Boston High School: St. Raphael

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

November, 6, 2012
11/06/12
4:24
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If they haven’t already, Rhode Island high school football fans should circle Nov. 9 on their calendars.

Rhode IslandThat’s when La Salle and Hendricken – arguably the top two teams in the state regardless of division – will meet at the Hawks’ field with the Division I championship at stake.

La Salle (6-0) and Hendricken (6-1) established that scenario last weekend when the Rams blasted Cranston East, 41-12, and the Hawks flew by Barrington, 18-6.

If the Rams prevail and also beat East Providence (1-5) on Thanksgiving, they’ll clinch the outright title plus the No. 1 seed in the Division I Tournament. But should the Rams lose to the Townies and the Hawks beat La Salle, each team would finish 7-1, and Hendricken would earn the top seed by virtue of having beaten La Salle.

All-State running back Josh Morris shredded Cranston East’s defense as he scored four touchdowns – for the second consecutive year against the Thunderbolt. Morris’s scores came on runs of 19, 20, 18 and 30 yards.

In addition quarterback Anthony Francis threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Keon Wilson and scored on a one-yard run.

In its previous game, La Salle only led Barrington 17-14 at halftime but exploded for 24 points in the second half and coasted to a 41-17 victory.

Morris again led the way by running 12 times for 122 yards and two scores.

Ironically, Cranston East was coming off one of the more dramatic victories in school history.

Coach Tom Centore’s team spotted Portsmouth a 25-point lead at halftime and then rallied for a 51-47 victory.

E.J. Isom scored on a three-yard run with three minutes left on the clock to cap the comeback and set up the Bolt’s big game versus La Salle.

DIVISION II PICTURE IN FOCUS
As a result of last weekend’s games, the pairings are set for the Division II Tournament.

Johnston (7-0), Mount Hope (5-2), Woonsocket (5-2) and Westerly (4-3) earned the top four spots in Division II-A.

In Division II-B, undefeated Cumberland (7-0) earned the No. 1 seed followed by No. 2 St. Raphael (5-2), No. 3 West Warwick (4-3) and No. 4 Rogers (4-3).

Because West Warwick, Rogers and Central each finished 4-3, tiebreakers determined the last two seeds and Central became the odd team out.

Johnston finished strong by winning each of its last two games, 38-10 over Westerly and 42-6 over Warwick Vets.

In the victory over Westerly, Evan Hopson caught a pair of touchdown passes, kicked a 27-yard field goal and converted three-of-four extra-point attempts.

Hopson was just as prolific against the Hurricanes since he again caught two touchdown passes and returned a fellow Panther’s fumble for a third score.

ISLANDERS MAKE HISTORY
Don’t waste your time delving through the record books to find the last year when Middletown completed an undefeated regular season in league play (in this case Division III).

At the least, that happened four decades ago - perhaps when the parents of the current Islanders were youngsters. And, if Middletown beats Tolman and Portsmouth in a pair of non-league games, it will record an undefeated regular season – period.

Middletown, which has outscored its opponents by a combined margin of 339-96, handed East Greenwich its first loss of the season, 20-7.

Junior Connor Ross accounted for each of Middletown’s touchdowns on runs of 13, 27 and five yards. Ross clinched the victory when he intercepted a pass with one minute remaining at the Islanders’10-yard line.

Also in Division III, Moses Brown (5-2) clinched a playoff berth by routing Burrillville, 31-13.

Andrew Howard paced the Quakers by rushing for 143 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.

KILTIES REIGN IN DIVISION IV
Mount Pleasant put the wraps on an undefeated Division IV season by blanking Central Falls, 33-0.

Randolph Zish paced the Kilties (7-0) by amassing 275 rushing yards and each of his team’s five touchdowns.

The field for the Division IV Tournament is just about set.

Hope (6-1) will have the second seed while North Providence (4-2) and North Smithfield (4-2) will battle for the fourth and final seed.

HAWKS REMAIN DOMINANT
Few teams have dominated boys’ cross country like Hendricken. The Hawks annexed their fifth consecutive state championship on Nov. 4 by scoring 44 points – 20 fewer than second-place La Salle.

Hendricken’s points were accounted for by Connor Doyle (fourth), Colin Tierney (fifth), Tyler Henseler (seventh), Alex Doherty (135h) and Collin Manning (15th).

The Hawks added the state trophy to the Class A championship they had captured the previous week.

Trevor Crawley became the first Cumberland runner to notch the state individual title in 14 years by covering the 5000-meter course at Ponganset High in 15:39.47. That time was 20 seconds faster than second-place finisher Bryce Kelley of Chariho.

BARRINGTON GIRLS DOUBLE UP
The Barrington girls may have needed a trailer to carry home all the trophies they annexed at the state cross country championships on Nov. 4 at Ponaganset.

As a team, Barrington easily captured its second consecutive state title by scoring a mere 31 points – 40 less than second-place La Salle.

In addition, freshman Emma McMillan won the individual title with a time of 18:22.99 on the 5000-meter course.

According to Interscholastic League records, McMillan is the first freshman female to win the individual championship since 1995. She finished 8.5 seconds ahead of La Salle’s Sheridan Wilbur.

