Boston High School: Providence Country Day

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.

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

November, 2, 2011
11/02/11
6:02
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Is there any sports fan who hasn’t heard that cliché’ “picking up the slack?”

Rhode IslandThat’s exactly what Division I leader La Salle Academy did on October 28 when the Rams overcame the loss of quarterback Anthony Francis, who was sidelined with an ankle injury, and still throttled playoff contender Cranston West, 30-6.

Junior running back Josh Morris certainly picked up the slack in his teammate’s absence by scoring on touchdown runs of 22 and 51 yards in the first half as the Rams remained on top with a 6-0 record.

La Salle also received a lift from backup quarterback Jack Collins who came off the bench and scored on runs of two yards and one yard.

As a result, La Salle has outscored its six division opponents by a hefty margin of 234-86 and is in position to run the table which would enable coach Geoff Marcone’s team to clinch the division title and the top seed in the upcoming playoffs.

But as is frequently the case, the title and the No. 1 seed won’t be decided until Thanksgiving Day when the Rams play arch-rival East Providence (4-1) in the state’s longest-running series on that holiday.

The Townies ventured to Massachusetts last weekend and were blanked, 26-0, by Foxborough in a non-league game – due in large part to the fact they committed seven turnovers. But the previous weekend, East Providence moved into title contention by beating third-place Hendricken (4-2), 35-14, as quarterback Brandon Peters threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Victor Adewoski and ran for a pair of touchdowns.

Should East Providence and La Salle enter their Thanksgiving game still ranked 1-2 in the standings and if the Townies win which would force a tie, they would earn the No. 1 seed based on the first tiebreaker (record in head-to-head competition).

(Read full post)

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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