Boston High School: Exeter/West Greenwich (R.I.)

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

February, 16, 2013
2/16/13
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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

February, 24, 2011
2/24/11
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Instead of calling it the Rhode Island interscholastic League Boys’ State Swimming Championships, perhaps the event should be re-named “The Hendricken Invitational.”

Rhode IslandCoach Dave Hansen’s Hawks splashed their way to a mind-boggling 21st consecutive state title on February 20 – and it wasn’t even close. The Hawks amassed 314 points as compared with second-place Barrington who swam home with 194 at the University of Rhode Island.

What made this latest championship even more noteworthy was the fact Hendricken failed to win a single individual event. Hansen needed points from only eight swimmers to cop the school’s latest title. And the Hawks did their most damage by winning two relays. Ian Dinwoodie and Andrew Robinson swam in the meet’s final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, while Mike Fedorenko, Alex Powers, Dave Evans and Jack Kilpatrick each were on one championship relay (the other was the 200-yard medley).

Hendricken earned 40 points by winning the 200 medley relay and recorded 54 points in the first individual event, the 200-yard freestyle. By the time the latter ended, the Hawks had a commanding lead.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

December, 16, 2010
12/16/10
1:12
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How many years had elapsed since Bishop Hendricken last won the Division I football championship?

Let’s put it this way:
  • Virtually all of the players on the 2010 team had barely begun to walk and some were still in the crawling stage.
  • The New England Patriots had yet to morph into one of the NFL’s dominant teams.
  • Bill Clinton had yet to begin his second term as President of the United States.
Rhode IslandThe Hawks made up for lost time in a big-time way by edging Portsmouth, 20-17, for their first state title since 1996 plus a brilliant 13-0 overall record (the first time that’s happened in 15 years).

Senior quarterback Mike Maloof was voted the game’s Most Valuable Player after throwing touchdown passes of 22 yards to Zach Padula and 10 yards to Tim Lyons – on the initial play of the final period for what proved to be the winning score.

Maloof also ran the ball 17 times and gained 105 yards.

Ironically, the Hawks (much to coach Keith Croft’s chagrin) followed the same pattern that they did in their 38-35 semifinal victory over East Providence. In other words, the Hawks spotted their opponent the lead before rallying.

The Townies at one time led 35-21 before Hendricken came back to win, 38-35, on an 18-yard field goal by Zach Conte on the game’s final play.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

November, 17, 2010
11/17/10
2:31
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St. Raphael Academy bused to Johnston High on Nov. 12 for a football game and a basketball game broke out.

Rhode IslandHow else to explain the fact SRA out-gunned the Panthers, 56-50 –- in overtime, no less?

First, as a means of explanation.

Due to the quirky nature of Rhode Island Interscholastic League football, the top four teams in Division II-A and II-B commenced quarterfinal play last weekend -- while teams in the other three divisions were still jockeying for berths in their respective tournaments.

Quarterback Trevor Vasey, son of one-time SRA head coach Todd Vasey, did his best Tom Brady impersonation as he riddled the Panthers for 295 yards and five touchdowns.

Despite his aeronautic proficiency, the Saints trailed 42-28 in the fourth quarter before Andrew Pognon forced overtime by reeling off a 36-yard touchdown run.

Johnston quickly went four-and-out before SRA won it on a 12-yard run by Charles Correa.

The Saints thus advanced to the semifinals on Nov. 30 against cross-town rival Tolman.

The Tigers, who captured the II-B title with a 7-0 record, eked out a 6-0 victory over Westerly on a 35-yard touchdown run by quarterback Joselito Knapp in the fourth quarter.

Woonsocket, who finished second to Tolman, maintained its chances of retaining the Division II championship by beating Central, 34-14.

The game wasn’t anywhere near as close as the final score might indicate because Woonsocket built a 27-0 lead after three quarters on a 35-yard touchdown run by Jalen Evans, a 37-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Reyes to Jesse Charette, a 39-yard run by Orlan Thomas and a 35-yard run by Edwin Jones.

Woonsocket will tackle Chariho in the other semifinal game on Nov. 30.

The Chargers beat Mount Hope in the teams’ quarterfinal game as Coltan Place ran for touchdowns of 22 yards in the first quarter and 21 yards in the fourth.

EXTRA POINTS
Hendricken’s Hawks displayed the mettle last week that, again, stamped them as the team to beat in the Division I Tournament.

The fact Hendricken belted Barrington, 38-14, to clinch its first undefeated league record in 15 years at 8-0 (the Hawks are 10-0 overall but play a non-league game against Toll Gate on Thanksgiving), only told part of the story.

Head coach Todd Croft missed virtually all of practice leading up to the Barrington game because his four-month-old son was recuperating from brain surgery.

