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.