Boston High School: Tiverton

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

October, 10, 2012
10/10/12
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Cranston East last won a Division I Super Bowl in 1987 – which, of course, was well before the players on the current team were born.

Rhode IslandBut the Thunderbolt have an opportunity to prove they’re a legitimate contender this season when they play at defending Division I Super Bowl champion Hendricken on October12.

Coach Tom Centore’s team set the stage for this matchup of undefeated teams when it waxed East Providence, 42-20, on Oct. 5. Quarterback Alex Corvese threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers – all in the first half – as the ‘Bolt bolted to a 28-7 lead. Covese’s longest strike was a 46-yarder to Marquem Monroe. Nicholas Ferry caught a 28-yard TD pass just before halftime and, in the third quarter, returned a punt 35 yards for a score that broke the game open.

Hendricken (4-0) and La Salle (4-0) are tied for the division lead, but Cranston East (3-0) is only a half-game back and is 5-0 overall.

The Hawks tuned up for the ‘Bolt by blanking Cranston West, 36-0, as quarterback Pat Gill ran for three scores passed for a fourth. In its previous game, the Hawks whipped Tolman, 28-7, converting three turnovers into three touchdowns in the process. Gill scored on a one-yard run and also connected with Marco DelVecchio on a 52-yard scoring bomb.

La Salle remained tied with Hendricken by whipping winless South Kingstown, 39-14, as quarterback Anthony Francis threw touchdown passes of 21 and 63 yards to Keon Wilson.

PANTHERS ON THE PROWL
Johnston maintained its status as the only undefeated team (4-0) in Division II-A by mauling Coventry, 26-6.

The final score was representative of how explosive the Panthers have been this season. In those four league games, they’ve outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 154-18.

Johnston built a 14-0 lead with five minutes left in the first half, thanks to a six-yard run by Brenden Pappas and a two-yard run by Joe Santilli.

WIZARDS DISAPPEAR – TEMPORARILY
West Warwick was knocked from the ranks of the undefeated in Division II-B when it was routed, 42-14, by Shea on September 28. Dennis Lloyd paced the Raiders with three touchdowns while Tyshon Ashe added a pair.

Cumberland, who blitzed North Kingstown 41-6, moved into sole possession of first place with a 4-0 record. Quarterback Brendan Guerin led the Clippers by passing for 132 yards and three scores.

The Wizards (3-1) rebounded the following week as they pasted Pilgrim, 41-6, with Austin Paygal running for four scores – including one that covered 66 yards.

AROUND THE GRIDIRON
Elsewhere, East Greenwich toppled previously-undefeated Moses Brown, 39-21, in Division III action. Carney Crawford paced the Avengers (4-0) with 230 rushing yards and two touchdowns while quarterback Andrew Minor passed for 117 yards and three scores.

Middletown (3-0) remained a half-game behind the Avengers thanks to a 48-20 victory over Tiverton. The Islanders’ Randy Butler had a career game as he carried the ball 12 times for 149 yards and a touchdown and also returned a kickoff 70 yards for another score.

Overall, Middletown amassed 428 yards of total offense against the Tigers. Middletown gave a premonition of things to come when it belted Ponaganset, 48-7, in its previous game. Butler also was a force in that game since he scored on a 31-yard run and caught a 45-yard touchdown pass from Justin Sellers.

In other games of note:
* Mount Hope (2-2) evened its record in Division II-A by beating Woonsocket, 26-7, with Jesse Raiola rushing for 125 yards and three scores.

* Central Falls captured its first Division IV victory of the season by blanking Scituate, 42-0. Quarterback Brandon Canuto threw four touchdown passes – three to Odair Semedo.

* Classical also won its first league game, in Division III, by holding off Burrillville, 16-14. Amilcar Burganza provided what proved to be the winning score when he returned an interception 50 yards in the fourth quarter.

MILESTONE
Long-time Portsmouth boys’ soccer coach Mike Stinton recently annexed his 200th career victory as the Patriots blanked South Kingstown, 1-0. Stinton was appointed Portsmouth’s head coach in 1989.

