PAWTUCKET â€“ Tiverton put the brakes on Shea Highâ€™s offense during a 72-53 romp over the Raiders on Thursday night.
Shea, coming off a 94-92 up-tempo win over North Providence on Monday, contributed to its own demise with a variety of missed layups and close-in shots that prevented the Raiders from turning to their pressing defense following a made basket.
â€śIf we had made our layups, we could have used the press,â€ť Shea coach Matt Pita said after the game. â€śBut we shot poorly all night. The bottom line is we have to rebound the ball and make our layups and we did neither tonight.â€ť
The Raiders also couldnâ€™t stop Tivertonâ€™s 1-2 scoring punch of Gunnar Bjornson (27 points) and Ben Bergandy (22). Bjornson displayed a fine inside-outside game, hitting a trio of three-pointers and also taking the ball to the hoop with great effectiveness.
â€śHeâ€™s one of the better players in our division,â€ť Pita admitted.
Bergandy pounded the boards, using his 6-foot-3 frame to compete under the boards with Sheaâ€™s tallest player, 6-foot-2 Austin Silva, who finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds but couldnâ€™t match Tivertonâ€™s overall size advantage. Bergandy, Bjornson and forward Geoff McNally (8 points) were all taller than Silva and his fellow forward, Zach DePina.
The Raidersâ€™ high-scoring sixth man, Johâ€™lon Hazard, had a tough night, finishing with 12 points and leaving the game due to leg cramps with five minutes left in the second half.
By that point, Tiverton held a 65-48 lead after repelling two minor Shea comebacks.
The Raiders, who never led in the game, fell behind 19-8 midway through the first half after Tiverton went on a 10-0 run. The lead grew to 37-22 before Shea scored three baskets within 20 seconds on a pair of layups by Silva and one by Malik Moody. That cut the deficit to 37-28 before Alex Rosa stole the ball away from Shea and hit a layup in the closing seconds for a 39-28 halftime lead.
The Raiders then closed to 46-38 when Moody sent a pass ahead to Silva for a fast-break laup with 12 minutes left in the game.Tivertonâ€™s Bergandy and Bjornson then took over the game, scoring 10 straight points between them for a 60-46 advantage.
Bjornson pulled up and hit a three to make it 65-48 with 5:51 left in the game, taking any suspense out of the contest.
Tiverton improves to 3-1 in Division II action while Shea is now 2-2 heading into the holiday break.