Archive - Sports Article
February 2nd, 2012
PAWTUCKET â€” The past 15 months have felt like 15 years to Pete Jeffrey.
Itâ€™s 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 â€śThe Spiderâ€ť Almeida.
Division II might be the most interesting basketball league in the state. Too bad the Interscholastic League picked this year to drop division tournaments in favor of one open tourney to culminate the hoops season.
Take a look at Division II right now. Rogers High of Newport and West Warwick lead the way with identical 11-1 records. Rogers walloped the Wizards 64-41 on Wednesday night. The Vikingsâ€™ only loss this season came at the hands of a Shea High squad that is 9-3 and just added a 6-foot-6 center to its lineup.
PROVIDENCE â€“ How do you cure those Friar blues? Answer: a visit from the Scarlet Knights.
Despite playing two very uneven halves Wednesday night, Providence was able to secure a rare Big East triumph at the expense of Rutgers, 78-67. The win snaps a four-game losing streak for the Friars, who placed five players in double figures led by strong performances from Bilal Dixon (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Vincent Council (11 points, 14 assists).
â€śI thought today was our day,â€ť said a clearly-relieved Ed Cooley, his Friars now 2-8 in the league and 13-10 overall.
PAWTUCKET â€“ If Mike Tamburro were to take a page from late night talk show David Letterman and compose a top 10 list based exclusively on all the achievements and accolades bestowed upon him over the years, chances are the exercise would tug at the heart of the team president of the Pawtucket Red Sox.
CUMBERLAND --- Shea coach Matt Pita got exactly what he wanted from his ballclub on Tuesday night â€“ 32 minutes of smart basketball â€“ and because of that, his Raiders picked up a surprisingly-lopsided victory over Cumberland.
Six-foot-six center Michael Neal produced a game-high 15 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocked shots to power a balanced scoring assault by the Raiders and help them bus home with a resounding 77-46 triumph at the Clippersâ€™ Wellness Center.
The next time you visit Youtube.com, do yourself a favor and type in â€śWill Blackmon Recovery.â€ť The segment is only 10 minutes in length and offers terrific insight into someone whoâ€™s been repeatedly knocked down throughout his six-years-and-counting NFL odyssey, only to refuse to stay down for the count.
CENTRAL FALLS â€“ Call them the Iron Five. They are Tolmanâ€™s Justin Zetina, Napoleon Johnson, Mamour Samb, Jonathan Percy and Brandon Gagne, a group of Tigers who played every minute of Tuesdayâ€™s important Division II clash with Central Falls.
With suspensions forcing head coach Mike Kayata to shrink his playing rotation, the Tigers rode the same cast of the players from the opening tip to the final buzzer. Tolman gutted out a much-needed 65-53 win on C.F.â€™s home floor, one that signaled the end of a four-game losing streak for the Tigers.
Two high school hoops games stand out above the rest tonight. And theyâ€™re both Division II crossover contests.
Tolman, 4-7 with seven games left in the regular season, visits Central Falls (6-5) in the first meaningful game. The Tigers seek to end a four-game losing streak that has jeopardized their playoff hopes. Those hopes were not helped on Monday when leading scorer Juan Velez (20.8 points per game) and starting forward Seny Samb, a solid defensive player, were suspended for violating school disciplinary rules.
CUMBERLAND â€” After surviving a staph infection scare that shut down the Cumberland High wrestling program for a week, the Clippers return to the mat this week for a pair of tough matches with La Salle Academy and Cranston West.
â€śEvery match we have from here on out is going to be tough,â€ť Cumberland coach Steve Gordon admitted on Monday. â€śNext week, we host unbeaten Hendricken and the week after that we visit Warwick Veterans. Both of those teams are state title contenders.â€ť
Gordon is just happy to have his team wrestling again.
Why not Jose Iglesias?
More than a week has gone by since the Red Sox traded shortstop Marco Scutaro. The exchange with Colorado marked the second time this offseason that general manager/budget balancer Ben Cherington has shipped away a potential starting shortstop, last monthâ€™s Jed Lowrie-to-Houston swap officially re-catalogued as the first domino to fall.
PAWTUCKET â€” Brandon Speight popped in a pair of first-period goals on Sunday afternoon to lead Tolman past Scituate 4-0 in a makeup game played at Lynch Arena and the third contest in a 48-hour span for the Tigers.