In addition, Hendricken was minus All-State running back Ethan Ferreira whose season came to an end the previous week when he fractured a leg.

Quarterback Mike Maloof gave the Hawks a lead they wouldn’t relinquish when he threw first-half touchdown pass of nine yards to Zach Pacula and 45 yards to Rob Manning.

The Eagles, who captured the 2009 Division I Super Bowl, could be on the outside looking in since they also lost their previous game 28-21, to East Providence as Townie quarterback Rob Delgado accounted for three touchdowns.

Barrington (5-3) has completed its league season while the Townies (5-2), who belted winless South Kingstown 28-7 last Saturday (Delgado ran for 135 yards and two scores, has its Thanksgiving Day clash against La Salle (4-3) remaining.

Should La Salle win, it would create a three-way tie for the last two playoff berths in Division I, which means tiebreakers will determine which teams will join Hendricken and Portsmouth (6-2) in the tournament.

Elsewhere:
  • Division III champ Rogers (7-0, 8-1) tuned up for the playoffs by routing Division I North Kingstown, 34-6, thanks to three touchdowns by Chris Savage.
  • Mount Pleasant (8-0) clinched the Division IV title by beating Exeter/West Greenwich, 43-23 behind Tevin Dale’s 150 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
GETTING THEIR ‘KICKS’
Barrington, Smithfield and Classical emerged as the state’s three boys’ soccer champions.

The Eagles captured the 11th Division I title in school history by edging Shea, 2-1, on a pair of goals by Jeff Craven. Despite the loss, the season was memorable for the Raiders who were playing for the first time in the state’s top division.

East Greenwich entered the Division II finale riding a 38-game unbeaten streak which dated back to the 2008 season. Smithfield made that streak history by edging the Avengers, 3-2, behind the play of tourney MVP Alex Bedrossian who scored two goals.

Classical capped a season for the ages by beating Exeter/West Greenwich, 3-1, due in large part to the play of defender Jose Zarraga who was voted the tournament’s MVP. En route to winning their first state title since 1984, the Purple compiled an 18-1-1 overall record.

All wasn’t lost for the Scarlet Knights since their girls’ team nipped Lincoln, 2-1, for the Division II crown – the first in the 19-year history of girls’ soccer at the school.

Freshman Kara Shaw scored with barely eight minutes left in regulation to give EWG the title.

La Salle maintained its dominance in Division I by blanking East Greenwich, 1-0, in the finals – Mackenzie Meehan scoring the game’s lone goal with two minutes left in regulation.

For the Rams, this was their third consecutive Division I state title as well their eighth in the last 10 years.

Narragansett, meanwhile, won its first state title since 1988 when it annexed the Division II crown by blanking Middletown, 1-0, in the Division III finals. Carla Porras’ goal midway through the second half proved to be all the scoring the Mariners would need.

RUNNING WILD
Cranston West’s Bob Allen wrote his name in the Interscholastic League’s record book by posting a cross-country version of a “double double.”

Allen captured the state championship on Nov. 7 by touring the 3.1-mile course at Ponaganset High in 15:30.86.

In the process, Allen became only the second runner (male or female) in school history to win the state cross-country title.

Then, one week later, Allen journeyed to Thetford, Vt..and won the New England Championship in a time of 16:28.5.

La Salle’s Molly Keating retained her title in the girls’ state championship race.

Hendricken’s boys won a third consecutive team title while the Rams extended their streak of consecutive team titles to four.

Mike Scandura has been covering high school sports, college basketball and hockey and 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

November, 4, 2010
11/04/10
12:59
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Can anybody remember the last year that Hendricken’s football team went undefeated?

Rhode IslandLet’s put it this way: Players on the current team were just starting to learn how to walk, and in some cases crawl.

The year was 1995 – and the 2010 Hawks have a chance to duplicate that feat if, at the risk of using a billiards metaphor, they “run the table.”

The Hawks have put themselves in position to earn the No. 1 seed in the Division I Tournament – and capture their first state football championship since 1996 - by dispatching two of their toughest rivals in recent weeks. They beat East Providence, 13-7, on Oct. 22 and Portsmouth, 14-13, on Oct. 29.

As a result, the Hawks are 6-0 and can finish a perfect regular season by beating Cranston West (2-3) on Nov. 6 and Barrington (5-1) on Nov. 15.

In the latest Rhode Island High School Football Poll, Hendricken remained No. 1 by capturing all 11 first place votes.

Portsmouth (4-2) is ranked second, Barrington third and East Providence fourth.

The Hendricken-Portsmouth game featured two teams that are the “stingiest” in Division I when it comes to allowing points.

After the dust settled, Hendricken still had allowed the fewest points (65).

The Patriots led, 13-7, early in the third quarter when Hendricken’s Mke Maloof threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Rob Manning and followed with a two-point conversion pass to Ethan Ferreira.