After McMillan, Megan Vener-Crist (fourth), Fiona Paine (eight), Julianna Portelli (ninth) and Abigail Livingston (12th) rounded out Barrington’s first five finishers.

LINCOLN TRIO OFF TO COLLEGE
When Nov. 14 rolls around, three Lincoln High student-athletes will sign National Letters of Intent.

All-State pitcher Lindsay Mayer will sign with Virginia while teammate Emily Bouthillete will remain in state and sign with Bryant University.

All-Stater Nick Zammarell will head south and play baseball with Elon University in North Carolina.

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

April, 19, 2012
4/19/12
9:01
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Defending Division I state baseball champion Cranston West has picked up where it left off last season.

Rhode IslandThrough games of April 18, the Falcons (5-0) were tied for first place with Hendricken in Division 1 Central.

And like any good team, the Falcons are doing it with pitching and hitting.

Just check their last three games:
  • Rich Reo pitched no-hit ball until the sixth inning – the second time this season he’s lost a no-hitter in the sixth – and Frank Pettinato and Tony Crudale each collected three hits and two RBI in a 7-1 victory over Pilgrim.
  • Ryan Long scattered six hits and went the distance as the Falcons edged East Providence, 3-2.
  • Rob DeCosta led the last of the seventh with a solo home run which snapped a tie and gave the Falcons a 3-2 triumph over Cranston East.

In other games of note:
  • La Salle’s Caleb Gardner went the distance on a three-hitter, striking out 10 in the process, as the Rams beat Lincoln, 3-1. Frank D’Amato’s two-run homer and Jon Lapolla’s solo blast accounted for the Rams’ scoring.
  • Kyle Tracey threw only 95 pitches and went nine innings as Cranston East nipped Warwick Vets, 3-2.
  • Scituate’s Scott Iacobucci tossed a no-hitter, replete with 11 whiffs and only one walk, as the Spartans blanked Davies, 14-0, in a Division II-North game.
LAWSON TOPS ALL-STATE BASKETBALL TEAM
Senior forward Jarell Lawson led Central to the state basketball championship, the Knights’ first in 20 years.

Therefore, it wasn’t a surprise when he was named First Team All-State.

Lawson averaged 19 points and 10.9 rebounds for the 19-4 Knights.

Joining Lawson on the First Team are North Kingstown senior center Evan Scott (he averaged 16.7 ppg. and tied the school record with 69 blocked shots); West Warwick senior forward Ryan Lawton (20.1 ppg. and 1.35 rpg.); La Salle junior guard Tom Hunt (18.9 ppg.); and, for the second consecutive year, St. Raphael junior guard Charles Correa (20.4 ppg. and 7.5 assists per game).

Second Team honors were accorded to St. Raphael senior forward Cesar Mejia, Hope senior forward Emmanuel Kargbo, Mount Pleasant sophomore guard Kip Stewart, North Providence senior guard Austin Van Bemmelen, Westerly junior guard Austin Cilley and West Warwick senior guard John Morrison.

WAS SILVA PUSHED OUT THE DOOR?
As is the case with many schools, coaches must apply for their positions on an annual basis regardless of their tenure.

That was the case with Mount Hope head football coach Ron Silva. But in what was anything but a “harmonious meeting,” Silva exited his session with school administrators after confirming he would not apply to remain the Huskies’ coach for the 2012 season.

In five seasons at the helm, Silva compiled a 22-19 record in Division II games and guided the Huskies to the playoffs four times.

Mount Hope advanced to the 2009 Super Bowl where it was blanked, 19-0, by Woonsocket.

Silva indicated he would like to continue coaching and noted he’s already received a few offers.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

March, 22, 2012
3/22/12
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From 1968 through 1992, Central High dominated boys’ basketball in Rhode Island.

Rhode IslandUnder coaching legends Jim Adams and Don Pastine, the Knights captured 11 of 24 state championships including seven in a row from 1968-75.

Players like Rickey Santos, Marvin Barnes, Mike Hazard and current Providence College head coach Ed Cooley became household names.

But when parochial schools like Hendricken, St. Raphael and La Salle began capitalizing on their ability to draw student-athletes from all over the state, the scales titled in their favor to the point where they annexed 16 of the last 17 titles prior to this season.

Fifth-seeded Central turned the clock back earlier this month when it beat intra-city rival/14th-seeded Hope, 66-59 behind the stellar play of Jerelle Washington.

Washington, a sophomore, tossed in 28 points – 16 in the second half which enabled the Knights to overcome an 11-point deficit and clinch their 12th state title – in the first time they’ve played the Blue Wave for the championship since 1971.

The Knights finished the season with a 19-5 overall record and broke Hope’s eight-game winning streak in the process.

Central beat ninth-seeded Rogers, 54-46, in the semifinals as Daniel Mendez scored 16 points.

The Blue Wave (14-12) advanced to the finals for the first time since 2007 by defeating second-seeded La Salle, 69-65, in overtime.

Manny Kargbo scored five of his overall 24 points at the free throw line in OT to help clinch the victory.

