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WARWICK â Lincoln High is young this season with more than half of its roster consisting of freshmen and sophomores.
According to head coach James Riel, the one thing the Lions do have in their favor is depth.
While Lincoln may still struggle somewhat against the upper-echelon of teams in Division I, Riel envisions his squad being competitive against its other rivals.
The Lions gave evidence of that the past two games.
WARWICK â It was another win for Cumberland High, its sixth straight without a defeat.
But after his Clippers blanked Division III foe Mount Hope, 2-0, in the second game of the Toll Gate Holiday Tournament at Thayer Arena, CHS head coach Mark Andreozzi wasnât exactly singing praise about his squad.
Some RIIL history was made last March when the Johnston/North Providence team became the first co-op club to win a state championship, doing so when it swept defending champ Mount Hope in their best-of-three Division III title series.
While Johnston/North Providenceâs championship didnât come as much as a surprise -- the team was 14-1-1 during the regular season and the top seed in the playoffs -- it was a bit shocking to see a boysâ co-op squad capture a state crown before a girlsâ team.
PAWTUCKET â For about 15 minutes in the first half of Friday nightâs game, St. Raphael Academy looked every bit like the defending state championship team that it is, sprinting out to a 39-22 lead over a solid East Providence team that seemed troubled by the speed of the contest.
The Saints built their biggest lead of the night at 60-33, then watched a never-quit East Providence almost get back into the game with a 21-7 run.
At the final horn, the Saints walked off with a 72-56 victory that left head coach Tom Sorrentine shaking his head.
At this stage of baseballâs offseason, the headlines are typically reserved for the big-ticket acquisition and the occasional blockbuster trade.
Behind that glitzy curtain is where youâll find new Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett. His mission is to replenish the upper levels of the farm system with players who will hold down the fort in Triple-A Pawtucket, ready to contribute if injury besets one of the major-league starters.
Looking back on the 2011 sports year, my most vivid memories relate to a Shea High boys soccer team that dazzled opponents with its talent, ball skills and exuberance for the sport.
The Raiders made soccer fun to watch, even for a traditional sports fan like myself who is more attuned to football than âfutbol.â
PAWTUCKET â Make no mistake: Tolman made Shea earn its 60-55 victory Tuesday night at the Donaldson Gymnasium.
The Raiders were the dominant club for much of the way, building a 32-23 lead at halftime before going ahead by 17 points with eight minutes remaining. Thatâs when Tolman head coach Mike Kayata decided to switch defenses from man-to-man to a matchup zone that allowed the home team to make a spirited charge.
WOONSOCKET -- The senior class is one of its smallest in a number of years.
The number of players that graduated from last seasonâs Division II-North championship club, including six of the top eight scorers and one of the finest goaltenders in the teamâs history, was one of its largest.
And several players who are featured in key positions have little or no varsity experience.
But despite all this, Cumberland has been the talk of the division and the areaâs only team with a â0â in the loss column.
LINCOLN â Joe Handy has been coaching long enough to know that when you take over a program for the first time the transition period isnât always going to be easy. With a new coach and a new system, itâs not always going to be smooth.
In his first year at Davies Tech after two decades at Central Falls, including 10 as the head coach, Handy experienced one of those lumps on Monday.
PAWTUCKET â Defending Division III state champion Johnston/North Providence left Lynch Arena on Saturday night knowing that it has a fight on its hands the rest of this season with Tolman.
The upstart Tigers gave the JNP Co-Op squad all it could handle before losing 6-5 in overtime on a breakaway goal by Jon Alsfeld.
PROVIDENCE â He could have blamed fatigue from the basketball game the night before and the early-morning practice the next day.
He could have blamed the different footwear, a pair of spikes that were more than a full size smaller. He could have even blamed his lack of practice, which is none since last June.
WILLIMANTIC, Ct. â Cumberland High walked away with the team championship at Saturdayâs Lancer Invitational, crowning two individual champions and seeing a third wrestler, Erik Travers, have victory stolen away from him by some sloppy officiating.
Jon Maccini (138) and Tom Lacroix (195) claimed individual titles for the Clippers, who accumulated 220 team points to run away with the title over runnerup Southington (Ct.), which took second place with 166 points.
PAWTUCKET â Mike Kinch must consider Lynch Arena his home ice.
The Cumberland High senior, whose family has strong ties to Pawtucket, led the Clippers to a 5-2 victory over the SRA-PCD-Wheeler Co-Op team on Saturday night by scoring two goals and assisting on another.
âMikeâs a strong player who skates well and has a good shot,â Cumberland coach Mark Andreozzi said after the game. Kinch now has six goals and nine assists on the season, putting him near the top of the state in points scored.
NORTH PROVIDENCE â A horrendous start to the second half doomed Tolman High on Friday night.
North Providenceâs fast-breaking attack seized control of the Division II opener for both sides thanks to rattling off 14 straight points to begin the second stanza. The surge paid off handsomely for the host Cougars, who would go on to win by a 64-54 count.
Tolman junior Juan Velez led all scorers with 23 points while classmate Jonathan Percy ruled down low with 17 points. The scoring dropped off considerably as the next high man for the Tigers was Mamour Samb, who finished with eight points.
WARWICK â With his own special and unique brand of tough love, Ed Cooley consistently relays to suspended forward Kadeem Batts that he let the entire Providence College basketball program down.
âI let him know about it every single day by saying âThanks Kadeem, thanks,ââ said the PC coach on Thursday at the Radisson Hotel, site of the first Cox Sports R.I. Basketball Media Luncheon of the season. âWe donât hide anything.â
Hereâs a look at the early state of affairs in hockeyâs three divisions âŠ
For most teams, a 1-2 start to a season usually doesnât mean much. For Mount St. Charles fans, MSCâs 1-2 start has some of them reaching for the panic button, especially since the four-time defending champions havenât began a Division I campaign with that mark since the mid-1970s.
Of course, two of their defeats have come to La Salle, which so far, looks like the team to beat. The Rams are 4-0, have outscored their opponents 27-4, and boast the divisionâs top three scorers.
âEveryone has to be ready. Everyone is in the same boat.â
Those words, echoed by East Providence head coach Alex Butler, shall serve as the equivalent to ringing the opening bell on Wall Street. Tonight will see the curtain raised on league play, which with the expansion of the open tournament and the doing away (at least for this season) of the division tournaments, has taken on even greater emphasis.
PAWTUCKET â Short jumpers, three-pointers, lay-ups. It didnât matter. No matter what North Smithfield tossed up in its Division III matchup with host Shea on Tuesday night, nothing seemed to fall.
When you are inside the small and always-boisterous confines of âThe Cageâ against a Raider defense that always seems to play their opponents tough, victories are hard to come by when youâre having an off-night from the field.
Chris Iannettaâs âGet Out of Jail Freeâ card arrived two weeks ago when the St. Raphael Academy alumnus was acquired by the Los Angeles Angels to be their everyday catcher.
Relocating from the Rocky Mountains that adorn Colorado to sun-splashed Southern California has already reaped one major benefit for the 28-year-old. Keep in mind that Iannetta has yet to suit up for his new manager, but that didnât stop Mike Scioscia from lavishing praise upon his new catcher during last weekâs winter meetings.
PROVIDENCE â The wins havenât exactly come against Murderersâ Row. Certainly thatâs food for thought with the Providence Friars in the midst of a 10-day exam period, Ed Cooleyâs first PC team standing at 9-2.