Boston High School: Michaela Wiggins

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

January, 26, 2011
For decades, Central High ruled boys’ basketball in Rhode Island.

Rhode IslandThe Knights won eight Division I state championships from the late 1960s through the late 1970s, including seven straight from the 1968-69 season through the 1974-75 campaign.

Central added two more crowns in the late 1980s and won its last title in 1992.

At the dawn of the next decade, Hendricken supplanted Central as the king of the boys’ basketball hill. Entering this season, the Hawks have won six consecutive state titles under coach Jamal Gomes.

Central gave notice it might supplant the Hawks on Jan. 20 when it routed Hendricken, 76-61, in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. But barely 48 hours later, Central received a dose of its own medicine when it was shocked, 65-61 by North Kingstown.

Central’s Robert Lewis was a factor in both games although against the Skippers not in the way he’s accustomed to being a factor.

Lewis dropped 36 points on Hendricken, which included five 3-point shots, and raised his season scoring average to 23.9 points. But against North Kingstown, the Skippers clamped down on Lewis and held him to 10 points while the winners’ Derryck Kilgore scored a game-high 23 points.

Despite the loss to North Kingstown, Central is making strides under first-year head coach Todd Keefe to restore some its past luster.

Ironically, Keefe coached Classical to a pair of state titles before accepting the position at Central.

Among other things, he’s instilled a sense of discipline and respect for opponents and officials which, in turn, has gained the Knights the respect of the Interscholastic League. And while run-and-gun ball has been a staple of past Central team’s, Keefe has his team operating more in a half-court game.

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