Archive - Sports Article
March 13th, 2012
PAWTUCKET â Ask Jessica McLaughlin her highlight as a Tolman High cheerleader in the early 2000s, and she answers immediately.
âWe went to the AmeriCheer National Championships at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. my senior year (2003), and we actually made it to the finals,â the still-perky McLaughlin explained. âWe ended up fifth in the country out of 18 teams, and I still think about it. I remember the pressure of making it to the final round, and the feeling of accomplishment that came with it.
PROVIDENCE â The drive for five ran out of gas.
Mount St. Charlesâs bid for a fifth straight state crown and 43rd in its storied history came up short on Monday night in Game 3 of its best-of-three State Championship series with Bishop Hendricken.
The Hawks, who had lost to the Mounties in three of the last four title series, were finally able to take home a championship at their rivalâs expense before a full house at Providence Collegeâs Schneider Arena by grabbing a 5-2 win.
Joe Gardnerâs return to the super middleweight ranks was a triumphant one.
The Woonsocket Boxing Club veteran, who went 0-3 as a light heavyweight a year ago, returned to the win column in his old weight class this past weekend on Big Six Entertainmentâs âWhoâs Next?â card at the R.I. Convention Center in Providence.
Gardner seized an all-Blackstone Valley showdown with Pawtucketâs Rameil Shelton by claiming a four-round unanimous-decision victory by scores of 40-36, 39-37, and 39-37.
You read and hear the names of highly visible, sought-after recruits only to see later in the same sentence that Ed Cooley is right there in the trenches, making inroads with the Jakarr Sampsons of the world.
CUMBERLAND â Now that he's decided where he will attend college, Cumberland High senior pitcher Justin Patrick â a 6-5, 205-pound righty â just wants to focus on the next task at hand: Helping the Clippers to an outstanding Division I-North campaign and securing a playoff berth later this spring.
âI personally think we can get to states this year,â Patrick stated Thursday afternoon as he relaxed inside the school's Wellness Center. âThe last couple of years, we played OK as a team, but I don't feel we reached our potential.
WOONSOCKET â Last week, when Rhode Island Interscholastic League officials asked East Providence High head coach Kevin Croke where he wanted to play his home games in the Division III playoffs, he selected Adelard Arena, the home of Mount St. Charles Academy.
âWe donât practice at Lynch Arena (in Pawtucket), and we only had five games there this season,â Croke reasoned. âTolman practices there, so we figured, âWhy give them home ice (for all three semifinal tilts)? Thatâs why we wanted it up here.â
PAWTUCKET -- They donât share the same practice facility anymore, but that doesnât mean the rivalry between Tolman and East Providence has lost any luster this season.
Their two regular-season meetings â a 3-0 Tolman win on New Yearâs Eve and a 4-1 E.P. victory on Jan. 28 â were hard-fought, physical battles that saw a lot of penalties and hard feelings between the two Blackstone Valley rivals.
That being said, expect another royal slugfest this weekend when the teams renew acquaintances in the best-of-three Division III semifinals.
When Courtney Kent took to the starting blocks for the R.I. Interscholastic Girls Swimming Championships at the University of Rhode Islandâs Tootell Natatorium back on Feb. 25, she desperately wanted to defend her titles in the 200- and 500-yard freestyles.
Naturally, it had something to do with her desire to achieve personal-best times â not to mention proving to herself she still was the Ocean State's fastest â but much more so to show her father, Michael, how much she had improved over the years.
NEW YORK â In some ways it was an ending, as in the end of the season for Providence College. In other respects, Tuesday nightâs 79-47 bludgeoning at the hands of Seton Hall in opening round of the Big East Tournament can be viewed as the official jumping-off point to the Ed Cooley era.
Cooleyâs first season at PC ended in futile fashion, his club suffering a 32-point defeat that goes in the books as the largest loss margin for the Friars in their Big East tourney history. Providence has now dropped 14 of its last 16 conference tournament games.
NEW YORK â Wednesday morning will see the presidents and athletic directors from the Big East gather in a central location. The guest list will include party crashers in the form of representatives from the schools in line to join the league.
Wouldnât you like to be a fly in that room?
