Archive - Sports Article
February 17th, 2012
PAWTUCKET â€” Minutes before the Division II-Central clash between archrivals Tolman and Shea highs, Tigers coach Mike Kayata seemed even more intense than usual, and that's hard for him.
â€śWe're playing to win this one,â€ť he said as his players warmed up, â€śand the answer is going to be defense. We have to take care of the ball and limit their fast-break points. If we do that, we should be OK. They're tough. They're 13-3 for a reason, and we know that. These guys all know each other, so this is about pride and respect. We just have to take care of the ball.â€ť
LINCOLN â€” Thereâ€™s no room for confusion or interpretation when youâ€™re that sure about something. Make no mistake: Nick Zammarelliâ€™s mind is already made up regarding where he wants to play college baseball.
A junior at Lincoln High, Zammarelli recently announced his intention to attend Division I Elon University, located in North Carolina. To issue a verbal that signifies the acceptance of an athletic scholarship package long before Zammarelli is even eligible to sign a national letter of intent speaks volumes of just how comfortable the player is with the school and vice versa.
PAWTUCKET â€” For a team thatâ€™s been somewhat sidetracked in its pursuit of a high playoff berth, St. Raphael picked the perfect time to have one of its finest games of the season.
Junior Lauren Gaj and sophomore Rybecca Gonzalez teamed up to score 30 points and help the Saints give a strong showing on the boards that paved the way for a key 52-44 triumph over red-hot Lincoln on Wednesday night at the Saintsâ€™ Alumni Hall.
WARWICK â€“ Things were not looking good for Cumberland High three matches into its regular season finale against defending state team tourney champion Warwick Veterans on Wednesday evening.
The Clippers, seeking their 57th consecutive dual-meet victory and third straight unbeaten season, trailed Warwick Vets 15-0. Cumberland needed to make something happen in a hurry and Nick Tribelli answered the call with a stunning pin at 126 pounds.
â€śOnce we got that win from Nick, I knew we had a shot,â€ť Cumberland coach Steve Gordon said after his Clippers rallied for a 44-29 triumph.
LINCOLN â€“ You want to keep fighting the good fight, but sometimes thatâ€™s not nearly enough.
A season littered with frustrating moments continues for Kent Crooks and his Lincoln High squad. The Lions dressed just six players for Tuesday nightâ€™s Division II-Central contest against Shea, the Raiders taking full advantage in a 66-37 runaway performance at The Lionsâ€™ Den.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Tolman Highâ€™s â€śsleeping giantâ€ť of a basketball team is still sleeping.
The Tigers slumbered through the opening eight minutes of Tuesday nightâ€™s clash with Division II-Central leader North Providence, falling behind 27-8 before essentially playing the Cougars even for the rest of the game, finally losing by an 87-72 margin.
North Providence saw a 15-point halftime lead shrink to 10 with 10:30 left in the game. The Cougars hardly blinked. They just took the ball to the basket and got fouled, making 24 of 31 free throws in the game.
A quick check on how several locals are performing at the college level (Editor's note: all stats are current through Sunday, February 12):
A five-game winning streak has Fairfield in the thick of MAAC race with the play of Pawtucket native Rakim Sanders representing a major reason why. Sanders led the Stags with 13 points in Sundayâ€™s 68-51 win against Loyola University while logging a team-best 37 minutes.
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, itâ€™s all about consistency. Whether itâ€™s 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 & fieldâ€™s 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 oneâ€™s chin high cannot be underscored. After all, itâ€™s 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 Highâ€™s Dion Rubio, a star football player who developed into a championship-calibre wrestler over the past four winters, enjoys the mat sport.
â€śItâ€™s really different than football,â€ť 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 Fallsâ€™s biggest win of the year also turned out to be Tolmanâ€™s 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.
Thatâ€™s what happened on Wednesday night at The Wellness Center when an estimated 400 mat-crazy spectators watched Rhode Islandâ€™s 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 â€śSaarâ€ť 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 nightâ€™s 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?
â€śItâ€™s not about this week,â€ť Tolman High basketball coach Mike Kayata was saying on Monday. â€śItâ€™s about having your team ready when the playoffs begin.â€ť
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, hasnâ€™t even reached the eight-win qualifying standard yet.
Steve Gordon has been coaching Cumberland Highâ€™s wrestling program since time began. Well, not quite. Just since he got the program started back in 1969. Thatâ€™s 43 years, if youâ€™re 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.