Archive - Sports Article
February 23rd, 2012
The unknown variable pertaining to the 30-team boysâ€™ basketball open state tournament is a mystery no more.
On Thursday the Interscholastic League released where the corresponding regions will be heading for the Round of 16 should they safely navigate out of this weekendâ€™s first-round slate of games. The North region will dock at CCRI-Warwick next Tuesday; the South region will play out at Bryant University next Tuesday; the East region heads to Bryant University next Wednesday; the West region is set for next Wednesday at CCRI-Warwick.
PAWTUCKET â€“ As players and members of the St. Raphael basketball family sat in the film room of Alumni Hall, enjoying pizza and soda while viewing Cox Sportsâ€™ presentation of the unveiling of the brackets of the 30-team open state tournament, a feeling of uneasiness engulfed head coach Tom â€śSaarâ€ť Sorrentine.
EAST PROVIDENCE â€“ And so, Alex Butler and his East Providence High squad was left with this: With nothing left to play for other than pride and principle, the Townies played free and easy Wednesday night while at the same time providing defending state champion St. Raphael Academy with all sorts of fits.
By no means did E.P. run away from the challenge at hand. The Townies stood toe-to-toe with the defending champs until the very end of an eventual 58-55 Saints win that demonstrated to Butler that his team was not ready to enjoy the rest of its February vacation.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Tuesdayâ€™s clash pitting combatants North Providence and Shea was one of those back and forth, knock down, drag out affairs that you couldn't take your eyes off, and for the longest time it seemed and felt like the game could go either way.
Despite the stakes being high â€“ the regular-season division title was on the line at â€śThe Cageâ€ť â€“ both head coaches, N.P.â€™s Paul Rizzo and Matt Pita of Shea, took a moment at 6:57 of the second half to engage in some playful ribbing.
CENTRAL FALLS â€” Just a minute before he and his troops began walking toward the door for a celebratory bus ride home, Cumberland High head coach Gary Reedy was told that this Division II-North clash against host Central Falls High ended with a combined 45 personal fouls and 39 turnovers.
WARWICK â€” Those reports on Cumberlandâ€™s demise down the stretch have been greatly exaggerated.
The Clippers put the clamps on a four-game winless streak in a very big way on Monday afternoon by beating the team they are battling for second place in the Division II-North ranks, Pilgrim.
Andrew Dulac and Michael Kinch supplied the early scoring and goaltender Patrick Noke turned away 27 shots to lead the Clippers to a much-needed 2-0 victory at Thayer Arena.
PROVIDENCE â€” Steven Vazquez came, he saw, he conquered.
The indoor high jump state title â€“ one that prior to Saturday's R.I. Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Providence Career & Technical Academy field house could be described as elusive â€“ is now the property of the Central Falls senior.
He posted a winning leap of 6 feet, 8 inches, one actually equaled by his chief rival, Divon Bailey of Rogers. The tale of how Vazquez ultimately struck gold was based on pure technicality with the C.F. jumper hitting the bar fewer times than his counterpart during the final showdown.
In NCAA Tournament speak, Selection Sunday is a day for fist clenching as teams wait on hands and knees to see if they made it or were denied admittance. Taking a page from how the field of 68 is unveiled to the viewing public, the Interscholastic League plans to replicate at least some of the drama by conducting a live broadcast of the releasing of boysâ€™ basketball tournament pairings.
PROVIDENCE â€“ Hoya Destroya, indeed.
A Georgetown team that figures to be a tough out come NCAA Tournament time slowed the Providence College Friars to a virtual crawl Saturday night in a 63-53 Hoya win that wasnâ€™t even as close as the final score indicates. PC shot 25.9 percent for the game after compiling a 4-for-28 horror show in the first half. Such a frigid display made the task of trying to shock the 10th-ranked team in the country even more of a tall order, one that PC coach Ed Cooley openly acknowledged during his postgame meeting with the press.
WARWICK â€“ Nearly two weeks have elapsed since Will Blackmon found himself engulfed in a sea of confetti at Lucas Oil Stadium, the first true sign that the Providence native was officially a Super Bowl champion.
Needless to say, the feeling associated with â€śGiants 21, Patriots 17â€ť is one that hasnâ€™t completely sunk in, at least not right now. Blackmon appeared at a rally at his old high school Thursday, the Bishop Hendricken student body and faculty packing the gym to catch a glimpse of the newly minted champ.
PROVIDENCE â€” Ed Cooley claims he had no idea that Wednesdayâ€™s loss at Cincinnati resulted in his Providence Friars dipping below .500 for the first time this season.
â€śTo be honest with you, I didnâ€™t even know that,â€ť Cooley said after this reporter informed him of the news Friday, one day before PC welcomes 10th-ranked Georgetown to The Dunk Saturday night. In the same breath Cooley added, â€śIf you worry about your record, then youâ€™re not concentrating on the right things.â€ť
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.