âI think theyâll introduce some of the new members and [league president John Marinatto] is going to give us an update to where we are on a lot of issues,â Providence College athletic director Driscoll remarked. âIt should be a good meeting and Iâm looking forward to it.â
PROVIDENCE â Itâs a whole new ballgame for T.J. Sorrentine, one that holds the potential of yielding big dividends down the road.
As of this moment Sorrentine is the interim coach at Brown University, the new title bestowed upon the Pawtucket native after the school dismissed head coach Jesse Agel on Monday. Sorrentine was informed of his reclassification during a meeting with outgoing athletic director Mike Goldberger after learning earlier in the day that Agel would not be retained.
âGoing into that meeting, I didnât know what to expect,â Sorrentine said when reached Monday night.
PROVIDENCE â Vincent Council provided the type of response that epitomizes the mindset of the Providence College Friars heading into the Big East Tournament.
To summarize, the junior doesnât expect the Friars to be a one-and-done casualty, their season ending at the hands of Seton Hall on Day 1 of the five-day mad dash leading up to a hoops coronation at Madison Square Garden.
PROVIDENCE â In the end, it wasnât meant to be for head coach Alisha Brannon and her North Smithfield squad.
Despite North Smithfield putting forth a gutsy and determined effort in the face of long odds, the Northmen saw their season come to a close Monday night in the Division III semifinals at Rhode Island College.
Led by 29 points from senior Sandy Kun, top seed and unbeaten Juanita Sanchez held on for a 53-49 victory.
PROVIDENCE â Those who are driven to excel fully understand the magnitude of qualifying for the New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championships.
With that qualification comes an expectation of success, and â when it doesn't come â the hurt runs remarkably deep.
PAWTUCKET -- Tolman scored three power-play goals in the first 10:07 of play and never looked back on Friday night as the Tigers skated to an easy 9-3 win over Scituate in Game 1 of their best-of-three Division III quarterfinal-round series at Lynch Arena.
The third-seeded Tigers (13-4) will try to sweep the sixth-seeded Spartans (5-11-1) tonight when the series resumes at 7 p.m. at the Smithfield Ice Rink.
PROVIDENCE â In the person of Carl LaBranche, the R.I. Interscholastic League and Providence College benefited from having an ace in the hole.
The underlying reason why PCâs venerable Alumni Hall gym is the site for Sundayâs âElite Eightâ round of the open state tournament is due to the communication and negotiating skills tapped by LaBranche in harmonizing this project. With this Pawtucket native (Tolman High School Class of 1970) serving as the point man, LaBrancheâs vision of opening Alumni Hallâs doors to the stateâs high school basketball sector became a reality.
SMITHFIELD â Thursday night on the Bryant University campus saw St. Raphael meet its maker in the form of a deep-scoring Classical team, something the Saints desperately tried to evolve into over the course of the 2011-12 season.
Alas, it never materialized. The Saintsâ 69-61 loss in the âSweet 16â round of the open state tournament served as one final reminder of what can happen when a team puts multiple scoring threats on the floor simultaneously. Thatâs exactly what the upstarts from Classical did by placed four players in double figures led by 26 points from Ismael Batista.
SMITHFIELD â St. Raphael Academyâs reign as defending state champs has come to an end â an abrupt one at that.
It was Classical springing the upset Thursday night at Bryant Universityâs Chace Athletic Center, the 13th-seeded Purple receiving multiple contributions up and down the lineup in a 69-61 âRound of 16â victory over the Saints. Classicalâs Ismael Batista was virtually unstoppable in second half where he netted 16 of his 26 points. Charles Correa led SRA with 26 points on six 3-pointers.
PHILADELPHIA â Pawtucketâs Brittany Wilson, a junior guard on the La Salle University womenâs basketball team, recently earned a spot on the Atlantic 10 All-Conference team as a Third Team All-Conference pick.
Wilson has helped power La Salle to its best Atlantic 10 season since the 2006-07 season. The Explorers went 7-7 in league play and earned its second straight Atlantic 10 Tournament berth and the No. 8 seed in this weekend's tournament.
Three months of regular-season games have now boiled down to three weeks of state tournament action.
And for five of the six Blackstone Valley teams that qualified for the playoffs, the âsecond seasonâ commences tonight at arenas throughout the state.
While the opening weekend of the postseason had long been reserved for the quarterfinal-round series, that wonât be the case this winter in the new State Championship playoffs, which along with the Division I tourney, jumps right into its semifinals this weekend.