THREE FOR THE COURT
La Salle Academy, Narragansett and Juanita Sanchez captured the Division 1, 2 and 3 girls’ state basketball championships, respectively. But while winning titles is old news for the Rams, it made front-page headlines for the Mariners and Cavaliers.

Narragansett beat Classical, 51-40, for the Division II title – the school’s first in 18 years.

Juanita Sanchez, meanwhile, claimed the Division III crown by defeating defending champion Middletown, 49-36 – the first in the eight-year history of the program.

La Salle, not surprisingly, walked off with its ninth Division I title since the 1998-99 season by outlasting Bay View, 53-49.

Narragansett’s Mercedes Harris earned MVP honors after posting a double-double with 10 points and 16 rebounds.

The Cavaliers (23-3 overall) won more than eight games for the first time in program history.

D’Asia Allen paced Juanita Sanchez with 18 points, which helped Tyrone Dale win a state title in his first season as the team’s head coach.

The “hook” in the La Salle-Bay View game was that each team finished 18-0 in its respective division (La Salle in I-South and Bay View in I-North).

Davida Dale paced La Salle with 13 points while Vandell Andrade led Bay View with 16.

RAMS CLIMB OVER MOUNT
Maybe Hendricken won’t win a gazillion state hockey championships like Mount St. Charles has over the decades. But the Hawks will cherish their most recent title moreso than most.

Why? One reason being it snapped Mount’s current run of consecutive State Championship Division crowns at four.

Secondly, the Hawks did something few teams have been able to do when they faced Mount in the third and deciding game of a best-of-three series – win that game, in this case, 5-2.

Invariably, when the Mounties drop Game 1, the running joke is they have their opponent just where they want them – in position to be swept over the final two games.

Junior Paul Filipone etched his name into Hendricken sports lore by not only scoring in overtime to give his team a 4-3 victory in Game 1 but he also scored two of the Hawks’ first four goals in Game 3.

Filipone scored once in each of the first two periods while Justin Finan drove a dagger into the Mounties’ collective hearts with a second-period goal which produced a 4-1 lead.

Mount forced a deciding game when Brian Larence made 32 saves to backstop a 3-2 victory.

ON OTHER ICE
Don’t ask why the smallest state in the country has four state hockey tournaments.

Actually, the reason is there’s such a gap between the various schools that it’s a virtual necessity.

Moses Brown copped the Division I crown by sweeping Barrington 6-4 and 4-2.

The Quakers thus ended their hockey affiliation with the Interscholastic League in style because they’ll be playing an independent schedule commencing next season.

Junior Nathan Farrington came up big in the third period of each game by twice scoring two goals. His short-handed goal in Game 2 gave the Quakers a 3-1 lead – a margin they didn’t relinquish.

Coventry retained its Division II championship by sweeping Prout 2-0 and 6-1.

Junior Mike Presola was voted tourney MVP honors after scoring three goals and assisting on two.

During their two-year championship run, the Oakers have compiled a 33-3-0 regular-season record.

“Townie Pride” has taken a blow over the last year as East Providence has been beset with serious financial problems. But the hockey team put those woes on the back burner for a while by nipping Mount Hope, 2-1, in the Game 3 of their Division III championship series.

As a result, the Townies earned their first state hockey title in seven years.

Ryan Barry was named the tournament’s MVP by scoring one goal and assisting on five others.

CHARIHO TRACKS DOWN NATIONAL RECORD
Another of the state’s smaller schools made major waves on the national track scene at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in The Big Apple.

The quartet of Dan Kilcoyne, Bryce Kelley, Jake Kilcoyne and Mike Marsella captured the 4-x-1-mile relay in a national-record time of 17:20.20 – breaking the previous mark by 1.38 seconds.

The Chargers, who’re coached by Bill Haberek, beat out such long-time powers as Shaker High (Latham, N.Y.) and Christian Brothers (Lincroft, N.J.).

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, 9, 2012
2/09/12
3:56
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At the risk of using a horse-racing metaphor, Cranston West High recorded a “daily double” when Words Unlimited announced its award winners for the 2011 calendar year.

Rhode IslandJeff Diehl, who starred in basketball and baseball, was voted the Schoolboy Athlete of the Year while Falcons baseball coach Rob Malo was voted the Schoolboy Sports Coach of the Year.

Diehl, a senior, led the Falcons to the first-ever Division I basketball championship in school history.

Then, in the spring, he hit .537 with six home runs and 27 RBI as the Falcons compiled a 13-5 regular-season record. His production was a major reason why Cranston West won the Division I state championship.

When June rolled around, Diehl was selected in the 23rd round by the New York Mets.

Malo replaced veteran and eminently successful coach Chuck Jones in 2007 – two years after the Falcons won their first Division I state baseball title since 1975.

The Falcons finished the 2011 season on top of the Division I pile as they spotted North Kingstown a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three finals and won the next two games to capture the state championship.

On the distaff side, La Salle’s twin sisters Madison and McKenzie Meehan were voted co-Schoolgirl Athletes of the Year while Barrington cross-country coach Annmarie Marino was named the Schoolgirl Sports Coach of the Year.