Then, the following week, the Patriots (5-3-0) won their fifth consecutive Division I game, 5-1 over Tolman as Brendan Jumoas scored two goals and assisted on two.

RUNNING WILD
The East Greenwich boys’ cross-country team ventured north and captured the team title in the Woods Trail Run Invitational in Thetford, Vt.

The Avengers amassed 107 points – 29 better than second-place South Burlington (Vt.) High. Ben Fazio (6th), Garrett Scanlon (18th), Scott Kulm (23rd), Nat Waddell (26th) and Tom Sommer (34th) accounted for the Avengers’ scoring.

NO “MIDDLE” GROUND
What had been rumored is on the verge of becoming fact.

East Providence, which had accumulated a $7-million budget deficit and has been operating under a state-appointed Budget Commission, will eliminate middle school sports as part of a proposed plan to help get the city out of the red. Football, basketball and baseball, which have long served as successful feeder programs for East Providence High, would be the primary sports on the chopping block if the overall proposal is approved by November 1.

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

September, 26, 2012
9/26/12
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When the Rhode Island Interscholastic League was founded in 1932, Westerly was one of the original schools to play football.

Rhode IslandChariho, which is roughly a long field goal from Westerly, didn’t add football until 16 years ago.

While games between Division I teams like Hendricken, La Salle, East Providence and Portsmouth invariably dominate the headlines, Westerly and Chariho have forced their way into the spotlight.

In fact, the Chargers captured the 2011 Division II Super Bowl championship – the first in school history but five less than the Bulldogs have amassed.

Westerly made an early bid for the Division II-A regular-season title on September 21 by biting the Chargers, 35-14.

The teams were tied 14-14 at halftime but Westerly (2-0) went ahead for good in the third quarter when quarterback Phil Lynch ran four yards for a touchdown.

Westerly broke the game open in the fourth when Tom McGuire also ran four yards for a score and Rob Lamotte followed by returning a punt 45 yards for a touchdown.

Max Bumarch scored Westerly’s first touchdown when he reeled off a 44-yard run midway through the opening quarter.

RAM TOUGH
La Salle remained undefeated (2-0) in Division I by posting a pair of impressive victories.

First, the Rams overcame an 11-7 deficit and rallied to beat Portsmouth, 42-25 as senior running back Josh Morris scored four touchdowns which accounted for 24 of the Rams’ points while Tyrell Cooper returned a kickoff 87 yards for a score and later caught a 42-yard pass from quarterback Anthony Francis.

That set up a three-yard scoring run by Martin Bannerman.

Then, a week later, La Salle defeated Tolman, 42-20 with Morris shredding the Tigers’ defense for 180 yards and two scores on only 14 carries.

Francis provided balance to La Salle’s offense by completing 12-of-18 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

June, 18, 2012
6/18/12
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Over the years, La Salle Academy has won enough state championship trophies to fill a vault at Fort Knox.

Rhode IslandNow the school must make room for one that’s eluded it for years: a state championship trophy for boys’ lacrosse.

The Rams applied an exclamation point to an undefeated (14-0) season by beating Moses Brown School, 9-7, in the finals -- after losing in the finals each of the previous two seasons.

The championship also ended four years of frustration because coach Steve O’Donnell’s team had compiled the best regular-season record (54-3) during that span but had zero to show for its efforts.

What made this championship game even more noteworthy was the fact that underclassmen led the way over the Quakers (9-6).

Sophomore Peter DeSimone, who was voted the game’s MVP, scored three goals and assisted on three; junior Brady O’Donnell fired in three goals including his team’s last two which proved to be huge in the final outcome; and sophomore goalie Matt Andrews made eight saves in the crucial fourth quarter.

In other boys’ finals:

*At the risk of using a hockey metaphor, East Greenwich’s Ethan Zink scored a “pure” hat trick as the Avengers beat South Kingstown, 10-4, for the Division II championship. The Avengers (19-1) were leading by a slim 3-2 margin in the last minute of the second quarter when Zink scored for a 4-2 halftime lead. Then, Zink tallied the first two goals of the third quarter and the Avengers went on to clinch their second consecutive state title. EG goalie John Trutza came up big in net by making 19 saves.