Kody Casavant and Jared Pedro finished the scoring for Tolman with second-period goals, and goaltender Stephane Meunier stopped 19 shots for his fourth shutout of the season.
Tolman improved to 7-4 in Division III with an overtime loss to unbeaten Johnston/North Providence on its ledger. Those 15 points place the Tigers second in the division behind JNP (10-0-0).
WOONSOCKET --- Tolman sure didnâ€™t look like a team that hadnâ€™t played a game in 21 days on Friday night.
The Tigers, who received three-goal games from Kody Casavant and Jared Pedro, scored five goals in the first 10 minutes of play and cruised to a 10-1 win over winless Woonsocket in their Division III matchup at Adelard Arena.
The Tigers, who improved to 6-3, also received a pair of assists from Kevin Tracey and Casavant, who currently leads the league in scoring with 19 goals and 10 assists.
PAWTUCKET --- At halftime, this has all the makings of an impressive blowout victory by Shea over a quality Division II-South opponent.
But when the Raidersâ€™ win over Westerly on Friday night was in the books, they found themselves holding on for a too-close-for-comfort triumph.
Ahead by a cool 20 points at the break, the visiting Bulldogs found a way to battle back and slice their deficit to five points with 5:06 to play and four on three occasions before busing home on the wrong end on a 77-74 verdict before a packed gym.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Living on the edge finally caught up with St. Raphael Academy on Friday night.
A deep and determined La Salle squad became the first Rhode Island-based squad to knock off SRA this season as the Rams grinded out a 74-69 double-overtime triumph before an enthusiastic throng of followers at Alumni Hall. Two of La Salleâ€™s primary catalysts were reserves Michael Clark and Dexter Thompson, the pair combining to score all but three of the 15 points the visitors managed between the two extra sessions.
WOONSOCKET â€“ On a night in which she was honored for scoring her 1,000 career point earlier this season, senior Kailey Fugere and the rest of her Woonsocket High teammates cooled off a resurging St. Raphael Academy program Friday night with a 41-36 decision at Savaria Gymnasium.
Fugere, who was recognized for her milestone during a halftime ceremony, finished with 17 points. The game was hardly the Villa Novans best effort, however, as St. Rayâ€™s overcame a 14-point deficit before the break and made their host sweat it out until the final buzzer.
If the shaky futures of the Tolman and Woonsocket hockey teams didnâ€™t need to receive any additional bad news, they indirectly got some at Monday nightâ€™s meeting of the R.I. Interscholastic Leagueâ€™s Principalsâ€™ Committee on Athletics in Providence.
Among the developments that transpired during this session was the matter of extending the periods in Division III, as well as girlsâ€™ hockey, from 12 to 15 minutes. This was put to a vote and narrowly (and surprisingly) approved by a 6-to-5 vote.
LINCOLN â€“ Head coach Tom Diiorio doesnâ€™t care too much about dual-meet records. When it comes to his Lincoln High boysâ€™ and girlsâ€™ teams, his main concern is that his athletes are swimming well with a fair share of them qualifying for next monthâ€™s state championships.
Both those objectives are being met this season.
NORTH SMITHFIELD â€“ In a very-competitive Division III this season, North Smithfield and Shea are among a crowded bunch that will be fighting for the four playoff spots.
Even though the postseason is still more than a month away, there was a playoff-type atmosphere taking place on Wednesday night when the two teams collided at Lovett Gymnasium.
CUMBERLAND â€“ Every game is important for head coach Gary Reedy and his Cumberland High squad, but Tuesdayâ€™s Division II crossover matchup with host Barrington could have been listed under the must-win category.
The Clippers and Eagles each went into the contest with matching 6-3 league marks, putting them just two victories away from a berth in the open state tournament in March. For Cumberland, it also has the strongest part of its schedule the remaining eight games so a win would certainly give it some added momentum.
PROVIDENCE â€” Realigning the stateâ€™s high school football landscape wasnâ€™t the only matter discussed at Mondayâ€™s meeting of the Interscholastic Leagueâ€™s Principalsâ€™ Committee on Athletics (PCOA). Below are a handful of noteworthy developments that came about during the 90-minute open session.
â€“ In boysâ€™ soccer, the PCOA unanimously approved an alignment for the 2012 and 2013 seasons that results in Tolman and Woonsocket moving up to Division I. The Villa Novans competed in Division I as recent as 2009, while the Tigers have predominantly resided in Division II.