Last fall, Madison Meehan led the country in assists with 44 while McKenzie led the nation in scoring with 80 goals as the Rams won their fourth consecutive Division I state soccer championship.

Each Meehan also earned All-State honors the previous winter as the Rams annexed their fifth straight state indoor title.

Marino guided the Eagles to both the Class A and State championships. The state title was the first in school history since 1994.

Words Unlimited is the statewide organization of sportswriters, sportscasters and sports publicists.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
4:03
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Call it the calm before the storm – a weekend when all Rhode Island high school football teams are idle prior to their annual clashes on Thanksgiving Day.

Rhode IslandLa Salle enjoys the distinction of being the only team that’s undefeated in league play with a 7-0 record in Division I. As a result, the Rams have clinched the division title and the No. 1 seed in the Division I Tournament which begins on Nov. 29.

The Rams put themselves in that position by beating Cranston East, 35-14, with junior Josh Morris running for touchdowns of 64, 74, 63 and 38 yards.

Hendricken (6-2) clinched second place by beating Barrington, 21-13, as Ryan Brannigan threw a pair of touchdown passes to Lou Falcone and also ran for a third touchdown.

What other two teams will fill out the field is more complicated.

Currently, East Providence and South Kingstown are tied for third place with 4-3 records.

The Townies play arch-rival La Salle on Thanksgiving while the Rebels play winless North Kingstown.

Should EP and SK each win on Thanksgiving and finish 5-3, the Rebels would earn third place by virtue of their 40-12 victory over the Townies (i.e. the first tiebreaker is record in head-to-head competition).

But if the Townies lose and finish 4-4 and the Rebels win, EP would be tied for fourth with Portsmouth which plays a non-league game on Thanksgiving. However, EP defeated the Patriots 26-22 which would earn them fourth place and the last seed in the tournament.

Since Division II is split into two divisions, tournament play began last weekend with Cumberland, Central, Chariho and Westerly prevailing in the quarterfinals.

Cumberland beat Tolman, 13-9, as Ryan Gaumond scored on a one-yard run with 1:21 left on the clock.

Central whipped West Warwick, 27-12, with Mike Washington rushing for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

Chariho outlasted Mount Hope, 28-15, with quarterback Jansen Williamson rushing for two touchdowns and heaving a 70-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Cahoon.

Westerly trumped St. Raphael, 36-22, as Spencer Reed scored on runs of one yard and three yards.

As a result, Cumberland will play at Chariho and Central will play at Westerly in the Nov. 29 semifinals.

Rogers (6-1) has clinched the Division III title and the No. 1 seed in that tournament. The Vikings play a non-league game on Thanksgiving against winless North Kingstown.

Narragansett (5-2) must beat Tiverton on Thanksgiving to clinch second place while Classical (5-3) and Middletown (5-3) are tied for second. But because the Islanders edged the Purple, 27-26, they’ve earned the No. 2 seed for the tournament.

First-place Mount Pleasant has completed its Division IV schedule with a 6-2 record while North Smithfield and Smithfield are tied for second with 5-2 records. But if North Smithfield beats Scituate, the Northmen also would finish 6-2 – and would earn the No. 1 seed by virtue of their 14-12 win over the Kilties.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

October, 5, 2011
10/05/11
11:29
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The play happens about as often as Haley’s Comet soars through the skies. But it was just what a young Chariho football team needed to provide the spark for what proved to be a 34-8 rout of perennial Division II power Shea.

Senior Brandon Cahoon returned a second-quarter free kick 70 yards for a touchdown – after already having scored on a 42-yard, first-quarter run – in the II-A game which propelled the Chargers into the thick of the race for the division title.

When the Chargers (2-1, 3-1) walked off the field, they were in a tie with Johnston (2-1, 3-1) and just one game behind undefeated co-leaders Central (3-0, 4-0) and Westerly (3-0, 4-0).

“These kids are all new,” said Chariho coach Mike Kelly. “There are nine new guys starting on offense and eight new guys starting on defense. What’s happening is we’re starting to get comfortable playing together and it’s starting to click a little bit.

“But with new guys, as nice as it is, next week it could be gone. That’s what we have to be careful of.”

Spoken like a true coach. But Cahoon, for the most part, echoed his coach’s sentiments.

“Once one of us starts clicking, we all start clicking,” he said. “Before, we needed to learn our assignments. That’s why we were so slow in the beginning. Once we started clicking, we just kept moving.

“We’re on a roll now. We just won’t stop.”

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

September, 21, 2011
9/21/11
2:43
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Here’s the scary part about La Salle Academy’s 39-14 romp over defending Division I Super Bowl champion Hendricken: each of the six Rams who scored touchdowns are juniors -- repeat juniors and not seniors.

Rhode IslandWhile it wouldn’t be fair to say that running back Josh Morris stood head and shoulders above his classmates, it also wouldn’t be far-fetched.

Morris scored three touchdowns, two on runs of 21 and 38 yards, and the other on a 78-yard kickoff return to start the second half.

As for La Salle’s other juniors who figured prominently in this game, quarterback Anthony Francis (who missed half of last season with an injury) threw touchdown passes of 21 and 46 yards to Tyneil Cooper while Francis also plunged 1 yard for a score.

