Archive - Sports Article
February 13th, 2012
The last full week of the high school basketball season is upon us, meaning teams are in full spin mode in relation to securing playoff berths or jostling for seeding positions.
Woonsocket High School athletic director George Nasuti feels a common bond with his colleagues at other city schools in Rhode Island, in places like Pawtucket, Central Falls and Providence. He knows the budget restraints that ADs in those cities deal with, and can easily relate to the student-athletes and the economic realities many of them face during the school year.
PROVIDENCE â With the state meet less than a week away, itâs all about consistency. Whether itâs in the running or field events, the elite athletes that have been consistent in their craft, particularly over the last few weeks, usually continue that trend on track & fieldâs biggest stage.
Central Falls senior Steven Vazquez, a multiple all-stater in the high jump, has been one of those athletes.
PROVIDENCE â For those associated with Providence College basketball, the importance of keeping a stiff upper lip or oneâs chin high cannot be underscored. After all, itâs not time to pack away the jerseys just yet.
CUMBERLAND â Two nights earlier, the wrestlers from Cumberland High knocked off previously undefeated Bishop Hendricken, the friendly confides of the Wellness Center serving as the backdrop. Hoping to replicate some of that home cooking, the Cumberland boysâ hoops team played host to state contender North Providence on Friday night.
CENTRAL FALLS â As a coach you want to see your team pushed to the extreme, especially with the playoffs not too far off in the distance.
Thursday night saw Shea and Central Falls trade big shots and big plays with neither side backing down. The difference in the end was the steely-eyed play of Jordy Brito, the Raiders senior coming up with a series of clutch plays in the closing minutes in what amounted to a hard-fought 63-57 victory over the host Warriors.
PAWTUCKET â Tolman Highâs Dion Rubio, a star football player who developed into a championship-calibre wrestler over the past four winters, enjoys the mat sport.
âItâs really different than football,â Rubio, who finished fifth in the state at 160 pounds last winter, said on Thursday night after sending the Tigers to a 42-39 victory over Woonsocket with a pin in the final minute of the final match of the night.
PAWTUCKET â Central Fallsâs biggest win of the year also turned out to be Tolmanâs most disappointing loss of the season.
Down by 11 points at the break, the Warriors staged a comeback that saw senior forward Shariela Jiminez toss in 16 of her game-high 20 points and help pave the way to a 55-44 victory in their hard-fought Division II-North duel at the Tigersâ Donaldson Gymnasium.
CUMBERLAND â The best wrestling dual-meets build slowly, bout by bout, to a crescendo. Each match is important. Results in the earlier bouts lay the foundation for dramatic outcomes late in the contest.
Thatâs what happened on Wednesday night at The Wellness Center when an estimated 400 mat-crazy spectators watched Rhode Islandâs only two unbeaten Division I dual-meet teams square off. Cumberland, carrying the burden of a 52-match winning streak nearly three years old, hosted a 13-0 Bishop Hendricken team most experts gave a slight advantage heading into this showdown.
PAWTUCKET â Tom âSaarâ Sorrentine has been around the coaching block enough times to know that making adjustments goes with the territory. With his St. Raphael Academy outfit having dropped two of its previous three games heading into Tuesday nightâs contest with Coventry, Sorrentine was more than justified in his desire to shake things up.
LINCOLN â There are wins and there are BIG wins.
For Davies Tech, this one has to be listed under the latter category.
With their playoff fate in Division III more than likely being determined in the final week of the league season, the Patriots scored a crucial victory over North Smithfield on Tuesday night by eking out a thrilling 37-36 decision on their home court. Sophomore Waleska Kelly fueled a total team effort by Davies, netting 12 points along with nine rebounds, seven steals and six blocks.
How important was this triumph for Davies?
âItâs not about this week,â Tolman High basketball coach Mike Kayata was saying on Monday. âItâs about having your team ready when the playoffs begin.â
Kayata was just voicing the sentiments of most area coaches who are priming their teams for the state open tournament that is scheduled to begin on Feb. 24. A field of 32 teams will begin play that night. Tolman High, just 6-7 in Division II right now, hasnât even reached the eight-win qualifying standard yet.
Steve Gordon has been coaching Cumberland Highâs wrestling program since time began. Well, not quite. Just since he got the program started back in 1969. Thatâs 43 years, if youâre counting.
The 70-year-old coach spent many of those early years trying to build his program from the ground floor up, creating a wrestling community in Cumberland, one or two parents at a time, that formed the foundation for his program.
Gordon learned a lot from the Coventry High School wrestling program, a dynasty that produced 17 straight state championship teams between 1982-98.
PROVIDENCE â There are times that Ed Cooley must feel like heâs being pulled in a thousand directions.
On one hand, Cooley is trying to build a program befitting of his workmanlike image. In order to accomplish that, the first-year PC head coach needs players that compliment this ideal. Based on the buzz surrounding one of the nationâs most talked about recruiting classes, Cooley has allowed Friar fans to dream big about what the future may hold.
PAWTUCKET â East Providenceâs 2-0 victory over previously undefeated Johnston/North Providence was definitely the big news in Division III over the weekend.
âSurprised?â Tolman coach Steve Reynolds said, repeating a question on Sunday morning, 12 hours after his team completed a 10-0 romp over Warwick Veterans. âA little bit. But East Providence is a very good defensive team and they are physical. Plus, itâs tough to go undefeated for the whole season.â
PROVIDENCE â Five additional minutes seemed like a risky proposition for the Providence Friars. Turns out it was.
The final verdict, an 87-84 nail-biter in West Virginiaâs favor, only re-opened the wound regarding how PC let Sundayâs Big East contest slip away. Missed free throws coupled with an inability to snatch rebounds on the defensive end were the main culprits. The two bugaboos came back to bite the home team hard when Mountaineers senior Daryl âTruckâ Bryant calmly and coolly splashed in a 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining in OT, breaking what was a 84-84 affair.
PAWTUCKET â Friday night saw North Kingstown lay out a blueprint that took St. Raphael Academy far away from its comfort zone. Time will tell if the Saints will be able to react with a counterpunch that places them back in the realm set aside for championship contenders.
WOONSOCKET --- Pilgrim didnât win the battle of numbers on Friday night, but the Patriots won a very big game against Cumberland, a âWâ that vaulted them over the Clippers and into first place in the Division II-North standings.
Senior center Cody Weaverâs second goal of the game with 2:14 to play in the game lifted the visiting Patriots to a hard-fought 3-2 triumph in a battle of two shorthanded teams at Adelard Arena.
PAWTUCKET â The look on the face of Burrillville High coach Lindsay Rachlow said it all. She wasnât out there with her players during Friday nightâs Division II-North contest with Tolman, but she certainly showed the exhaustion of playing a fierce battle with the Tigers.
It was a battle that her Broncos managed to win, eking out a 48-47 victory over Tolman before its typically-loud fan base at the Donaldson Gymnasium.
PAWTUCKET â The past 15 months have felt like 15 years to Pete Jeffrey.
Itâs been 15 long months since the veteran lightweight and the co-owner of Tri-Force MMA in Pawtucket has stepped into the octagon for a fight, and the last time fans saw him in action, on Sept. 17, 2010, he electrified a sellout crowd at the Twin River Event Center by recording a huge third-round TKO of previously-undefeated Saul âThe Spiderâ Almeida.