*Smithfield senior Ryan Benoit made sure he would end his career in style by scoring three goals and assisting on another as the Sentinels whipped Narragansett, 12-6, for the Division III championship. Benoit’s younger brother, Ryan contributed three goals and two assists to the triumph.

QUAKER GIRLS “STICK” BARRINGTON
What the Moses Brown boys were unable to accomplish, the Quaker girls did, capturing a Division I lacrosse championship.

Coach Jeanne Carhart’s team completed an 18-1 season by defeating Barrington, 14-10, with senior Hannah Saris scoring two goals and assisting on five.

But what Saris meant to the Quakers’ offense so did goalie Jamie Marshall to the defense. The sophomore stopped 15 Eagles shots and earned the game’s MVP award.

Saris finished the season with 93 goals and 56 assists.

In the Division II championship game, junior middie Chloe Andrew scored four goals and assisted on three as Cumberland edged defending state champion Tiverton, 12-10.

The championship was the second in school history for the 17-1 Clippers.

OFF TO McCOY STADIUM
Hendricken and South Kingstown will make the much-anticipated bus ride to McCoy Stadium – home of the Pawtucket Red Sox – for the best-of-three Division I state baseball championship.

The Hawks punched their ticket to the finals by sweeping Coventry by identical scores of 3-2 (although the second game lasted 10 innings).

Tom Pannone, a senior pitcher/outfielder who last week was selected in the 33rd round by the Chicago Cubs, went the distance on a five-hitter and belted a solo homer in Game 1.

Then, in the clincher, Rob Hendry lined a one-out single in the top of the 10th which snapped a 2-2 tie.

Jake Newberry earned the victory by virtue of pitching three innings of scoreless relief.

Cumberland and South Kingstown split the first two games of their best-of-three semifinal series.

The Rebels won the opener, 4-3, but Cumberland evened the series with a 1-0 victory in Game 2 as Justin Patrick went the distance on a three-hitter.

The third and deciding game was over almost before it started because South Kingstown romped, 16-1. The game was called after 4 1/2 innings because of the Interscholastic League’s mercy rule.

Jeremy Swan earned the victory as he allowed only two hits and struck out six.

T.J. Lynch paced an 11-hit attack with a two-run single plus a solo home run.

Hendricken will be chasing its seventh state title in the last 10 years while the Rebels will be seeking their first since 2002.

Johnston and Prout will battle it out for the Division II title. Prout will be making is fifth consecutive trip to the best-of-three finals after beating Woonsocket in three games.

In the decisive third game, Kory Lawrence belted a two-run double and Marshall Vigneault allowed four hits as the Crusaders prevailed, 3-2.

Johnston also went to three games before eliminating Westerly with a 10-1 triumph in the final game.

Joe Bongiovanni went the distance for the Panthers as he allowed six hits. And at the plate he collected two hits which were good for three RBI.

LIONS NEAR DREAM SEASON
What were the odds before the first pitch was thrown in anger that Lincoln’s softball team would go undefeated in 2012?

Right. Don’t ask.

But that’s what’s on the verge of happening.

Lincoln upped its record to 21-0 by blanking Toll Gate, 5-0, in the Division I winners’ bracket final.

Lindsay Mayer, who’s been a standout all season for the Lions, allowed six hits and fanned 15 en route to winning her 18th game of the season.

Coventry, came out of the losers’ bracket to reach the championship round as the Oakers beat Toll Gate, 4-2, in the bracket final.

Kerrie Deliberis went the route on a six-hitter replete with 10 strikeouts to pace the Oakers’ triumph.

Elsewhere:
*East Greenwich and West Warwick will clash for the Division II title. The top-seeded Avengers prevailed 11-0 over Woonsocket in a game that was called after 4 1/2 innings because of the league’s mercy rule. The Wizards came out of the losers’ bracket thanks to an 8-5 victory over the Villa Novans in the losers’ bracket final.

