Boston High School: Alex Butler

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

February, 16, 2013
2/16/13
4:34
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Officially, the nickname of the Classical High boys’ basketball team is the Purple.

Rhode IslandBut given how well head coach John Kavanagh’s team has played in recent weeks, perhaps that nickname should be preceded by the adjective “red-hot.”

Classical clinched the Division I-Central title by reeling off three consecutive victories – 79-75 over Hope, 82-58 over Smithfield and 89-70 over defending Division I state champion Central.

Ironically, Classical (14-3 in I-Central and 17-5 overall) is led by three of the shortest players on the team: 5-8 guard Kealen Ives, 5-10 forward Ismael Batista and 6-1 center Terrill Toe.

Ives is Classical’s leading scorer while Batista has proven to be a force on the offensive glass.

Toe buried a 3-point shot with 16.5 seconds left in regulation to break a tie and give the Purple a 79-75 victory over Hope. Ives celebrated his 17th birthday by scoring a game-high 34 points, which included 15-of-18 from the free throw line.

Ives just missed a triple-double when Classical belted Smithfield.

He finished with 21 points, 11 assists and eight steals while Batista and Toe combined for 51 points; Toe nailed seven 3-point shots).

Classical held its senior night on Feb. 12, and Batista made sure his classmates would go out as winners as he scored 19 points – including a quintet of 3-point baskets – which helped the Purple crown the Knights.

SKIPPERS REBOUND
North Kingstown’s Skippers, who had been cruising along in Division I-South, dropped an ugly 53-46 decision to La Salle in a crossover game.

Ugly was defined by the fact North Kingstown shot a frigid 29.3 percent (17-of-58) from the floor and 53.3 percent (8-of-15) from the free throw line.

But the Skippers (15-2) held onto first place in their division by rebounding to beat St. Raphael, 55-52, on Kazre Cummings’ 3-point shot at the buzzer and South Kingstown, 58-33, with Justin Pratt and Owen Heath combining to score 30 points.

North Kingstown (20-2 overall) leads the power-point standings while Classical is in second.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES
Austin Cilley broke the career scoring record for Westerly boys’ basketball – one that had stood since 1952 – by pouring in 38 points during a 61-58 overtime conquest of Barrington in a Division II crossover game.

Cilley raised his career total to 1,399 points, which eclipsed the previous mark of 1,386 set by Bob Serra in 1952. In the game where Cilley broke the career record, he tossed in 38 points, including nine in overtime, as the Bulldogs beat Barrington, 61-58.

Three other boys surpassed the 1,000-point mark for their careers in recent games: La Salle’s Jared Thompson; Mount Pleasant’s Jovel Beckford; and Ponaganset’s Scott Peterson.

PERFECTION ELUDES SAINTS
The St. Raphael Academy girls’ had their sights set on at least an undefeated season in Division II-Central. But Johnston derailed the Saints by handing them their first loss of the season, 65-63 when Isabella DiRaimo nailed a 3-point shot with 3.2 seconds left and, following a turnover, Alex DiRaimo tossed in a basket at the buzzer.

The Saints still led II-Central with a 10-1 record.

Elsewhere:
  • Exeter/West Greenwich coach Steven McGrane notched the 350th victory of his career when the Scarlet Knights belted Cranston West, 64-37, due in part to Taylor Buckley’s game-high 17 points.
  • Middletown (13-1) remained atop the III-South standings as the Islanders beat Hope, 58-31, with Chelsea Dowler posting a double-double (14 points and 10 rebounds).
  • Juanita Sanchez handed the Islanders their first loss, 53-47, and maintained a firm grip on second place (10-1).
“WEIGHTY” ACCOMPLISHMENT
Barrington High senior Charlie Ionata is inhaling rarified air after his performance at the East Coast Track & Field Invitational.

Ionata uncorked a heave of 77 feet, 6.5 inches in the weight throw, which not only captured first place, but, according to the U.S. High School Weight Throw Performance List, was the longest in the nation.

In addition, he beat the previous meet record of 73-feet and three-quarter inches and moved into 11th place on the all-time national list – good for second on Rhode Island’s all-time list.

SIGNING ON THE DOTTED LINE
Several Rhode Island high school football players inked National Letters of Intent during the recent signing period.

One of the more notable “signees” was La Salle’s All-State quarterback Anthony Francis – the 2012 Gatorade Rhode Island High School Football Player of the Year – who opted for Marist College.

Cumberland wide receiver Mitchell Baxter and North Kingstown tight end Alex Madoian signed with Bryant University.

Portsmouth native Charlie McKeeman, who played for Bishop Stang of Dartmouth, Mass., signed to play fullback for the University of Rhode Island.

THE “BUTLER” DID IT
Not only was Alex Butler one of the best basketball players ever produced by East Providence High – where he is the head coach these days – but he also was one of the best ever to play for Rhode Island College.

Not surprisingly, Butler was one of 11 players recently inducted into the Little East Conference Hall of Fame.

Butler, who was an All-Stater in high school, was a two-time Division III All-American at RIC.

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.

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

December, 21, 2012
12/21/12
5:22
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Bizzare. Unfair. Puzzling.

