Archive - Sports Article
March 4th, 2012
PROVIDENCE â Those who are driven to excel fully understand the magnitude of qualifying for the New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championships.
With that qualification comes an expectation of success, and â when it doesn't come â the hurt runs remarkably deep.
PAWTUCKET -- Tolman scored three power-play goals in the first 10:07 of play and never looked back on Friday night as the Tigers skated to an easy 9-3 win over Scituate in Game 1 of their best-of-three Division III quarterfinal-round series at Lynch Arena.
The third-seeded Tigers (13-4) will try to sweep the sixth-seeded Spartans (5-11-1) tonight when the series resumes at 7 p.m. at the Smithfield Ice Rink.
PROVIDENCE â In the person of Carl LaBranche, the R.I. Interscholastic League and Providence College benefited from having an ace in the hole.
The underlying reason why PCâs venerable Alumni Hall gym is the site for Sundayâs âElite Eightâ round of the open state tournament is due to the communication and negotiating skills tapped by LaBranche in harmonizing this project. With this Pawtucket native (Tolman High School Class of 1970) serving as the point man, LaBrancheâs vision of opening Alumni Hallâs doors to the stateâs high school basketball sector became a reality.
SMITHFIELD â Thursday night on the Bryant University campus saw St. Raphael meet its maker in the form of a deep-scoring Classical team, something the Saints desperately tried to evolve into over the course of the 2011-12 season.
Alas, it never materialized. The Saintsâ 69-61 loss in the âSweet 16â round of the open state tournament served as one final reminder of what can happen when a team puts multiple scoring threats on the floor simultaneously. Thatâs exactly what the upstarts from Classical did by placed four players in double figures led by 26 points from Ismael Batista.
SMITHFIELD â St. Raphael Academyâs reign as defending state champs has come to an end â an abrupt one at that.
It was Classical springing the upset Thursday night at Bryant Universityâs Chace Athletic Center, the 13th-seeded Purple receiving multiple contributions up and down the lineup in a 69-61 âRound of 16â victory over the Saints. Classicalâs Ismael Batista was virtually unstoppable in second half where he netted 16 of his 26 points. Charles Correa led SRA with 26 points on six 3-pointers.
PHILADELPHIA â Pawtucketâs Brittany Wilson, a junior guard on the La Salle University womenâs basketball team, recently earned a spot on the Atlantic 10 All-Conference team as a Third Team All-Conference pick.
Wilson has helped power La Salle to its best Atlantic 10 season since the 2006-07 season. The Explorers went 7-7 in league play and earned its second straight Atlantic 10 Tournament berth and the No. 8 seed in this weekend's tournament.
Three months of regular-season games have now boiled down to three weeks of state tournament action.
And for five of the six Blackstone Valley teams that qualified for the playoffs, the âsecond seasonâ commences tonight at arenas throughout the state.
While the opening weekend of the postseason had long been reserved for the quarterfinal-round series, that wonât be the case this winter in the new State Championship playoffs, which along with the Division I tourney, jumps right into its semifinals this weekend.
NORTH SMITHFIELD â After a rather sloppy initial half, one in which it registered 15 turnovers and had serious issues netting a bucket, North Smithfield High head coach Alisha Brannon took her troops aside and told them simply to calm down and think.
âBasically, we have a tendency to rush on offense, and the first half was a classic example,â she said. âThey try to pass too quickly or dribble past (defenders). At halftime, I told them to quit rushing and spread the floor.
WARWICK â There were a few critical reasons why Shea High suffered a disappointing 63-52 loss to Rogers High in the R.I. Open Tournament's âRound of 16â at the Community College of Rhode Island-Warwick's Vincent A. Cullen Field House on Tuesday night.
Heart and will weren't among them.
Instead, the eighth-seeded Raiders issued 19 turnovers, including eight in the initial seven minutes of the final stanza, and dropped only 13 of 21 free throws (61.9 percent), as they closed their campaign at 18-6 overall.
PROVIDENCE â In preparation for Tuesdayâs game against the Jim Calhoun-less UConn Huskies, Ed Cooley took his club to the movies. The screening didnât include popcorn and soda, rather visual evidence to demonstrate just how far Cooleyâs PC Friars have come from a mediocre showing in an exhibition game to this past weekendâs last-second escape job at DePaul.
PROVIDENCE â Itâs just not the players who burn with desire, clamoring to face the very best. Coaches too relish the opportunity to match wits and strategies whenever thereâs a noted leader of the pack residing in the opposite corner.
When it comes to predicting who will play for the three state championships on March 10 at the Ryan Center, it shouldnât take a lot of thought.
In Division I, all signs point to the two unbeaten teams, defending champion La Salle and rival Bay View. In Division II, you can take your pick among the Northâs Moses Brown (17-1) and the Southâs Narragansett and Rogers (each 16-2), and in Division III, unbeaten Juanita Sanchez and defending champ Middletown (16-3) are the clear-cut favorites.
Call it a case of good things happening to good people. Realistically, perhaps we should step back, take a big-picture view, and draw the conclusion that Mike Roose is so adept at his chosen profession that no one should be shocked by the Cumberland nativeâs meteoric rise through the Boston Red Soxâs player support chain.
PROVIDENCE â When the final second ticked off the clock in the 195-pound championship final, Cumberland High senior grappler Tom LaCroix broke free of his opponent's last-ditch clutch, leaped into the air and pumped his fist in jubilation.
His teammates, most of whom were on the mat's borders anxiously watching, immediately mobbed veteran head coach Steve Gordon, then did the same to LaCroix.
WARWICK â Tolman head coach Mike Kayata didnât mince words when asked about how Bishop Hendricken transformed a one-point halftime lead into a 63-42 final Saturday night. Simply put the Hawks were cooking with gas while the Tigers, who with the loss were eliminated from the open state tournament, were just trying to stay afloat.
âThey exploited us,â Kayata deadpanned.
KINGSTON â Cumberland High junior Courtney Kent explained Saturday afternoon that she hadnât really âtaperedâ for these R.I. Interscholastic Swimming Championships.
In essence, that just means she hadnât cut down on the amount of practice yardage she swims day-in and day-out as a member of Crimson Aquatics, based out of Cambridge. A slice in distance, a swimmer always hopes, results in faster times due to the bodyâs ability to recuperate.
PAWTUCKET â To borrow from the office supply story Staples, âThat was easy.â
Almost too easy if youâre Shea High, which in its playoff opener rolled to a 84-50 final at the expense of an overmatched Johnston High squad Friday night at âThe Cage.â The 34-point drubbing vaults Shea, the No. 8 seed in the 30-team open state tournament, into the Round of 16 on Tuesday night at CCRI-Warwick. There the Raiders will face Rogers, which defeated Middletown, 69-43.
PAWTUCKET â Tom âSaarâ Sorrentine had just watched his St. Raphael outfit stifle playoff foe Narragansett High, displaying LoJack tendencies in a 63-29 blowout Friday night at Alumni Hall. Next up for Sorrentine & Co. is a Sweet 16 matchup on the docket for Wednesday night at Bryant University against the survivor of Smithfield-Classical, two Division I squads set to do battle Saturday night in Providence.
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 weekendâs 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 âSaarâ Sorrentine.