While this game was the league opener for each team, the victory improved the Rams’ overall record to 3-0 – during which they’ve outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 106 to 21.

Another reason why the game was noteworthy is that either the Hawks or Rams have played in every Division I Super Bowl for the last 17 seasons yet they’ve never played each other in the big game.

Finally, the result may have been a premonition of things to come because La Salle has qualified for the Division I playoffs for 11 consecutive years.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

July, 5, 2011
7/05/11
3:36
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Commencing with the 2011 fall sports season, any coach who emulates Bobby Knight on a bad day over the course of a season and “verbally abuses” an official in a “public forum” will be subject to more than a technical foul, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty or a bench minor.

Rhode IslandThe Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s Principals Committee on Athletics adopted a new policy at its June meeting that will give coaches reasons to think twice before launching into a tirade – specifically in the presence of media.

For example:
  • A coach will be disqualified for one game and his school fined $100 for a first offense.
  • A second offense will result in a two-game disqualification and a $150 fine for the school.
  • If a coach is found guilty of a third offense, he or she will be disqualified for the remainder of the season and the school fined $250. In this case, if the season ends prior to its completion, the coach will be disqualified for a minimum five games and the remaining games will carry over to the following season.

As a means of explanation, disqualification means a coach may not be in attendance for any game or games while serving the suspension – and may not participate in any pre-game warm-ups at the game site.

While coaches will have the opportunity to raise “officiating concerns” through the school’s director of athletics and principal, they will not be entitled to an appeal.

DOUBLE DRIBBLES
When the Interscholastic League last season adopted an open tournament which allowed every boys’ basketball team to compete for the state championship (which made Rhode Island one of only two states in the country with this format), it proved to be successful beyond everybody’s wildest dreams.

The league tweaked that format also at its June meeting.

First, it eliminated the three divisional tournaments that have been played for at least 45 years.

Secondly, it adopted a format that will allow as many as 32 teams over Divisions I, II and III to compete for the state championship.

Criteria will be based on a team’s winning percentage which has yet to be determined. But according to a league official who spoke on condition of anonymity, that mark could be as low as 40 percent.

The tournament will consist of five rounds which would allow completion in approximately two weeks.

In the proposal passed by the league, reasons for this new format evolved around a season that was considered too long (i.e. more often than not; the end of tournament play coincided with the start of spring sports practices) and the tournament invariably conflicted with mid-semester exams

In addition, fewer three-game weeks would pop up on schedules and coaches would have more time for teaching in practices.

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
Boys’ hockey has long been the proverbial elephant in the room (or rink) because of the private school vs. public school issue.

In an attempt to address this contentious issue, the league adopted a format commencing with next season for Division I.

Division I will be split into two leagues: the Cimini League which will consist of private schools like perennial state champion Mount St. Charles, Hendricken, La Salle and Moses Brown, and the Eccleston League which will consist of Cranston West, Smithfield, Burrillville, Lincoln, Barrington and North Kingstown – each of which is a public school.

Cimini League teams will play each other four times and cross over once while Eccleston League teams will play each other three times and cross over once.

A power rating formula will be used to rank and seed teams for the playoffs, with the top four teams qualifying for the state championship and the next four teams qualifying for the Division I Tournament championship.

For example:
  • A win against a Cimini team will earn a team two points.
  • If two Cimini teams tie, each earns one point.
  • A win against an Eccelston team will earn a team two points.
  • If two Eccelston teams tie, each earns one point.

One reason for this change – although league officials were reluctant to go on the record – was that last season private schools posted a combined 55-0-1 record versus public schools.

THERE’S MORE
The league also adopted a cap on the number of games boys’ hockey teams can play which, at face value, was a result of the imbalance between private and public school team records.

The number of overall games a team can play has been reduced from 24 to 22.

“Essentially, when the committee originally approved 24 games, it was at the request of one school which requested it remain anonymous,” said RIIL Executive Director Tom Mezzanotte. “We wanted to bring it in line with the other sports. There isn’t a reason to play 24 games.

“From the survey we sent out, we found 22 was a good number. The issue was we felt that some schools, by playing to the cap, had an advantage over schools that only could play the regular-season games. That was an issue with a number of our schools.

“We felt that by eliminating the number of games beyond the regular season would create a more level playing field.”

READ THE LARGE PRINT
The league’s blue book (i.e. rules and regulations) states in Article 7, Section 6, Paragraph D states “A high school coach may not coach prospective members of a high school club, freshman, junior varsity or varsity team during the off-season.”

It would appear Hendricken freshman hockey coach Bob Fairbanks didn’t read that section because he also was coaching a Midget team that included his son plus six other Hawk skaters.

As a result, Hendricken was placed on a three-year probation, fined $800 and head coach Jim Creamer was suspended for a number of games yet to be determined for the 2011-12 season.

LAST KICKOFF
The annual Rhode Island-Connecticut Senior Governors’ Cup All-Star Football game ended as have most of the previous games – with Connecticut rolling to a victory, this time by a 37-6 score.

Connecticut now leads the series, 10-3.

