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Local high school teams making the best of a tough situation

February 11, 2013

Shea senior guard Eli Itkin, left, shoots over Cumberland guard Tom Lazaras during last Tuesday’s game at the Wellness Center. The Shea basketball team kicks off a three-games-in-three-days stretch Wednesday night at Tolman. Cumberland was supposed to host Lincoln on Monday, but the game was pushed back to Friday night. PHOTO BY ERNEST A. BROWN.

Schools in Woonsocket and Pawtucket are closed for the second straight day. In the scheme of high school athletics, one of these cities plans on playing through the elements while the other adheres to a policy that if school is canceled, so too are all after-school activities.
Woonsocket athletic director George Nasuti confirmed that Savaria Gymnasium will be open for business Tuesday night when the Woonsocket girls’ basketball team hosts Ponaganset. The Villa Novans are also sending their boys track delegation to the Providence Career & Technical Academy field house for Tuesday’s 4 p.m. Class Meet.
“The only reason why we’re not in school is because of the local roads, not facilities,” said Nasuti. “(Girls’ basketball and indoor track) are the only two events we have anyway, so we’re going to run them.”
Down in Pawtucket, the policy from the superintendent’s office is that no extracurricular activities – high-school sports is classified as such – can take place when school is called off. That means the gyms at Tolman and Shea will remain dark and quiet, with a flurry of make-up games scheduled for later in the week.
Come Wednesday night, the Tolman and Shea boys’ basketball teams will kick off a three-games-in-three-days stretch with a contest against one another at Donaldson Gymnasium. The game has been designated as the Donaldson Scholarship Foundation Game and Tolman’s “Senior Day.”
Shea and Tolman will remain at home Thursday. The Raiders welcome West Warwick in a game that was originally scheduled for last Friday and could go a long way in deciding the Division II-Central title; Shea is 10-5 while West Warwick sits at 11-4. Tolman enters the busy stretch at 7-8 in league play, which at the moment is good enough to gain admittance to the 10-team Division II tournament.
The Tigers host 9-6 Exeter/West Greenwich on Thursday and West Warwick Friday. The Raiders will get a crack at the Scarlet Knights when they hit the road Friday.
Other Pawtucket-based athletic events that were originally on the docket Tuesday include two girls’ basketball games – Tolman at Mount Hope, Bishop Keough at Shea – and one wrestling match – Tolman at Ponaganset.
“There’s not much anybody can do,” stated Tolman athletic director John Scanlon. “(The decision makers) have no control over the weather, so we’ll see what happens.”
The canceling of school in Central Falls has resulted in the postponement of Tuesday’s girls’ basketball contest with East Providence. With Davies Tech closed Tuesday, the girls’ basketball team will now take on North Smithfield Wednesday.
At St. Raphael, the hope is that the boys’ basketball game at Mount Pleasant and the girls’ basketball game at Pilgrim can still go off without a hitch despite Tuesday’s classes getting canceled.
Monday saw the R.I. Interscholastic League push back the conclusion of the regular season in boys’ hoops to Sunday. Right now there are three games on the schedule for Saturday, though it wouldn’t come as a shock to learn of more teams going the weekend route.
“We’re encouraging the schools to get the season completed as fast as possible, but this [extension] will give them some flexibility,” said Mike Lunney, RIIL assistant director.
Sunday’s scheduled conclusion marks the third time that the boys’ regular season has been pushed back. Originally, this Wednesday was supposed to mark the end before postponements prior to last weekend’s mega snowstorm resulted in teams receiving an extension until Friday.
What does this mean for the divisional playoffs? The preliminary round is now Monday, Feb. 18 with the quarterfinals on tap for Wednesday, Feb. 20. The semifinals are still set for Friday, Feb. 22 with the finals to take place Sunday, Feb. 24.
In swimming, the Division II Class Meet for boys and girls will be held Tuesday at Roger Williams University. On Wednesday, Roger Williams will play host to the Division III Class Meet.
In terms of rescheduling the hockey games that were lost over the weekend, Lunney says that the league is working on the matter.
Two “Pink Out” events are on tap this week. The first will take place Wednesday at 7 p.m. when Central Falls hosts Lincoln in boys’ basketball. Donations will be accepted at the door and t-shirts will be sold for $20. There will also be prizes with all the proceeds raised going to Coaches vs. Cancer.
On Friday, the North Smithfield boys’ basketball team will stage its second annual cancer awareness benefit as the Northmen take on Davies Tech. All the money donated at the door will go to the American Cancer Society (last year’s “Pink Out” event raised almost $2,000). In addition to coming out and supporting a worthy cause, Northmen head coach T.J. Ciolfi will be decked out in an all-pink suit.

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