*Davies Tech captured the first softball title in school history by outlasting Central, 18-10, in the Division III finals. The Patriots were led by Maddie Goodhart, Kassandra Therrien and Caterina Martinez.

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, 31, 2012
5/31/12
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In 1955 the late, great comedic actor Peter Sellers made a movie titled “The Mouse That Roared.”

Rhode IslandIf the Rhode Island Interscholastic League should decide to make a high school baseball version of a sequel it should be named “The Cougars That Roared.”

With an enrollment of barely 500 male students, North Providence is near the bottom of the R.I.I.L. when it comes to sports. But the Cougars sure know how to play baseball.

Not only did coach Dean Garganese’s team capture the Division I championship with a 17-1 record, but the Cougars also earned the No. 1 seed in the 16-team, double-elimination Division I state tournament.

The Cougars got off on the right paw by mauling 16th-seeded Lincoln, 8-3, in an opening round game.

Mike Corin (three hits and two RBI), Nick DiDino (two-run single) and Tyler Proulx (two hits, one RBI) paced the attack as North Providence moved into the winners’ bracket.

North Providence annexed the top seed by blanking Moses Brown, 2-0, in its regular-season finale as Corin blanked the Quakers for six innings and Dillon McCluskie pitched a perfect seventh for the save.

In other first-round games:
* No. 2 Hendricken (the Hawks beat the Cougars two years ago in the finals) beat No. 15 East Greenwich, 7-2, as Bill Walker belted a solo homer and Tom Pannone (who’s signed a letter of intent to play his college ball at the University of Miami) allowed two runs on five hits over six innings.

* No. 14 Chariho upset No. 3 North Kingstown, 5-3, as Jacob Marchessault went the distance on a five-hitter. With the scored tied at 3 in the top of the seventh, Jim Paquette drilled a two-run single for the Chargers.

* No. 4 South Kingstown edged No. 13 Warwick Vets, 3-2, as Nick Hayes plated all of the Rebels’ runs with two hits.

* No. 5 La Salle blanked No. 12 Pilgrim, 3-0, with Caleb Gardner and Tyler Drainville combining for 12 strikeouts. The Rams scored their runs in the third on RBI doubles by Jesse Lee, Frank DiMato and Pat Burns.

* No. 11 Coventry knocked off No. 6 Cranston East, 5-1 as Matt Laferriere went the distance on a six hitter and fanned eight in the process.

* No. 7 Portsmouth routed No. 10 Cranston West, 10-0, with Matt Peters homering to key a 13-hit attack.

* No. 8 Cumberland had to work “overtime” to dispatch No. 9 Middletown, 1-0, in 12 innings. Ryan Harris led the last of the 12th with a single, advanced to third on a wild pickoff throw and scored the only run on a wild pitch.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

May, 2, 2012
5/02/12
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Cranston West blinked first.

Rhode IslandThe Division I state baseball champion was clipped, 6-3, by 16-time state champion Hendricken.

That victory enabled the Hawks to remain undefeated and grab sole possession of first place.

Entering the first week in May, Hendricken (10-0) held a three-game lead over the Falcons (7-3).

Tom Pannone was a one-man wrecking crew against the Falcons. Besides striking out 10 he also hit a three-run homer. Pannone picked up where he left off in a 10-5 victory over East Greenwich as he fanned 11in 7 1/3 innings.

Mike King and Reed Gamache personally wrecked Tiverton in 13-0 victory. King tossed a no-hitter replete with six strikeouts while Gamache belted a grand-slam homer.

Pannone again wielded a big bat in an 8-4 win over Mount St. Charles when he smacked a sixth-inning solo homer that snapped a 4-4 tie.

HAWK SKATERS LEAD THE WAY
Not surprisingly Hendricken received the most slots on the All-State boys’ hockey team.

The state-champion Hawks, who ended Mount St. Charles’s run of four consecutive titles, placed goalie Bill Palmer, defenseman Dan Nolte and forward Matt Creamer on the First Team.

Palmer, who was voted MVP honors in the best-of-three finals against Mount, allowed only 13 goals in 15 regular-season games.