Rhode Island’s only points came on field goals of 26 and 49 yards by Cumberland’s Chad Bacon.

St. Raphael’s Trevor Vasey was voted Rhode Island’s Offensive MVP while East Providence’s Dana Andrade (who led his team in tackles and had one sack) was voted the Defensive MVP.

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

May, 19, 2011
5/19/11
2:43
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All of a sudden, there’s a hole in the East Providence High boys’ hockey program that resembles the Grand Canyon.

Rhode IslandTownie alumnus Gregg Amore, who revived a program that barely had a pulse, resigned his position earlier this month, along with his entire staff.

Ironically, his top assistant, Derek Borek, shortly thereafter was named the head coach at East Bay rival Barrington.

Granted, East Providence’s glory days of the 1970s (the Townies won the now-defunct New England championship and the Rhode Island Division I title in 1975) have been long gone. But Amore restored a great deal of respectability while playing in Division III/Met C.

Amore’s teams were 86-70-4 during the regular season and 101-78-4 overall (this includes a 15-8 record in post-season play which the Townies qualified for five times).

EP hit the jackpot in the 2004-05 season as it compiled a 26-0-0 record and captured the Division III state title – the school’s first in hockey in over 30 years.

Amore inherited a program that had only nine – repeat, nine – players. He dressed 25 last season and leaves the program in much better shape than it was when he first draped a whistle around his neck.

Borek, another Townie alumnus, replaces Ken Fogarty who resigned after three seasons on the bench. The Eagles were 14-4-0 in Division I in 2009-10 but fell to 5-12-1 last season.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

April, 20, 2011
4/20/11
2:14
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Rhode Island’s unemployment numbers are still in double figures.

Rhode IslandThe state is grappling with a budget deficit in excess of $300 million.

But if bill No. S 0438, which was introduced by Senator Louis P. DiPalma (his district covers Little Compton, Middletown, Newport and Tiverton), is passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chaffee, student-athletes would be included in a group that would take a “hit.”

The bill is named the “Payment for and Participation in School Activities Act of 2011.” Or to put it another way, it’s a pay-to-play bill.

DiPalma’s bill states in part “In view of the current economic climate, it would be beneficial to institute a policy where students from families who are capable of paying user fees for participation in extracurricular activities, while allowing flexibility for students from those families who cannot afford such payments.”

Obviously, the aforementioned extracurricular activities include sports.

DiPalma’s bill does exempt “students eligible for USDA reimbursable school meals” and allows “a family to petition for relief from such assessments based upon financial and / or other hardships.”

The fees would authorize school committees and boards of directors for charter schools to “assess students a reasonable fee for participation by a student in extracurricular activities provided that the governing body must first make a determination that the assessment of such fees is in the best interests of the school districts.”

Among other things:
  • The Rhode Island Department of Education’s interpretation of state law precludes assessment of a fee for participation in school programs like athletics. Its spokesperson expressed the opinion that activities like athletics are considered part of basic education and should be available to all – period.
  • DiPalma’s bill fails to define what’s considered “a reasonable fee.” What might be considered “a reasonable fee” in one school district could be considered onerous in another district.
  • The bill also doesn’t detail in what ways the fees would be spent. Would they go toward equipment? Would they go to paying coaches’ salaries? Etc., Etc.
  • Both the Rhode Island affiliate of the ACLU and the Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s Principals’ Committee on Athletics invariably have opposed user fees.

The bill is still under debate in the General Assembly but without question is likely to draw more opposition if it even nears the stage where it’s put to a vote.

END OF A TENNIS DYNASTY?
Don’t look now, but South Kingstown’s dominance of Division I boys’ tennis may be nearing an end – especially if Barrington has anything to say about it. First, the Eagles handed the 12-time defending state champions their first loss since the 2007 season when it posted a 5-2 victory.

Barrington followed that up, and improved its record to 6-0 in the process, by breaking Cumberland’s 39-match winning streak by romping to a 6-1 victory. Veteran coach Dick Ernst’s Eagles have reached the Division I finals in three of the last four years only to lose each time to South Kingstown. The team is led by a sextet of seniors: John Bogdanovic, Chris Ferro, Mitch Brosnan, John Volpe, Erik Weber and Riley Schwengel.

“CATCH” FALCONS’ DIEHL
The last Rhode Island high school catcher who appeared on the radar screen of college coaches and pro scouts was St. Raphael Academy’s Chris Iannetta who now plays for the Colorado Rockies.

Cranston West’s Jeff Diehl is doing his best so far to emulate Iannetta.

In the Falcons’ recent 5-3 victory over three-time defending Division I state champion Hendricken, approximately 10 college and pro scouts were in attendance in Cranston – and Diehl didn’t disappoint.

Diehl, a senior, belted a single and a solo home run; launched another shot that was caught on the warning track in right field; and also scored on a double steal.

LA SALLE STICKMEN MAKE THEIR POINT
La Salle Academy’s boys’ lacrosse team delivered a loud-and-clear message to two-time Division I state champion Moses Brown when the Rams belted the Quakers, 19-11.

Ironically, this was a rematch of the 2010 championship tilt won by the Rams.

