WOONSOCKET â Uncertainty.
That might best describe whatâs in the mind of longtime Woonsocket High track coach George Briggs right now concerning the upcoming winter campaign.
While the numbers are big this year with more than 40 kids, the Villa Novans lost some key point-scorers to graduation, have two of their best athletes recovering from injuries and are still awaiting word if a few more are coming back this year.
CENTRAL FALLS â There were a fair share of turnovers and some sloppy play by both teams, something thatâs common for the first game of the season.
But after 32 minutes of basketball in Fridayâs non-leaguer between North Smithfield and host Central Fall, both coaches were satisfied with the effort â one that equated to a 45-34 victory in the Warriorsâ favor.
âI was very impressed, very impressed with the girlsâ energy,â said first-year coach Jayar Santos, who replaces longtime Warrior mentor Joe Handy.
CUMBERLAND â With a starting lineup comprised entirely of juniors, Cumberland head coach Gary Reedy believes that positive things are in store for his squad this winter.
The first step in the right direction took place Friday night with Cumberland disposing of Johnston, 69-60, in an Injury Fund non-league contest at the Wellness Center. Ben Bradley, one of those aforementioned 11th graders, led all scorers with 24 points while also contributing six rebounds and three steals.
WOONSOCKET â Woonsocket High coach George Coderre feels he has an experienced squad that will be competitive in Division I this season.
Two of the players Coderre expects to run the show are four-year varsity members Michelle Brayboy and Kailey Fugere.
The talented seniors gave a preview of their effective 1-2 punch in Thursdayâs non-league season-opener against Mount St. Charles Academy.
WOONSOCKET â John Flynn remembers growing up in the 1970s when Bobby Orr and the Boston Bruins transformed New England hockey, turning youngsters all over the region into hockey players eager to lace on skates and participate in the sport.
Times have changed in recent years as a sagging economy has cut into the pool of youths capable of playing the sport, which involves financial outlays by parents for skates, sticks and other equipment.
NORTHFIELD, Vt. â Lincoln High alum Anthony Joyce has earned a starting job at heavyweight for the Norwich University wrestling program.
Joyce finished fourth last weekend in the Rochester Institute of Technology tournament to continue a strong start to his sophomore season.
âI have a 14-10 record so far,â Joyce admitted over the phone on Monday night. âIâm a more well-rounded wrestler now than I was in high school. I hurt my hand in football in my freshman year of college and this year I decided to just focus on wrestling.â
For many high school boysâ basketball teams, Thursday marks the beginning of a new season â a clean slate for all involved parties with role players looking to blossom into stars, and stars seeking to take their team to the next level.
In the case of defending state champion St. Raphael Academy, maintaining the status quo will do just fine. The dawn of a fresh campaign also signifies the arrival of two Pawtucket-based high school tournaments geared towards preserving the memories of a pair of legendary city coaches.
Two years ago, a very-loaded Woonsocket High squad captured the Division I title just a year after doing the same in Div. II.
Consistently, though, it's been teams like La Salle Academy and Bay View that have ruled the state's top division for the simple reason that talented athletes often gravitate to the powerhouse parochial schools. Since the 2001-02 season, the defending champion Rams have won seven state crowns. The Bengals have only claimed one title but have been in three other finals during that 10-year span.
WOONSOCKET â Mount St. Charles evened its record at 1-1 on the season with a 5-1 victory over Burrillville on Saturday night.
Brian Belisle netted two goals for the Mounties and also assisted on two tallies. Brandon Borges, Callan Morriseau and Brian Campbell also scored for Mount, which led 5-0 before Burrillvilleâs Jake Duhamel netted a goal with 2:05 left in the game.
Jake Toback made an incredible 62 saves in goal for the Broncos. Bailey Lessard stopped 14 shots for Mount.
Burrillville 0 â 0 â 1 â 1
Mount 2 â 2 â 1 â 5
WOONSOCKET â As glorious and magical as last year was for Joe Gardner in his comeback to boxing, this year has been the complete opposite.
First, the Woonsocket super middleweight was slated to fight in his first main event in March at The Roxy in Boston and defend the EBA (Eastern Boxing Association) New England light heavyweight championship that he won the previous November, but that show was abruptly cancelled.