Archive - Sports Article
February 8th, 2012
CUMBERLAND â The best wrestling dual-meets build slowly, bout by bout, to a crescendo. Each match is important. Results in the earlier bouts lay the foundation for dramatic outcomes late in the contest.
Thatâs what happened on Wednesday night at The Wellness Center when an estimated 400 mat-crazy spectators watched Rhode Islandâs only two unbeaten Division I dual-meet teams square off. Cumberland, carrying the burden of a 52-match winning streak nearly three years old, hosted a 13-0 Bishop Hendricken team most experts gave a slight advantage heading into this showdown.
PAWTUCKET â Tom âSaarâ Sorrentine has been around the coaching block enough times to know that making adjustments goes with the territory. With his St. Raphael Academy outfit having dropped two of its previous three games heading into Tuesday nightâs contest with Coventry, Sorrentine was more than justified in his desire to shake things up.
LINCOLN â There are wins and there are BIG wins.
For Davies Tech, this one has to be listed under the latter category.
With their playoff fate in Division III more than likely being determined in the final week of the league season, the Patriots scored a crucial victory over North Smithfield on Tuesday night by eking out a thrilling 37-36 decision on their home court. Sophomore Waleska Kelly fueled a total team effort by Davies, netting 12 points along with nine rebounds, seven steals and six blocks.
How important was this triumph for Davies?
âItâs not about this week,â Tolman High basketball coach Mike Kayata was saying on Monday. âItâs about having your team ready when the playoffs begin.â
Kayata was just voicing the sentiments of most area coaches who are priming their teams for the state open tournament that is scheduled to begin on Feb. 24. A field of 32 teams will begin play that night. Tolman High, just 6-7 in Division II right now, hasnât even reached the eight-win qualifying standard yet.
Steve Gordon has been coaching Cumberland Highâs wrestling program since time began. Well, not quite. Just since he got the program started back in 1969. Thatâs 43 years, if youâre counting.
The 70-year-old coach spent many of those early years trying to build his program from the ground floor up, creating a wrestling community in Cumberland, one or two parents at a time, that formed the foundation for his program.
Gordon learned a lot from the Coventry High School wrestling program, a dynasty that produced 17 straight state championship teams between 1982-98.
PROVIDENCE â There are times that Ed Cooley must feel like heâs being pulled in a thousand directions.
On one hand, Cooley is trying to build a program befitting of his workmanlike image. In order to accomplish that, the first-year PC head coach needs players that compliment this ideal. Based on the buzz surrounding one of the nationâs most talked about recruiting classes, Cooley has allowed Friar fans to dream big about what the future may hold.
PAWTUCKET â East Providenceâs 2-0 victory over previously undefeated Johnston/North Providence was definitely the big news in Division III over the weekend.
âSurprised?â Tolman coach Steve Reynolds said, repeating a question on Sunday morning, 12 hours after his team completed a 10-0 romp over Warwick Veterans. âA little bit. But East Providence is a very good defensive team and they are physical. Plus, itâs tough to go undefeated for the whole season.â
PROVIDENCE â Five additional minutes seemed like a risky proposition for the Providence Friars. Turns out it was.
The final verdict, an 87-84 nail-biter in West Virginiaâs favor, only re-opened the wound regarding how PC let Sundayâs Big East contest slip away. Missed free throws coupled with an inability to snatch rebounds on the defensive end were the main culprits. The two bugaboos came back to bite the home team hard when Mountaineers senior Daryl âTruckâ Bryant calmly and coolly splashed in a 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining in OT, breaking what was a 84-84 affair.
PAWTUCKET â Friday night saw North Kingstown lay out a blueprint that took St. Raphael Academy far away from its comfort zone. Time will tell if the Saints will be able to react with a counterpunch that places them back in the realm set aside for championship contenders.
WOONSOCKET --- Pilgrim didnât win the battle of numbers on Friday night, but the Patriots won a very big game against Cumberland, a âWâ that vaulted them over the Clippers and into first place in the Division II-North standings.
Senior center Cody Weaverâs second goal of the game with 2:14 to play in the game lifted the visiting Patriots to a hard-fought 3-2 triumph in a battle of two shorthanded teams at Adelard Arena.