Brad Carlson (five goals, one assist), Brady O’Donnell (five goals) and Ryan Poirier (three goals, two assists) paced La Salle to this key, early-season victory.

ODDS ‘N ENDS
  • St. Andrew’s School’s Michael Carter-Williams, who’s already signed a letter of intent to play basketball for Syracuse University, has been selected to play in the Mary Kline Classic on May 28 at The Pennington School in Pennington, N.J. The Classic is an elite, 28-player game that features top high school players from the Mid-Atlantic Region. It’s a charitable event that raises money to fight cancer with all of the proceeds being donated to the American Cancer Society and the National Brain Tumor Foundation.
  • Several student-athletes recently committed to play college sports commencing next fall. This latest group is highlighted by Exeter-West Greenwich running back Al Georgio who’ll be playing for Norwich University. Georgio, a two-time All-State selection, led the state in scoring last year with 49 touchdowns. Others include: Hendricken’s Ethan Ferreira, an All-State baseball player who’ll continue with that sport at Harvard; Portsmouth’s Tyler Oliveira who’ll be competing for the University of Rhode Island’s track and field team (Oliveira holds six indoor school records); Mount St. Charles’ Meryl Lawrence, a three-time All-Stater who’ll be playing tennis at Stonehill College; Prout’s Emily Caswell, who led the Crusaders to their first Division II basketball championship in 26 years, will be launching shots at Caldwell College; and Hendricken’s Mike Maloof who’ll be competing in track and field for Boston University.
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

April, 6, 2011
4/06/11
6:39
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After dominating Division I boys’ hockey for decades, Mount St. Charles now is taking a run at Division I baseball.

Rhode IslandMount won the last two Division II state championships but is moving up to Division I this season where it will take on the likes of long-time powers such as Hendricken, St. Raphael and La Salle.

Mount coach Tom Seaver (no relation to the Hall of Fame pitcher) stated the obvious when he said “It starts with pitching … pitching and defense.”

When it comes to pitching, Mount already has an ace in 6-6 lefthander Garrett Hayward who was 10-0 last season.

Hayward, who plays outfield when he’s not pitching, is one of six players who return from last year’s team that was 17-1.

The others include shortstop Mike Hagerman, center fielder Tim Doyle, catcher Derek Deschene, pitcher Collins Utterman and outfielders Danny O’Brien and Trevor Plante.

Seaver also will look for production from third baseman Tyler Eeffert, who will bat cleanup, and Bill Campbell who’ll bat third and play second base.

The Mounties will play in Division I-North which could be the toughest of the three divisions that comprise Division I.

“There aren’t any weak sisters in our division,” said Lincoln coach Ed Hunt. “I think we have the toughest division from top to bottom whereas in the other divisions, they’re more balanced this year.”

Here’s one reason why I-North could be brutal: it includes four private schools – La Salle, Moses Brown and St. Raphael besides Mount St. Charles.

“You can say what you want about Mount because they’ve played in Division II,” said Hunt. “But I think they’re as strong as any team in this division.”

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

March, 25, 2011
3/25/11
4:14
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Choose your cliché:

The clock struck midnight and Cinderella turned into a pumpkin.

The air went out of the balloon.

The ceiling caved in.

Rhode IslandEach of the above is applicable when describing the improbable run tiny Tiverton High made to the finals of the first open boys’ basketball tournament since 1966.

No. 5 seed and long-time Division I power St. Raphael Academy annexed the seventh state championship in school history when it beat No. 11 seed and long-time Division II / Division III member Tiverton, 58-47.

It also prevented the Tigers from writing a “Hoosiers-like” ending to what could have been a Hollywood script.

But, first, credit must be paid to coach Tom Sorrentine’s Saints, who also beat No. 9 North Providence, 66-48 in the semifinals and No. 13 West Warwick, 68-60 in the quarterfinals, and won their first state title since 2002.

Tiverton built a 24-19 halftime lead before SRA rallied behind sophomore point guard Charles Correa, who poured in a game-high 21 points and was voted tourney MVP honors.

Defense also played a key in SRA’s win as the Saints played a box-and-one defense on Gunnar Bjornson, who led the state in scoring. Bjornson did score 15 points but that was 10 below his average. And he was held to zero three-point baskets.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

February, 10, 2011
2/10/11
1:45
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For those of a certain age, it was the equivalent of the U.S. Calvary coming to the rescue in an old John Wayne movie. But there wasn’t anything “entertaining” about the facts leading up to the crisis.

Rhode IslandAs February dawned on the calendar, the Cranston School Committee was on the verge of eliminating all sports at the city’s two high schools – Cranston East and Cranston West. The move would have been part of an attempt to eliminate a projected $3.7-million deficit in the proposed school budget for the 2011-12 academic year.

But nearly at the last moment, the New England Laborers/Cranston Public Schools Construction Career Academy’s board of directors opted to transfer a $79,928 surplus from its budget to restore all varsity sports. (The latter is a joint effort of the New England Laborers Union and the Cranston Public Schools). Otherwise, the School Committee would have been left with few options and varsity sports like football, basketball, hockey and baseball would have become a distant memory.

