Boston High School: Brian Campbell

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
6:53
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Those of a certain age remember the slogan for Timex watches: “They take a licking and keep on ticking.”

Rhode IslandThe 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.

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BOSTON – The nightcap to Monday’s opening night festivities of the Frozen Fenway series featured two of the most respected boys’ hockey programs in their respective states.

In the end, it was a familiar name who lifted Rhode Island powerhouse Mount St. Charles over Springfield Cathedral, 4-2, at Fenway Park.

Junior forward Brian Belisle, with his father and grandfather watching from the bench, tallied a hat trick to lift the Mounties to victory.

“My father played outdoors when he first started,” Mounties coach Dave Belisle said of his father, head coach Bill Belisle. “Even his high school team, when he played for Mount St. Charles, they played outdoors. To be able to come to this venue and not only share it with my father, but with my son and for my son to do so well tonight, this was a wonderful evening.”



Brian scored Mount’s first two goals within a minute span in the first period, giving his team a 2-0 lead. Cathedral (3-3-1) responded with two second-period goals, tying the game.

But Mount (5-2-1) reclaimed the lead before the period was out with Callan Morisseau netting what would be the game-winner with 1:01 remaining in the second.

Belisle netted the insurance marker for the hat trick midway through the third.

“It’s once-in-a-lifetime,” the youngest Belisle said, reflecting on his performance. “Looking around here, it’s just unbelievable.”

MOUNTIES BACK ON TRACK
Although No. 15 Cathedral played at Rhode Island powerhouse Mount’s tournament during vacation week, the teams met for the first time this season at Fenway. The Mounties won that tournament, gaining momentum after being upset in the season’s opening week by Rhody rival La Salle Academy.

With a couple of wins under their belt, the Mounties are starting to play with confidence.

“The first couple of games of the year, we struggled to find our identity,” captain Brian Campbell said. “We came back and won our [Mount St. Charles holiday] tournament and, today, we really picked up our game at the end there.”

The team’s newfound chemisty was evident in their first line, particularly with Campbell and Belisle. Campbell set up Belisle’s first two tallies with tremendous passes, one coming from the left side faceoff dot and the other on the back hand from behind the net back into the slot.

CATHEDRAL OVERCOMING ADVERSITY
To say it’s been a trying year at Springfield Cathedral would be an understatement. The school’s campus was ravaged by June’s tornado, forcing classes to be held at a middle school in Wilbraham.

After enduring so much, Monday’s game was a welcome distraction and a positive spin to the New Year.

“It was so nice of Red Sox and the Fenway group to invite us out here,” Panthers head coach Brian Foley said. “With all the school’s been through, we needed something good to happen to us and this event was just outstanding. We couldn’t be more appreciative of happening the opportunity to play out here.”

Likewise, the determined Panthers showed their resiliency in the second period when Thomas Quinlan and Alex Vincellette scored to knot the score, 2-2.

While the Panthers weren’t able to build momentum into a lead, they showed they could battle back against high competition. It bodes well for team that participated in a Super 8 play-in game last season and returns a young, but veteran core this season.

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

January, 2, 2012
1/02/12
12:24
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And you thought the Rhode Island Interscholastic League “tweaked” boys’ basketball last season, when it decided to hold a 16-team tournament that would determine one – repeat, one – state champion?

Rhode IslandThe RIIL has “tweaked boys’ basketball in so many ways this season that it’s a wonder coaches’ heads don’t spin off their necks.

For starters, the league has eliminated the three division tournaments which had been in existence seemingly since Dr. James Naismith first hung up a peach basket at Springfield College.

Instead, the league will hold one 32-team tournament.

The league still will consist of Division I, II and III and each team will play 18 league games. But points will be awarded which will determine who gets to play in the state tournament.

For example:
  • Each Division I victory is worth one point.
  • Each Division II victory is worth .8 point.
  • Each Division III victory is worth .6 point.

In addition teams in Divisions II and III with the most points will receive one more point as compensation for the disparity in the ratings formula.

Non-league games won’t result in the winning team earning points.

After the whistle blows in the final games of the regular season, the 32 teams with a winning percentage of at least .400 will qualify for the tournament.

Play-in games will be held should more than 32 teams win at least 40 percent of their games. But ties involving teams from different divisions will result in the team from the higher division receiving the higher seed.

Just as noteworthy is the change in venue for the Elite Eight – Providence College’s Alumni Hall - where Friar stars like Jimmy Walker, Ray Flynn, Lenny Wilkins and (when he was a freshman) Ernie DiGregorio lit up the scoreboard.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

December, 30, 2010
12/30/10
6:06
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The argument has raged in Rhode Island seemingly since the first puck was dropped at center ice when the first Interscholastic League hockey game was played.

Rhode IslandHow can a competitive balance be struck between the private schools and the public schools that play the sport?

The imbalance that exists is underscored this season like a rocket soaring through the skies since the Rhode Island Interscholastic League expanded to 10 schools – four private and six public – in the state’s top division, Division I.