PAWTUCKET â The look on the face of Burrillville High coach Lindsay Rachlow said it all. She wasnât out there with her players during Friday nightâs Division II-North contest with Tolman, but she certainly showed the exhaustion of playing a fierce battle with the Tigers.
It was a battle that her Broncos managed to win, eking out a 48-47 victory over Tolman before its typically-loud fan base at the Donaldson Gymnasium.
PAWTUCKET â The past 15 months have felt like 15 years to Pete Jeffrey.
Itâs been 15 long months since the veteran lightweight and the co-owner of Tri-Force MMA in Pawtucket has stepped into the octagon for a fight, and the last time fans saw him in action, on Sept. 17, 2010, he electrified a sellout crowd at the Twin River Event Center by recording a huge third-round TKO of previously-undefeated Saul âThe Spiderâ Almeida.
Division II might be the most interesting basketball league in the state. Too bad the Interscholastic League picked this year to drop division tournaments in favor of one open tourney to culminate the hoops season.
Take a look at Division II right now. Rogers High of Newport and West Warwick lead the way with identical 11-1 records. Rogers walloped the Wizards 64-41 on Wednesday night. The Vikingsâ only loss this season came at the hands of a Shea High squad that is 9-3 and just added a 6-foot-6 center to its lineup.
PROVIDENCE â How do you cure those Friar blues? Answer: a visit from the Scarlet Knights.
Despite playing two very uneven halves Wednesday night, Providence was able to secure a rare Big East triumph at the expense of Rutgers, 78-67. The win snaps a four-game losing streak for the Friars, who placed five players in double figures led by strong performances from Bilal Dixon (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Vincent Council (11 points, 14 assists).
âI thought today was our day,â said a clearly-relieved Ed Cooley, his Friars now 2-8 in the league and 13-10 overall.
PAWTUCKET â If Mike Tamburro were to take a page from late night talk show David Letterman and compose a top 10 list based exclusively on all the achievements and accolades bestowed upon him over the years, chances are the exercise would tug at the heart of the team president of the Pawtucket Red Sox.
CUMBERLAND --- Shea coach Matt Pita got exactly what he wanted from his ballclub on Tuesday night â 32 minutes of smart basketball â and because of that, his Raiders picked up a surprisingly-lopsided victory over Cumberland.
Six-foot-six center Michael Neal produced a game-high 15 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocked shots to power a balanced scoring assault by the Raiders and help them bus home with a resounding 77-46 triumph at the Clippersâ Wellness Center.
The next time you visit Youtube.com, do yourself a favor and type in âWill Blackmon Recovery.â The segment is only 10 minutes in length and offers terrific insight into someone whoâs been repeatedly knocked down throughout his six-years-and-counting NFL odyssey, only to refuse to stay down for the count.
CENTRAL FALLS â Call them the Iron Five. They are Tolmanâs Justin Zetina, Napoleon Johnson, Mamour Samb, Jonathan Percy and Brandon Gagne, a group of Tigers who played every minute of Tuesdayâs important Division II clash with Central Falls.
With suspensions forcing head coach Mike Kayata to shrink his playing rotation, the Tigers rode the same cast of the players from the opening tip to the final buzzer. Tolman gutted out a much-needed 65-53 win on C.F.âs home floor, one that signaled the end of a four-game losing streak for the Tigers.
Two high school hoops games stand out above the rest tonight. And theyâre both Division II crossover contests.
Tolman, 4-7 with seven games left in the regular season, visits Central Falls (6-5) in the first meaningful game. The Tigers seek to end a four-game losing streak that has jeopardized their playoff hopes. Those hopes were not helped on Monday when leading scorer Juan Velez (20.8 points per game) and starting forward Seny Samb, a solid defensive player, were suspended for violating school disciplinary rules.
CUMBERLAND â After surviving a staph infection scare that shut down the Cumberland High wrestling program for a week, the Clippers return to the mat this week for a pair of tough matches with La Salle Academy and Cranston West.
âEvery match we have from here on out is going to be tough,â Cumberland coach Steve Gordon admitted on Monday. âNext week, we host unbeaten Hendricken and the week after that we visit Warwick Veterans. Both of those teams are state title contenders.â
Gordon is just happy to have his team wrestling again.