Portsmouth sliced its deficit to 14-13 early in the fourth quarter when Ben Willett tossed a seven-yard touchdown pass to Mike Dublin. But when Portsmouth was hit with an excessive celebration penalty, it forced Dan Thorpe back to his 35 for a PAT attempt.

Hendricken blocked the kick and then its defense slammed the door over the final eight minutes.

East Providence entered its game with Hendricken having scored 139 points. But the Hawks held the Townies scoreless until the final minute – which, of course, rendered East Providence’s touchdown irrelevant.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

October, 5, 2010
10/05/10
2:06
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When East Providence routed Cranston West, 35-14, on September 24 in a Division I game, the victory underscored what most fans of Rhode Island high school football thought: the Townies had a legitimate chance to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2006 – when they beat Hendricken for the state title.

Rhode IslandAmong other things, the Townies were benefitting from the return of junior running back Jalin Braxton, who missed most of last season due to injuries.

Braxton was at his best against the Falcons when he ran for a quartet of touchdowns, including one that covered 51 yards.

Now, flash forward to last weekend when the Townies visited Portsmouth – a one-time Division I power that’s fallen on hard times in recent years.

All the Patriots did was pull off one of the season’s more impressive upsets by beating the Townies, 24-14 as quarterback Ben Willett scored one touchdown and passed for three more.

Moreover, the Townies’ final score was irrelevant since it came in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. What was relevant were the 14 points Portsmouth’s defense held East Providence to – since the Townies had outscored their opponents 135-26 in four overall games.

Since Hendricken beat Cranston East, 16-8, and Barrington played a non-league game, the Hawks (3-0) and Eagles (2-0) emerged from the weekend as the only undefeated teams in the state’s top division.

Even though all coaches regardless of sport recite the “We take them one game at a time” mantra without any provocation, two upcoming games are worth noting on your calendar:

* October 22, when Hendricken visits East Providence.
* November 5, when the Townies travel to Barrington.

Both games could go a long way toward determining the division champion, who would earn the number-one seed in the Division I Tournament.

CROWNING A KNIGHT

Because Exeter/West Greenwich plays in Division IV, the Scarlet Knights frequently are dwarfed by the likes of perennial state powers like Hendricken, La Salle, East Providence, Barrington, etc.

Senior running back Al Georgio is doing his best to draw attention to his team, which leads the division with a 3-0 record. In a word, Georgio is shredding opposing defenses.

Through the Scarlet Knights’ four overall games, Georgio has rushed for 975 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. Since Exeter/West Greenwich has seven regular-season games remaining – plus, quite likely, at least one in the Division IV Tournament –the stats Georgio could rack up are mind-boggling.

EXTRA POINTS

In other games of note:

* La Salle barely staved off defeat against Division I newcomer South Kingstown on October 1 by edging the Rebels, 7-3, thanks to Josh Morris’ 20-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

* For the first time since 2005, Tolman is undefeated in league play (Division II-B) after three games.

The Tigers reached that mark by blanking Pilgrim, 35-0, as Ousame Samb scored on a 21-yard run and Shayne Taylor returned an interception 50 yards for a score – all in a span of 43 seconds in the third quarter.

In their three league victories, the Tigers have allowed a total of only 304 yards in total offense.

* Barrington played one of the more intriguing non-league games this season against long-time Massachusetts Division III power Bishop Feehan – and coasted to a 43-22 victory.

Alexander Spiess paced the Eagles by scoring three touchdowns, including one on an 85-yard return of a fumble recovery.

* Tiverton shed that proverbial two-ton gorilla by posting its first Division III victory of the season, 12-6 over Classical when John DeCosta threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Robert Kisor with three minutes left in the fourth quarter.

EP ANNOUNCES CLASS OF 2010

Four men will be inducted into the East Providence High School Hall of Fame at the 27th annual ceremony on October 24:

* Ed Cronan, a retired guidance counselor, coached cross country plus track and field.
His honors include being named Rhode Island Cross Country Coach of the Year and Outstanding Educator by the East Bay Women’s Club.

* Colonel Robert Germani ’79, who was a varsity hockey captain.
He received numerous awards while serving in the Rhode Island Air National Guard as Chief of Security Police, Security Forces Commander and the Detachment Commander for the 201st Mission Support Directorate.

* Robert Silva ’57, who was a standout wrestler for the Townies.
Silva was one of two students selected as the “Most Likely to Succeed.”
He was appointed as legal counsel for the Rhode Island State Resources Board, the State Lottery Commission and the East Providence School Committee.

* James Viara ’62, who also excelled at wrestling for East Providence.
A self-made businessman, Viara during his retirement served as a mentor for young men from dysfunctional families.

Mike Scandura has been covering high school sports, college basketball and hockey and 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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