Through games of Dec. 29, Mount St. Charles, Hendricken, La Salle Academy and Moses Brown School were a combined 12-0-0 against public schools Barrington, Burrillville, Cranston West, Lincoln, North Kingstown and Smithfield.

Moreover, the four private schools had outscored their public school opponents by the outrageous margin of 82-3.

The last time a public school won the state Division I championship occurred when Toll Gate captured back-to-back titles during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons.

Otherwise, the last time a public school annexed the Division I title was during the 1974-75 season when East Providence prevailed.

The advantage private schools enjoy is obvious: they draw students from every city and town in the state – and even some from Massachusetts. And in the case of Mount St. Charles, the Mounties have their own rink (Adelard Arena), which is adjacent to the school.

Interscholastic League officials over the years have wracked their brains in an attempt to come up with alignments which would involve private and public schools and, hopefully, make more competitive games. But other than the years when Toll Gate prevailed in Division I, the alignments have left much to be desired.

After all, what fans (read parents) want to witness blowouts on a regular basis?

Even if Mount St. Charles, Hendricken, La Salle and Moses Brown were placed in Division I by themselves, and played each other three times a season (as has happened when the Mounties, Hawks, Rams and Titans were in Division I), they still would have to play some public schools – or venture out of state as Mount does on a frequent basis – to round out an adequate schedule.

But that might be the only solution after this season – a solution that might be fostered if red lights in the state’s rinks continue to pop from flashing on way too often.

BEST OF THE BEST
When private schools from around New England venture to Rhode Island for the annual Mount St. Charles Holiday Tournament, fans are treated to the highest brand of interscholastic hockey the sport can offer.

In the opening round this week, for example, Mount beat St. Dominic’s Academy (Maine), 5-1, as Brian Campbell scored two goals while Brian Belisle, Trevor Plante and Mike Magerman each contributed a goal plus an assist.

Andrew King made 20 saves as La Salle College High (Pennsylvania) blanked Hendricken, 5-0.

Frank Crinella and Sean Kavanagh each scored a goal as Springfield Cathedral High (Massachusetts) edged St. Joseph’s College Institute (New York), 2-1.

DOUBLE DRIBBLES
Pawtucket rivals Tolman and Shea put on a show and then some in the finals of the annual James W. Donaldson Memorial Tournament (which is named in honor of the Tigers’ late, long-time coach who was one of the true gentlemen in the history of Rhode Island interscholastic sports).

Jeremy Graca scored 20 points, including a pair of three-point shots, as Tolman edged the Raiders, 48-45.

Austin Silva posted a double-double for the Raiders, with 20 points and 10 rebounds. But his three-point shot – which would have tied the score at the buzzer and forced overtime – fell short.

HOW ABOUT A REPEAT?
For the better part of this decade, La Salle Academy has dominated Division I girls’ basketball.

Prior to the 2009-10 season, the Rams had captured six of the previous eight state championships.

La Salle’s reign came to a screeching halt last season when Woonsocket – the 2009 Division II champ – beat the Rams in the Division I finals.

Woonsocket is off to a 2-1 start in the early going. But it won’t be easy for the Villa Novans to repeat considering who they graduated from last season’s team: Division I Tournament MVP Brooke Coderre (daughter of head coach George Coderre), Nicole Boucher, Kofo Olowookere and Lauren Masse.

If the Villa Novans are to make a run at another title, they’ll need players like Michelle Brayboy, Ashley Doubois and Allyson Cartier to fill the void created by the departure of their teammates.

CAN’T KICK ABOUT THIS TEAM
Division I state champion Barrington landed three players on the All-State boys’ soccer team: midfielder Brett Sullivan, who led the Interscholastic League with 27 assists; forward Jeff Craven, who tied for the state scoring lead with 30 points; and goalie Andrew Jones, who made 115 total saves as the Eagles notched an 18-0-4 overall record.

Other selections included defenders Gaelen Oliver from Chariho, Connor Bolton from Hendricken and Sam Hall-Stinson from North Kingstown; midfielders Colin Patch from La Salle; Joao Cardoso from Shea; and Marcos Urgate from Providence Country Day; forwards Emerson Barros from Shea and Bob Bialy from East Greenwich.

Craven, a senior, also was voted All-America honors by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

ODDS ‘N ENDS
  • Toll Gate senior Samantha Chace will be competing in track and field next year at Columbia. An honors student at Toll Gate High, Chace applied for early admission and was accepted. During her time at Toll Gate, she’s earned All-State honors in cross country plus indoor and outdoor track and field.
  • Prout School’s Elise Walsh was voted the Gatorade Rhode Island Volleyball Player of the Year for a second consecutive season. A senior center, Walsh led the Crusaders to a 14-3 record and their second consecutive Division I state championship. She is a three-time, First Team All-State selection.
  • Portsmouth director of athletics and boys’ basketball coach Mike Lunney was named the new assistant director of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League. He replaces Dick Magarian, who is retiring. Lunney has been the A.D. at Portsmouth for 16 years and a coach for eight.
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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