Boston High School: Amanda Bednarick

North Kingstown (R.I.) girls' hoop sees mission through

March, 27, 2014
During the first week in December, coach Bob Simeone took his North Kingstown girls’ basketball team to Connecticut for a scrimmage against Fitch High.

Rhode Island“We stayed in a hotel, spent time in a conference room and put up goals,” said Simeone. “We wanted to win the [Division 1 South] title, the state title and put a number on the board because the last time we won the state title was in 2005.

“We had 25 different goals. Number one was ‘We versus me.’ We don’t care who scores. It’s all about ‘we.’ In every locker room, we taped goals to the wall. We made the girls write them down.”

Mission accomplished.

The Skippers ended La Salle Academy’s stranglehold on the Division I state championship (the Rams had won the last three state titles while North Kingstown only had annexed three in program history prior to this season) by beating the Rams, 52-49, in the semifinals and Barrington, 41-39, in the finals.

“Prior to playing La Salle, we hadn’t played for a week,” recalled Simeone. “I sent the girls a text message prior to the La Salle game that said ‘out-play, out-hustle, out-rebound and live the dream.’ They went out and played a phenomenal game.

“Prior to playing Barrington, we practiced, went to a press conference and there was a lot of mentoring. They were built up into this hype but we were keeping it low. On [last] Friday night, I sent them another text that said ‘out-hustle, out-score and get to every 50-50 ball. Live the dream and make it a reality.’ “

The dream became a reality when tournament MVP Taylor Buckley scored a game-high 22 points including the game-winning basket with 10 ticks of the clock remaining.

What enabled the Skippers (23-2) to capture the division and state championships was their inclination to play defense and a balanced scoring attack.

During the course of the season including the playoffs, North Kingstown averaged 64.8 points per game and allowed an average of only 39.8. In addition, the Skippers pulled down an average of 32.8 rebounds per game and averaged 5.7 blocked shots.

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