CUMBERLAND â€” It wasnâ€™t even close to being an attractive contest, not with a combined 28 turnovers and 27 personal fouls.
Still, head coach Gary Reedy refused to complain after his Cumberland High boys registered what he called a satisfying 53-40 non-league triumph over Toll Gate at The Wellness Center on Monday night.
â€śNo, it wasnâ€™t pretty, but at times we moved the ball very well,â€ť he said after his club moved to 2-2 overall. â€śWe had some possessions where the ball didnâ€™t hit the floor. There were other times we had our issues, but weâ€™re a young, inexperienced team. We donâ€™t have any returning starters, and the most significant time we had coming back was (senior co-captain and guard) Grant Osmundson.
â€śBrandon Kolekâ€™s only a freshman, and Tyler Calabro is a junior, as is Nick Poli,â€ť he added. â€śItâ€™s going to take some time for us to jell. Now that theyâ€™ve played four games, itâ€™s time for us to push them a little harder. Theyâ€™ll have to be a little more accountable for their mistakes.â€ť
Poli, a junior guard, led the Clippers with 14 points and five assists, while Osmundson closed with 10 points before fouling out with 1:51 left in regulation.
Other key contributors included fellow senior co-captain and center/forward swing Ryan Cotter, who posted six points, 11 rebounds and three steals; Calabro (eight points, three assists, two thefts); Kolek (nine boards, six points); and senior guard Chris Gomes (five points with a trey).
For the Titans (0-4 overall), no one reached double figures, though senior captain Zach Bacon and junior center Adam Brice both finished with a team-high points.
Sophomore Kyle McGuire managed eight, while senior forward Jake Johnson drained two three-pointers for six.
Just 2:12 into the opening stanza, Cumberland had already taken a 6-0 lead on a pair of low-post hooks by Calabro and Cotter and Osmundson layup, and it pushed the lead to 10-1 on Cotterâ€™s layin with 11:53 remaining.
Over the next 8:34, however, the Warwick school rallied to slice the deficit to 16-12, courtesy of an igniting trey from Johnson and Baconâ€™s layup off a turnover with 3:19 left.
The Clippers quickly responded with a 7-0 surge in 1:54, and it ended on Calabroâ€™s putback at 1:25.
Kellerâ€™s trifecta with 55 ticks left and Briceâ€™s 15-foot jumper at the buzzer knifed the score to 23-17 at halftime.
Osmundson opened the final session with a trey, but Calabro picked up his third foul only 96 seconds into it. Three minutes later, Osmundson suffered the same fate, though Calabroâ€™s easy bucket off a turnover with 6:54 remaining gave the Clippers its largest lead of the contest at 37-23.
A mere 1:18 later, McGuire fired home a three-pointer before taking a pretty Bacon pass to the rim to cut the lead to 39-33.
But Gomes landed a trey and Poli a pair of traditional three-point plays in the span of 1:02 as Reedyâ€™s bunch rebuilt its lead to 15 (48-33) with 2:58 left. Johnsonâ€™s second bomb nine ticks later cut it back to 12, and junior forward Bert Yu knocked down a left-handed hook with 1:31 remaining to slice it to 50-40.
Three Titans fouls later, not to mention three of four baskets from the charity stripe, Cumberland strolled off the floor with its second win of the still-young campaign.
â€śI was most pleased with our passing,â€ť Reedy noted afterward. â€śWe still need to work on our rebounding, but I thought we handled their pressure pretty well.â€ť
Next up for the Clippers: They will take on rival Woonsocket in the 41st annual Boys & Girls Club of Cumberland/Lincoln Holiday Classic at this same site on Thursday night at 7:30. Before that tilt, Tolman will face Lincoln at 6.