PAWTUCKET – Tiverton put the brakes on Shea High’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.
“If we had made our layups, we could have used the press,” Shea coach Matt Pita said after the game. “But we shot poorly all night. The bottom line is we have to rebound the ball and make our layups and we did neither tonight.”
The Raiders also couldn’t stop Tiverton’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.
“He’s one of the better players in our division,” Pita admitted.
Bergandy pounded the boards, using his 6-foot-3 frame to compete under the boards with Shea’s tallest player, 6-foot-2 Austin Silva, who finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds but couldn’t match Tiverton’s overall size advantage. Bergandy, Bjornson and forward Geoff McNally (8 points) were all taller than Silva and his fellow forward, Zach DePina.
The Raiders’ high-scoring sixth man, Joh’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.Tiverton’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.