PAWTUCKET â€“ The ushering in of a new boysâ€™ basketball season means the arrival of two high school tournaments geared towards preserving the memories of a pair of legendary city coaches.
Both significant events hit the hardwood Thursday night with the Dennis M. Lynch Jr. Memorial Tournament taking place at the Boys and Girls Club. The other local staple, the James W. Donaldson Tournament, tips off at Tolman High School. In a bit of a scheduling snafu, the field for the Donaldson Tournament will feature just three teams. Host Tolman will play Pilgrim Thursday (7 p.m.) with the winner advancing to Fridayâ€™s championship game against defending champion Shea.
How this short-handedness came about is the result of several things, according to Tolman athletic director John Scanlon.
â€śWe had two teams â€“ Tiverton and Mt. Hope â€“ drop out because (Division III) play starts for (the Huskies) that Friday night,â€ť explained Scanlon. The Tigers, a Division II participant, host Bostonâ€™s Catholic Memorial on Saturday. â€śWhat we did was ask Pilgrim, who had been a regular in the field until last year. We welcomed them (the Patriots) back, which was good for us, but we couldnâ€™t find that fourth team.
â€śThe decision was that since Shea won it last year, they could wait until (Friday) to face the winner of Pilgrim-Tolman in the finals,â€ť Scanlon continued. â€śWe just want to keep it alive because this is a big thing for us.â€ť
Asked what the cutoff date was to include a four-team field for the Donaldson tourney, Scanlon replied, â€śTwo or three weeks ago. The longer you wait, the harder it gets because teams are booked (in other preseason events). Next year weâ€™ll make sure itâ€™s a four-team tournament again.â€ť
For the second straight year the field for the Lynch Tournament will consist of St. Raphael, Central Falls, Woonsocket and Providence Country Day. The Warriors stole the show last year, knocking off two Div. I clubs â€“ the Saints and Villa Novans â€“ on their way to copping the title.
On Thursday Woonsocket and C.F. get things underway at 6 p.m. followed by SRA-PCD at 7:45. The winners meet in Saturdayâ€™s title game at 7:45 p.m., which will follow the consolation game, set for 6 oâ€™clock.