Boston High School: West Warwick (R.I.)

New England Roundup: Rhode Island

February, 22, 2012
Maybe they don’t have the glamour or publicity enjoyed by perennial boys’ state basketball powers like Hendricken, La Salle and St. Raphael. But the Prout Crusaders have written one of the most heart-warming stories of the 2011-12 season.

Rhode IslandProut reeled off 15 consecutive wins (21 overall going back to last season) in Division III before it was upset, 46-42, by Exeter/West Greenwich. Then the Crusaders regrouped and won their last two games, 66-57 over Middletown and 73-34 over Mount Hope with Jordan Dumford, Justin Bristol and Eric Ramieka playing a key role in each game.

As a result, the Crusaders captured their division title with a 17-1 record and earned the 12th seed (based on power-point standings) in the upcoming state tournament.

Last year, Prout was seeded 16th and was ousted in the first round by Division I champion Cranston West.

Prout, under coach Eric Simonelli, has blown out opponents and won other games by the slimmest of margins.

Ramieka, a junior captain, has been one of the team leaders as well as its leading scorer –- averaging nearly 22 points per game.

Simonelli feels Ramieka isn’t Prout’s most athletic, player but he is the player with the most grit and determination.

What Ramieka means to Prout’s backcourt so does Bristol mean to the frontcourt.

A 6-foot-6 junior, Bristol is averaging 13 points per game and has shown a tendency to dominate the glass at both ends of the court.

In Prout’s regular-season finale against Mount Hope, Ramieka and Bristol combined to score 33 points.

A year ago a Division II team, Tiverton, came out of nowhere and reached the state finals before losing to St. Raphael.

The question is might Prout emulate Tiverton this season and inject an amazing level of excitement into the 2012 tournament?

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