Shea rolls into Div. II basketball quarterfinals
Eli Itkin (left) and his Shea High teammates defeated Narragansett High, 62-53, in their Division II playoff opener on Friday night.
PAWTUCKET â€“ Free throws attempted serve as the perfect means to separate which team was the more aggressive unit.
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Itâ€™s also the main reason why Shea High remains alive in the Division II playoffs after posting a 62-53 win over Narragansett High on Friday night at â€śThe Cage.â€ť
The stat that tells the story in this preliminary round clash is that the seventh-seeded Raiders attempted a dozen more free throws than the No. 10 Mariners. Shea went 16-of-24 from the charity stripe while Narragansett was 6-for-12.
Shea now moves on to face Rogers, seeded second, on Monday in the quarterfinals.
â€śItâ€™s fun to be in this situation; we have nothing to lose,â€ť said Raiders head coach Matt Pita. â€śWe like being the underdog. Itâ€™s a fun group of kids and Iâ€™m proud of them. We have encountered adversity since the start of the season, but theyâ€™ve come through.â€ť
Senior Austin Silva dominated for Shea, scoring 18 of his game-high 24 points in the opening half while pulling down 10 rebounds. Fellow captain Malik Moody went 4-of-4 from the foul line in the final 30 seconds to help seal the victory for Shea. He finished with 21 points.
Marciano Brunette topped Narragansett with 16 points.
The Mariners stormed out to a quick 8-0 lead before the Raiders regrouped. Silva led the charge as Shea fought back to hold a 30-29 lead at recess.
â€śAustin was very aggressive,â€ť noted Pita.
Narragansettâ€™s ability to dominate the glass was a source of concern for Pita coming in. Shea was able to rebound much better in the second half while limiting the visitors to hardly any second chance opportunities.
Two free throws by Narragansettâ€™s Will Byrne cut the deficit to 55-51 with less than a minute remaining. A pretty pass from Eli Itkin resulted in a layup for Silva and a six-point lead with 30 seconds left.
â€śWe played smart basketball,â€ť lauded Pita. â€śAnytime they made a run, we came right back at it.â€ť