Rhode IslandTake your pick but each of the above adjectives is applicable when discussing the situation involving East Providence High coaches.

First, the back story. The financially-strapped city has been operating for a year under a state-appointed Budget Commission which oversees the city’s finances. But for reasons which have yet to be announced, fall sports coaches were unpaid for their work even though $120,000 was budgeted.

But when Dec. 14 dawned and fall coaches still had yet to receive their checks, EP alumnus Alex Butler – who coaches the boys’ volleyball and boys’ basketball teams – organized a walkout by winter sports team coaches. Other prominent Townie coaches who sided with Butler were girls’ basketball coaches Mike Solitro and Dan Cabral plus wrestling coach Tom Galligan.

Among other things, a highly-anticipated game between East Providence and Hendricken which had been scheduled for the Dec. 14 was postponed.

Now, flash forward to Dec. 17. Fall sports coaches finally received their checks but the reason for the “glitch” still was unexplained.

That’s not the whole story. While winter and spring sports coach salaries are still in the negotiation process, the Budget Commission has proposed a 60-percent reduction in each coach’s salary.

The Budget Commission is scheduled to meet on Jan. 3. Then, more will be known about the state of negotiations – which depending on what happens – theoretically could evoke another work stoppage by the Townie coaches.

STUCK IN LOW GEAR
To say that Central and Hope, the teams that played in the 2012 Division I boys’ basketball championship game last March are off to a slow start would be a major understatement.

The Knights, who rolled the Blue Wave in the finals, are 0-3, having lost to Cranston West, South Kingstown and North Kingstown.

Hope is 0-2 with losses to perennial power Hendricken (36-35) and North Kingstown on its record.

Without question Central was hurting in its season opener against the Falcons because potential leading scorer Jerrelle Washington was sidelined with an injury. But Washington returned against the Rebels and scored 22 points.

At the risk of stating the obvious, Washington may have to average in the 20-plus neighborhood in order for the Knights to have a chance to defend their title.

Hope, meanwhile, failed to place at least one player in double figures in each of its first two league games.

Two players who were expected to share the bulk of the scoring load, Johnson Weah and Manny Kargbo, only managed three points apiece in the loss to North Kingstown.

CORREA’S PLAY “SAINTLY”
Barring injury or another unforeseen circumstance, St. Raphael Academy senior guard Charles Correa could become just the second Saint in school history to be voted First Team All-State honors for three consecutive years.

Correa, the only returning player from SRA’s 2011 state championship team, was named the Most Valuable Player in the 27th annual Dennis M. Lynch Jr. Memorial Tournament which the Saints captured by beating Providence Country Day, 85-64, in the finals.

Correa scored 35 points, dished out 11 assists and snared five rebounds in the process of becoming the first player in tournament history to walk off with three consecutive MVP trophies.

When the Saints began league play, Correa scored 21 points as the Saints routed North Smithfield, 72-59.

WESTERLY’S CILLEY MAKES HISTORY
That Westerly senior Austin Cilley would surpass the 1,000-point mark for his career was a foregone conclusion.

Cilley reached that plateau when he poured in a career-high 42 points as the Bulldogs beat Prout, 69-51, in a Division II-East game. Cilley finished the game with seven 3-point baskets which gave him 169 for his career – the most ever by a boy or girl in school history.

GETTING OFF THE MAT
The beginning of the wrestling season fell under a good news-tragic news headline.

The good news was that venerable Cumberland coach Steve Gordon commenced his 44th year at the helm.

The tragic news was the passing of 37-year-old George Schmeider, who had been involved in the sport in Warwick at various levels for several years.

Gordon founded the Cumberland program in 1968 and has captured four state championships (1979, 2005, 2010 and 2012).

Moreover, the Clippers have been runners-up more times than Gordon cares to remember (in some years the Clippers have lost by the scantest of margins – one point and 1.5 points, for example).

Cumberland again could be the team to beat since it returns six starters: senior co-captains Erik Travers (152) and Jon Maccini (145); Chris Hayes (171); Nick Tribelli (132); Cody Beaudette (113); and Chris Nordby (120).

Schmeider passed away on Dec. 3 after a short illness.

He was a volunteer coach at Warwick Vets from 1999-2004 and the head coach from 2004-2010.

Schmeider returned to volunteer status as the associate head coach in 2011, when former head coach Make Nappa returned to that position. The reason Schmeider gave for his decision was so that another coach could earn the assistant’s stipend.

A Vets alumnus where he wrestled and played baseball, Schmeider established a free after-school fitness program at Gorton Junior High in 2011 after the city eliminated funding for intramurals.

Schmeider was a health and physical education teacher at Gorton.

MAKING A BIG SPLASH
There are shocking upsets and there are upsets that activate the Richter Scale.

That was the case during the first week of the swimming season when North Kingstown upset 23-time defending state champion Hendricken, 49-45.

Boris Paralliticci (50 and 100 freestyles) and Mike Toolin (200 and 500 freestyles) each won two individual events and swam a leg on two relay teams as the Skippers handed the Hawks only their second dual-meet loss since the 2001-02 season.

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.

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