CUMBERLAND -- Tonight marks the beginning of the best 10-day stretch in Rhode Island wrestling this year. It starts with a battle between two unbeaten high school programs. Defending state champion Cumberland will host 2010 runnerup Warwick Veterans tonight at The Wellness Center with the regular season dual-meet title at stake.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Tolman High faces a serious challenge in its final four regular season games, meeting a 12-1-0 Johnston/North Providence team and a defensive-oriented East Providence (6-5-0) team that sits right behind the Tigers in the Division III standings. Tolman (8-4-0) faces both contenders twice.
â€śWeâ€™ve lost two games to Mount Hope (10-2-1) and twice to Cranston East (8-3-1),â€ť Tolman coach Steve Reynolds pointed out. â€śWeâ€™ve beat the teams we should have beat but now we have to finish our season against two good playoff teams.â€ť
PAWTUCKET â€” After dodging knockout punches for most of the night, Shea delivered one of its own in overtime during its showdown with Central Falls on Monday night.
Junior guard and tri-captain Malik Moody scored eight of his game-high 20 points in the four-minute OT session to help the Raiders grab a 64-58 win over their neighboring foes before a packed house at â€śThe Cageâ€ť in the two sidesâ€™ Division II regular-season finale.
Thereâ€™s never too little to write about when it comes to the Blackstone Valley region and the indoor track & field state championships.
This weekendâ€™s meet, however, may border on the ridiculous. In fact, when it comes to its conclusion roughly four hours after its early 10 oâ€™clock start on Saturday morning, thereâ€™s a good chance Iâ€™ll develop a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Based on their last two games, it seems St. Raphael Academy and North Smithfield are two evenly matched hockey teams.
The Saints avenged a 5-3 loss to the Northmen two weekends ago with a 5-4 victory on Saturday night at Lynch Arena. SRA improved to 3-11 in Division II-North with the win while the Northmen fell to 3-12. Neither team will qualify for the playoffs.
PAWTUCKET â€“ After a close first half with Division II-North rival Lincoln High on Friday night, Tolman after the break and cruised to a 64-37 win on Senior Night at the Donaldson Gymnasium.
The Tigers held a scant 23-21 lead over the Lions at halftime. Spurred by a strong bench and senior teammates Eli Wiggins and Jeremy Graca, Tolman essentially put the game out of reach by opening the latter half with a dominating 22-6 run.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Tom â€śSaarâ€ť Sorrentine will be the first to inform you that his St. Raphael club has been struggling lately, particularly on the defensive end. His concerns reflect the recent turn of events, as SRA entered Fridayâ€™s clash with playoff-starved East Providence High in fourth place in the Division I standings after beginning the week in first.
CENTRAL FALLS â€“ The moment has been building towards this crescendo of curiosity. After all, when the interview subject is articulating freely about his high jump prowess and is standing roughly 100 feet away from a basket in the school gym, inquisitive minds yearn.
Can you, Steven Vazquez, dunk a basketball?
â€śYes I can, yes I can,â€ť laughs the junior from Central Falls High, an expression that suggested he knew the question was coming. â€śThe first time I dunked was when I was in eighth grade. It was all of a sudden, coming during gym class. Easily with two hands or one hand.â€ť
PAWTUCKET â€“ Point, meet counterpoint.
In keeping with the spirit of an article that ran in this newspaper on Dec. 14 â€“â€śCould Donaldson, Lynch tourneys be merged?â€ť â€“ Tolman High athletic director John Scanlon earlier this week unveiled a detailed plan of a Blackstone Valley-themed preseason boysâ€™ basketball tournament. The names â€“ the James W. Donaldson Memorial Tournament and the Dennis M. Lynch Tournament â€“ would still be kept, albeit with several interesting caveats.
PAWTUCKET â€” â€śWhat doesnâ€™t kill you makes you stronger.â€ť
St. Raphael Academy is bent on turning one of Nietzscheâ€™s most memorable quotes into a rallying cry, head coach Fred Saunders hopeful that it pays off in the form of a playoff berth. That figures to be a tall order considering the Saints no longer have leading scorer Diandra DaRosa in the fold, but as Saunders noted after a gutsy 38-34 win over a green Ponaganset squad Wednesday night, the show must still go on for St. Raphael.