As it is, funding is still lacking for freshman football, basketball and baseball. That was the case last year at this time but private donations enabled the School Committee to restore freshman football. But at the moment, any word of similar donations is still lacking.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

January, 12, 2011
1/12/11
11:19
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What do traffic jams on Route 95 during the rush hour and Division I boys’ hockey have in common?

Right. Congestion.

Rhode IslandEntering the second week in January, you could put a postage stamp over the top four teams after the previous weekend’s results – which, among other things, featured one of the more remarkable comebacks in the storied history of Mount St. Charles.

Mount (6-0-1) and Moses Brown (6-1-1) are tied for first place with 13 points each although the Mounties have one game in hand. Hendricken (5-1-1) and La Salle (5-1-1) are in a dead heat for second.

For the longest time last Saturday when Moses Brown played the Mount, it appeared the Quakers would exit Thayer Arena in sole possession of first place. Moses Brown led, 6-3, with just under five minutes left in regulation. That’s when the Mounties staged their improbable rally. Trevor Plante’s goal with 4:52 left sliced Mount’s deficit to 6-4 and then Mike Magerman scored twice – his second goal coming with all of 8.3 seconds left on the clock to forge a 6-6 tie.

Since neither team scored in overtime, each was awarded one point in the standings.

Ironically, the six goals coughed up by the Mounties were the most they’ve allowed in a regular-season game in longer than coach Bill Belisle would care to remember. Even more ironic was the fact that the other game on the Thayer Arena card, between La Salle and Hendricken, also ended in a tie – 3-3, after the Hawks rallied from a three-goal deficit.

PASSAGES
Words are impossible to find when describing the tragedy that occurred on January 6 when former Harvard star, multiple-All State hockey pick and NHL player Tom Cavanagh was found dead in the Providence Place Mall garage.

Cavanagh, 28, went right from Toll Gate High to Harvard and later signed with the San Jose Sharks.

In both his junior and senior years, he led the state in scoring and was voted First Team All-State honors. Cavanagh played on the 2004 Titans team that broke Mount St. Charles’ national-record 26 consecutive state championships.

FUTURE FRIAR
Johnston’s Noel Acciari will be playing his college hockey at Providence College.

Acciari began his interscholastic career at Hendricken and earned 2009 First Team All-State honors. He then transferred to the Kent School where he was elected a co-captain and was voted Most Valuable Player in the Avon Old Farms Christmas Tournament.

DON’T OVERLOOK MOUNT GIRLS

While the Mount St. Charles boys’ hockey team invariably tends to overshadow the girls’ team, there’s no overlooking the fact that the Mount girls are one of the premier female teams in the state.

What’s noteworthy about the 2010-11 team – which was 6-0-0 through January 9 – is its depth. Mount coach Steve Shea lost five players through graduation, including All-Staters Katie Loiselle and goalie Kayla DiLorenzo. But he returned the rest of the team and welcomed a handful of freshmen.

Shea’s current team is led by the first line of senior wings Erin Rouleau and Samantha Smith plus sophomore center Danielle Allain.

BIG-TIME VICTORY
Barrington’s St. Andrew’s School over the years has developed a reputation as one of the top basketball prep schools in the nation. But the team out-did itself by upsetting nationally-ranked/traditional power DeMatha Catholic High, 49-46, in the Cancer Research Classic in Wheeling, West Va.

DeMatha came into the game ranked seventh in the nation with a 12-0 record. But Michael Carter-Williams tipped in a missed shot with 18 seconds left in regulation for a 47-46 lead and clinched the victory by sinking two free throws shortly thereafter.

Carter-Williams finished with 26 points, 6 rebounds and 6 steals while Cedric Kuakumensah pulled down 10 rebounds and blocked 6 shots.

DOUBLE DRIBBLES
Gunnar Bjornson scored 25 points, burying four 3-point shots in the process, as Tiverton beat Portsmouth, 69-47, in the finals of the East Bay Christmas Tournament.

Bridget Hollenbeck and Kelsey Cahill scored 13 points apiece as Cumberland beat Mount St. Charles, 48-35, in the Smithfield Boosters Holiday Tournament championship game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Smithfield and Westerly invariably aren’t confused with Rhode Island’s traditional boys’ basketball powers like Hendricken, La Salle, St. Raphael and Central. But the Sentinels and Bulldogs may bear watching this season if for no other reason than a pair of front-court players.

Smithfield’s Kyle Morvan is a 6-4, 220-pound center who in the early going was averaging 23.2 points in Division I. He also was voted to the Keene (N.H.) Holiday Tournament All-Tournament Team. Morvan earned Second Team All-State honors last season and, obviously, is on track perhaps to do even better.

Westerly’s Zach Wells is a 6-4, 190-pound power forward who through his first eight games was averaging 16.7 points against Division II competition.

ONE FOR THE BOOKS
Chariho senior Innocent Jacobs smashed a 22-year-old Rhode Island state record in the boys’ indoor long jump by leaping 23-feet, ½-inch in a recent dual meet.
The previous record was 22-11 set by Hope’s Dennis Soares.

Jacobs also displayed his versatility in the meet by clearing 6-10 in the high jump.

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, 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.

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