Creamer recorded 43 points in 27 overall games. But what was most noteworthy about this honor was that he became one of the very few freshmen ever to be voted First Team accolades.

Defenseman Ben Handanyan and forward Brian Belisle represented Mount on the First Team while forward Bryan Lemos represented La Salle.

TWO LADY RAMS SKATE ON FIRST TEAM
Goalie Holly Scott and freshman forward Meaghan Rickard earned First Team All-State honors for La Salle which captured the Division I state hockey title.

Scott, who was a First Team pick last year, was voted the MVP of the championship series versus Mount St. Charles.

Rickard led the Rams with 17-11-28 totals during the regular season.

Rounding out the First Team are Bay View defender Bethany Fogerty and forward Kiley Colucci plus Mount St. Charles defender Laureen Deguire and forward Brianna Castro.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

February, 9, 2012
2/09/12
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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

January, 25, 2012
1/25/12
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Buried amidst the rubble in Central Falls, which long ago filed for bankruptcy and has been under the direction of a state-appointed receiver, has been the fate of the coaches of the city’s lone high school.

Rhode IslandTo be precise, they’ve given new meaning to the words “volunteer coaches.”

Because of a budget freeze and ongoing contract negotiations between the city and the union representing teachers, Warriors coaches have been guiding their teams sans compensation.

That was true in the fall; it’s carried over to the winter sports season; and barring any change in developments the status will remain quo come the spring.

Ironically, Warrior teams have enjoyed an inordinate amount of success.

Coach Mo Jackson led CF to the Division IV Super Bowl in December.

Coach Rich Sousa took his girls’ volleyball team to the Division II semifinals.

Coach Carl Africo guided the boys’ soccer team to the Division I quarterfinals.

The other falls sports for which coaches weren’t paid are boys’ and girls’ cross country, girls’ soccer and unified volleyball.

CF’s winter sports include boys’ and girls’ basketball, wrestling, boys’ and girls’ track and unified basketball.

The spring sports slate includes only baseball and softball.

The 63-year-old Jackson, who’s the dean of Warrior coaches, didn’t learn about the lack of funding until midway through the football season.

“I was a little upset,” Jackson was quoted in The Times of Pawtucket. “But I wasn’t going to abandon the kids halfway through the season.

“I don’t know if I had known before the season started if I would have coached. After being here 20 years, I’d like the opportunity to make that decision. But you don’t get into (coaching high school sports) to make a lot of money.”

North Kingstown, to a certain extent, is in a similar position as Central Falls – although the South County town is far from bankruptcy.

However, it has a projected $1.6 million deficit for fiscal year 2013.

As a result, Superintendent Phil Auger is working on proposals that could include cuts that would impact Skipper high school teams.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
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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

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).

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

June, 21, 2011
6/21/11
1:43
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Cranston West’s baseball team picked the right time to unleash an offensive explosion -- in the third and deciding game of the Division I tournament.

Rhode IslandThe fourth-seeded Falcons were held to three hits by top-seeded North Kingstown in Game 1 of the teams’ best-of-three series which the Skippers won, 5-3.

But in the next two games, the Falcons hung a total of 35 runs on the McCoy Stadium scoreboard to capture their third state championship in the last six years. In the process, Cranston West snapped Hendricken’s run of three consecutive titles.

West’s Matt Pagano, who was voted MVP honors, lit the spark in Game 2 as he homered and drove in a total of six runs as the Falcons prevailed, 17-13.

Then, in the deciding game, Pagano tossed 5 1/3 innings of one-run, seven-hit relief as the Falcons belted the Skippers, 18-7.

West’s triumph prevented the Skippers from winning their first Division I title in 44 years.

Mike Hayden also unloaded on North Kingstown pitching in Game 3 when he hit two homers which drove in four runs.

Among other things, the Falcons prevailed in a trio of deciding games during the tournament and became the only other public school to win a state Division I baseball championship since South Kingstown did so in 2002.

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New England Roundup: Rhode Island

May, 19, 2011
5/19/11
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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

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, 24, 2011
2/24/11
1:59
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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

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.

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