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PAWTUCKET â€“ Thereâ€™s a reason why Jordy Brito is the undisputed leader of Shea High. The senior is cool under pressure. More importantly, the fast-as-lightning guard is not one to run for cover with the game on the line.
Brito added to his big-game reputation Friday night, sinking a clutch 3-pointer with 1:37 remaining to snap a 60-all deadlock and propel Shea to a 64-62 win against previously undefeated Rogers. Britoâ€™s shot capped off a banner night in which he led all scorers with 22 points to go along with seven assists and four steals -- a pair of numbers that back up the claim up that heâ€™s a well-rounded player.
â€śJordyâ€™s our leader and he played a very smart game,â€ť said Shea head coach Matt Pita, his team now 4-1 in Division II-Central. The Raiders have now won six of their last seven games.
While Britoâ€™s cold-blooded make, one that saw him hoist up an attempt with a Rogers defender applying heavy pressure, was the talk after â€śThe Cageâ€ť cleared out, it wasnâ€™t the deciding basket. This back-and-forth affair saw the Vikings (4-1 Division II-East) answer Britoâ€™s bomb with a 3-point play by Marc Washington, part of a 15-point evening. The sequence tied things up with 1:14 to play.
As Washington and his teammates reveled in the tie, the Raiders quickly brought the ball up. Kenric Carter (12 points) took a feed from Brito and scored with 1:09 flashing on the clock to put the Raiders back up, 62-60. A tip-in by Nathan Lopes, capping off what was a monster second half for the 6-foot-2 junior, extended the lead to four points with 37 ticks remaining.
Washington had a chance to convert his second 3-point opportunity in less than a minuteâ€™s time, but the junior came up short on the free throw. Rogers ended up missing 10 shots from the charity stripe.
It remained a two-point game when the Raiders inbounded the ball to Lopes with 26 seconds left. Knowing that the Vikings had to foul, Lopes patiently held the ball but wasnâ€™t able to keep his footing, as he was whistled for traveling. The turnover gave the ball back to the Vikings with 10.7 seconds left.
Rogers was looking to get up a three but couldnâ€™t find an opening. That left it up to Reeyon Watts, who looking to create something while heading toward the basket. The senior captain ended up losing the handle with 2.6 seconds left.
The Raiders were able to run off the remaining time as the Vikings were four fouls away from sending the home team to the line. The final 1.4 seconds saw Shea throw the ball into Lopes, who was instructed to bat the ball into the air. Watts was able to catch the deflection but his desperate heave fell well short as the final horn sounded.
It was a fitting conclusion to a game that saw the lead change hands six times and feature three ties in the final six minutes.
â€śIt was a good basketball game,â€ť said Pita matter-of-factly. â€śWe executed our game plan as well as we could and we were able to come up with the win.â€ť
As usual the Raiders received contributions from their entire roster. Lopes scored all nine of his points in the second half to go along with rebounds while Tito DeCouto carried the Raider offense in the early going, scoring all seven of his points on putbacks.
â€śTito is more of the glue guy and Nathanâ€™s the scorer,â€ť noted Pita. â€śThey compliment each other.â€ť
The Vikings, who have now held teams to under 70 points in seven of their eight games, quickly erased what was a 37-32 halftime deficit behind a three by Washington and a layup by Trevor Morgera, who collected 13 points.
Nursing a 41-40 lead, the Raiders ripped off an 11-4 run to take a 52-44 lead with 8:30 remaining. Back came Rogers, which capped off a 10-2 surge on a make from downtown by Cody Platt, who came off the bench to supply 15 points. Plattâ€™s make actually put the visitors up 54-53 with 5:40 remaining before Shea answered behind a clean-up job by Eli Itkin (six points).
ROGERS (62): Cody Platt 5 3-5 15, Trevor Morgera 6 1-6 13, Reeyon Watts 3 0-0 7, Divon Bailey 3 1-2 7, Marc Washington 6 1-2 15, Parish Perry 2 1-2 5. Totals: 25 7-17 62.
SHEA (64): Christian Malave 0 0-2 0, Jordy Brito 8 3-3 22, Eli Itkin 2 2-2 6, Kenric Carter 5 1-4 12, Malcolm Rosa 1 0-0 2, Tito DeCouto 3 1-2 7, Nathan Lopes 4 1-2 9, Chris Mainville 2 2-3 6. Totals: 25 10-18 64.
Halftime: S 37-32.
Three-point field goals: R 5 (Cody Platt 2, Marc Washington 2, Reeyon Watts); S 4 (Jordy Brito 3, Kenric Carter).