Archive - Sports Article
March 2nd, 2012
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.
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.
BURRILLVILLE â History has been extremely good to the Burrillville/Ponaganset co-op team when it comes to playing Barringtonâs East Bay co-op squad.
Even since Barrington joined the girlsâ hockey varsity ranks eight years ago, the Broncos have had the Eaglesâ number. They own a 12-2 record against them, and a five-game win streak that has seen the Eagles strengthen their numbers by adding Mount Hope and Portsmouth to its co-op squad, yet the Broncos still win each time by five or more goals.
NORTH SMITHFIELD â After a rather sloppy initial half, one in which it registered 15 turnovers and had serious issues netting a bucket, North Smithfield High head coach Alisha Brannon took her troops aside and told them simply to calm down and think.
âBasically, we have a tendency to rush on offense, and the first half was a classic example,â she said. âThey try to pass too quickly or dribble past (defenders). At halftime, I told them to quit rushing and spread the floor.
WOONSOCKET -- For a team that owns a magnificent 17-1 record and has outshot its opponents by an imposing 91-12 count, itâs safe to say that Mount St. Charles hasnât experienced too many long nights at the office this season.
But there has been one team that has made life somewhat challenging for the Mounties throughout the season, and itâs not the one that topped them back in mid-December, but the one that came awfully close to doing so in each of its three meetings with the defending champs.
PROVIDENCE â In preparation for Tuesdayâs game against the Jim Calhoun-less UConn Huskies, Ed Cooley took his club to the movies. The screening didnât include popcorn and soda, rather visual evidence to demonstrate just how far Cooleyâs PC Friars have come from a mediocre showing in an exhibition game to this past weekendâs last-second escape job at DePaul.
PROVIDENCE â Itâs just not the players who burn with desire, clamoring to face the very best. Coaches too relish the opportunity to match wits and strategies whenever thereâs a noted leader of the pack residing in the opposite corner.
BURRILLVILLE â The script from Monday nightâs Division I playoff game between the Burrillville/Ponaganset co-op team and North Smithfield read the same as the one from the previous two games of their best-of-three series.
For the third straight game, the Broncos kept the majority of the action in the Northmenâs end of the rink and outshot them by a better than 3-to-1 ratio, and for the third straight game, N.S. goaltender Britney Evangelista frustrated the Broncos with another superb performance.
When it comes to predicting who will play for the three state championships on March 10 at the Ryan Center, it shouldnât take a lot of thought.
In Division I, all signs point to the two unbeaten teams, defending champion La Salle and rival Bay View. In Division II, you can take your pick among the Northâs Moses Brown (17-1) and the Southâs Narragansett and Rogers (each 16-2), and in Division III, unbeaten Juanita Sanchez and defending champ Middletown (16-3) are the clear-cut favorites.
Call it a case of good things happening to good people. Realistically, perhaps we should step back, take a big-picture view, and draw the conclusion that Mike Roose is so adept at his chosen profession that no one should be shocked by the Cumberland nativeâs meteoric rise through the Boston Red Soxâs player support chain.