Thursday, January 12, 2012
New England Roundup: Rhode Island
By Mike Scandura
Those of a certain age remember the slogan for Timex watches: “They take a licking and keep on ticking.”
The same could be said of the St. Raphael Academy boys’ basketball team.
Defending CIAC Class L champion New London smacked the Saints upside the head last Saturday en route to a 66-55 victory at the CCRI Knight Campus Fieldhouse.
With the memory of that loss still fresh in their minds, the Saints took the floor Tuesday night for a key, early-season game against Central.
The Saints edged the Knights, 57-54, and remained atop the Interscholastic League’s new Power Points Standings with a 6-0 record (SRA is 9-1 overall).
Leading the way was SRA’s 1-2 punch of Charles Correa and Cesar Mejia.
Correa, who struggled to score 15 points against New London, led both teams with 19 points while Mejia chipped in with 18 (before the game, Mejia was honored for having scored his 1000th career point earlier in the season).
Granted, the game was marked by a series of turnovers. But when clutch time rolled around, SRA held Central (5-1, 5-2) to four free throws in the final minute.
Conversely, while the Saints were soaring, perennial state power Hendricken High’s Hawks were floundering. At the moment, the Hawks are 1-4 and rank 33rd in the Power Points standings.
Given the new rules changes imposed for this season, one of which requires a team to win at least 40 percent of its league games to qualify for post-season play, the Hawks could be in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in decades.
The top 32 teams qualify.
Hendricken absorbed a brutal 55-53 loss at the hands of arch-rival La Salle on Jan. 3, which did zero to bolster the team’s confidence.
Among other things, a lack of offense has been the proverbial Achilles’ heel for the Hawks who’ve been minus their top returning player, Lee Messier, who’s been sidelined with a sprained ankle.
HAWKS BURNING THE ICE
While Hendricken is struggling on the basketball court, the school’s hockey team is torching Division I competition so far this season.
Following an impressive 4-3 victory over second-place La Salle, the Hawks lead Division I with a 7-0-1 record (the Rams are 6-2-1).
Hendricken led 3-2 entering the third period when Dave Mitchell scored an unassisted goal 12 seconds after the faceoff and which provided the Hawks with what proved to be the margin of victory.
Over the decades, Mount St. Charles has accumulated enough team and individual honors to fill Adelard Arena.
The latest came after the Mounties won their own holiday tournament, when senior forward Brian Campbell was voted the Most Valuable Player.
Campbell scored twice as Mount beat La Salle College High of Pennsylvania, 5-4, in the finals.
Nine boys who played on Super Bowl-winning teams were named All-State.
Division I champ Hendricken led the way with four selections – quarterback Ryan Brannigan, wide receiver Laionel Cintron and offensive linemen Max Heintzelman and Andrew Breting.
Division II bowl champion Chariho placed running back Colton Place and two-way lineman Kyle Eva on the elite team.
Division III champion Rogers was represented by quarterback Cody Platt and defensive back/running back Beeyon Watts.
Division IV champion Mount Pleasant’s sole representative was wide receiver Jayquan Monteiro.
Other All-State selections included: La Salle’s Anthony Francis (quarterback), Josh Morris (running back), William Sturgis (offensive lineman), Marc-Anthony Reynoso (linebacker) and Peter Picerelli (punter); Porstmouth’s Austin Szczepaniak (running back) and Dan Thorpe (kicker/linebacker); South Kingstown’s Sean Conley (linebacker) and Nick Neill (linebacker); Cranston West’s Bryant Stetson (running back/defensive back); Westerly’s Spencer Read (running back); Cumberland’s Brian Buxton (two-way lineman); West Warwick’s Josh Morrison (running back); Central’s Mike Washington (running back) and Ed Pupoh (linebacker); St. Raphael’s Davon Roberton (two-way end); Moses Brown’s Sam Yules (linebacker); East Providence’s Jalin Braxton (running back); and Tolman’s Andre Gilbert (wide receiver).
MOVING ON UP
Come the 2012 football season, both Tolman and Woonsocket will move up to Division I.
Based on Interscholastic League calculations, the Tigers and Villa Novans rank eighth and ninth, respectively, among the 43 schools that play football. Or to put it another way, they meet the criteria required to move up to Division I.
The only way either team could remain in Division II is if one of the three teams below them in the power rankings (North Kingston, Cumberland and South Kingstown) opts to move up to Division I.
Only the last three teams in one division and the top three ranked teams in the division immediately below them are allowed to make this move.
ENTER THE HALLS
Both Cumberland and Bristol recently announced the inductees to the schools’ respective Athletic Hall of Fame.
Cumberland’s inductees were long-time coach Bob Humphrey, former All-State tennis player and cross-country runner John Casey, two-time All-State cross-country runner Rick McLaughilin; football, basketball and baseball manager Kevin McHale; and Jen Watson who excelled at field hockey as well as cross-country and track and field.
Bristol inducted a total of 16 former student-athletes: Cheri Almeida Neven, Jennifer Bauer, Sara Berry Sweetman, Ryan Defaria, David Filanowicz, Anna Juster Housely, Elizabeth Knapman, Kerri Landre, Jason Lawrence, John Lema, Donald Nerone, Nathan Rau, Matt White, Stephen Wiacak, John Lunney and Joe Secunio.
Mike Scandura has been covering high school sports, college basketball, football and hockey plus minor league baseball in Rhode Island since the early 1970s. A native of Oswego, N.Y, he’s a member of the Words Unlimited Hall of Fame which is the statewide organization of sportswriters, sportscasters and sports publicists.