightly-contested meetings that were true crowd pleasers.
Since then, they have played in different divisions, but they have still found a way to include each other on their non-league schedules.
On Monday afternoon, the two teams met again in the second annual Kyle J. McLaughlin Scholarship Fund benefit hockey game at Lynch Arena and gave the gathering on hand an excellent high school contest to watch.
PROVIDENCE â€” After his Pop Warner football team, the Edgewood Eagles, won a national title in 2008, Shea senior Freddy Gobewole figured a similar fate would occur at the high school level.
It never happened.
While Gobewole was a top running back for the Raiders, the teams struggled during his career with just nine total wins, and no playoff appearances, the last four years.
To make matters worse, a dislocated shoulder, suffered during a scrimmage in August, kept him off the field for half the season this fall.
The majority of high school coaches are also full-time teachers. For these dedicated souls, the world of academia does not cease once the final bell rings. True, they may trade their lesson plans in for whistles and clipboards, maneuvering from one stressful environment to the next. In reality coaches are confronted with the same pressing matter that monopolizes their time and energy during the daytime.
PAWTUCKET â€” If you were to go up to Mike Kayata and tell him that senior star Elijah Wiggins would be a non-factor due to foul problems, the Tolman head coach would say his team is in really deep trouble.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Free throws attempted serve as the perfect means to separate which team was the more aggressive unit.
Itâ€™s also the main reason why Shea High remains alive in the Division II playoffs after posting a 62-53 win over Narragansett High on Friday night at â€śThe Cage.â€ť
The stat that tells the story in this preliminary round clash is that the seventh-seeded Raiders attempted a dozen more free throws than the No. 10 Mariners. Shea went 16-of-24 from the charity stripe while Narragansett was 6-for-12.
Shea now moves on to face Rogers, seeded second, on Monday in the quarterfinals.
PROVIDENCE â€“ No matter how you slice it, Providenceâ€™s 79-76 defeat to Big East bottom feeder DePaul was a tough pill for Keno Davis and the Friars to swallow.
Davisâ€™ post game press conference was far from a ray of sunshine, as the third-year coach sat silent at the podium for several minutes before trying to explain what has to be the Friarsâ€™ most disheartening loss of the season â€“ one coming against a DePaul outfit that coming had had dropped 25 consecutive Big East games.
â€śItâ€™s a tough lesson for a young team to learn,â€ť said a clearly shell-shocked Davis.
For three local teams straddling along the same line, the idiomatic expression â€śthereâ€™s no tomorrowâ€ť definitely applies.
CUMBERLAND â€” In states where wrestling holds a prominent place in the high school sports winter season -- Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Iowa come to mind â€“ people flock to big dual-meets in large numbers. When two unbeaten teams meet, fans and coaches and former wrestlers fill the stands, contributing to a raucous setting not often seen in Rhode Island.
PROVIDENCE â€” The country got up close with the nether regions of the Big East Conference on Thursday night.
In a nationally-televised contest involving two teams just trying to stay afloat in a Top-25 dominated lead, DePaul held on for 79-76 win over the Providence College Friars before 5,021 disappointed fans at The Dunk.
PC trailed 77-76 with seven seconds remaining when Gerard Coleman had a pass broken up in the lane by DePaulâ€™s Jeremiah Kelly, who hit two free throws with less than a second remaining to secure the win.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Tolman High demonstrated the proper way to head into the postseason, dispatching of Ponaganset High, 71-44, Wednesday afternoon at the Donaldson Memorial Gymnasium.
PAWTUCKET â€” As is normally the case, Tom â€śSaarâ€ť Sorrentine uses â€śSenior Nightâ€ť as a chance to shine the light on those seniors who normally take a backseat to more acclaimed teammates. For Newon Sendolo, Franklin Batista, Ben Pillsbury, Austin Hill and Calvin Contreras, that meant a chance to make a rare start, doing so with playoff position hanging in the balance against perennial power Bishop Hendricken.
CUMBERLAND â€” The Cumberland High wrestling program runs as deep as the roots head coach Steve Gordon has nurtured in this town since moving here nearly 50 years ago.
The Clippers finished their second straight undefeated dual-meet season on Wednesday night with a 37-20 spanking of equally unbeaten Warwick Veterans, which was the favored team heading into this showdown between Division Iâ€™s two elite squads.
CUMBERLAND -- Tonight marks the beginning of the best 10-day stretch in Rhode Island wrestling this year. It starts with a battle between two unbeaten high school programs. Defending state champion Cumberland will host 2010 runnerup Warwick Veterans tonight at The Wellness Center with the regular season dual-meet title at stake.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Tolman High faces a serious challenge in its final four regular season games, meeting a 12-1-0 Johnston/North Providence team and a defensive-oriented East Providence (6-5-0) team that sits right behind the Tigers in the Division III standings. Tolman (8-4-0) faces both contenders twice.
â€śWeâ€™ve lost two games to Mount Hope (10-2-1) and twice to Cranston East (8-3-1),â€ť Tolman coach Steve Reynolds pointed out. â€śWeâ€™ve beat the teams we should have beat but now we have to finish our season against two good playoff teams.â€ť