WOONSOCKET – It’s bad enough that the wins have come at a minimum this season – one league victory in the first seven games to be exact.
Now, head coach Kyle Ivey-Jones and his Woonsocket High squad are playing with somewhat of a depleted roster. Minus a handful of players that have decided to call it quits this winter, including starting guard Jessie Charette, the Villa Novans came up short once again on Monday night.
One painful five-minute stretch to begin the second half spelled doom for Woonsocket at Savaria Gymnasium as visiting Coventry High handed their host a tough-to-swallow 75-60 defeat. The loss dropped the Villa Novans to 1-7 in Division I-North.
Despite being in foul trouble throughout the contest, the Knotty Oakers got a game-best 27 points from senior Nate Stitchell.
“What I told the guys is a bunch of guys came in here and hustled and one guy beat you,” Ivey-Jones said. “Nate Stitchell scored 27 points in half a game because he was in foul trouble. The next person close to him had 11. He scored 27 points in basically 16 minutes of basketball. That’s pretty good. No disrespect to Nate Stitchell, he didn’t show me anything that makes me think he is going to score 27 points a game. Basically, what that means is Woonsocket didn’t play any defense and let Mr. Stitchell do whatever he wanted to do.”
Stitchell had his most damaging stretch to begin the second half. With the Villa Novans leading, 31-30, at halftime, the 5-foot-8 guard fueled an 18-0 run by the Knotty Oakers by netting seven of his team’s first nine points. The Villa Novans made a gallant effort near the midway point, but could never quite recover.
Coventry generated a good percentage of their points during its spirited run from underneath the basket by hustling through the Villa Novans’ zone defense. Just one bucket, a long jumper from Ryan Finnegan (10 points), was beyond five feet.
“The intensity level came up a lot in the second half,” said Coventry coach Tom Campbell, whose team improved to 4-3 in Div. I-South. “I brought a couple of guys in (off the bench) to bring the intensity level up. Brandon Sullivan was phenomenal today. He gave us a lot of effort, a lot of energy. He got us going a little bit. He brought a lot of energy to the team and got us to go a little faster.”
In a back-and-forth first half, Woonsocket held leads of seven points (11-4) and six points (22-16) during the first nine minutes of the game. Cody L’Heureux sparked the initial half for the Villa Novans by scoring 13 of his team-high 18 points. He nailed three of his four 3-pointers before the break.
“The first half we played OK,” Ivey-Jones said. “We had a lead at halftime. At one point we were up (seven) in the first half. At one point, we were actually keeping on the press and they we didn’t keep the press on. That’s been the story of the season for the Novans. We play in spurts. I keep telling them that you can’t play in spurts. We got to be prepared to play 32 minutes and an extra three or four if we go into overtime.”
Andreas Brackett netted 11 points for the Villa Novans and the next highest total was six from Flavio Barros.
Weather permitting, Woonsocket will next be on the court this Wednesday when it plays host to East Providence. The Villa Novans had just 11 players on the bench during Monday’s game. Charette, a star long jumper and sprinter during his sophomore year, elected to leave the team to participate on the indoor track team. Among other players that left the squad are Dennis Harmon and Jalen Evans.
“They just decided to quit,” Ivey-Jones said. “That’s all I need to say about that.”
And what about the loss of Charette, his starting point guard?
“It’s not about the loss of one guy,” the Woonsocket coach stated. “Jessie Charette thought he had a better shot doing something else. I can’t focus on Jessie Charette. No offense to him. I have a team that I got to coach. We got games that we still got to play. We can’t focus on losing Jessie Charette.”
COVENTRY (75) – Nate Stitchell 10 6-9 27, Kyle Brouillard 0 0-0 0, Doug Auger 0 0-0 0, Ryan Finnegan 3 1-4 10, Brendan Haynes 0 0-0 0, Dylan Lincoln 0 0-0 0, Mike Anzalone 1 0-0 3, Garrett Douglass 3 0-0 9, Brandon Sullivan 1 1-2 3, Sean Ledford 2 1-2 5, Matthew LeBrun 5 3-3 13, Henry Gardiner 0 0-0 0, Sean Roles 2 1-1 5. Totals – 27 15-21 75
WOONSOCKET (60) – Jarome Robinson 0 4-10 4, Cody L’Heureux 5 4-4 18, Edwin Jones 1 2-2 4, Kody Spearman 1 2-2 4, Andreas Brackett 3 5-9 11, Joshua Houle 1 2-3 4, Flavio Barros 3 0-0 6, Khalil Oliver 1 3-8 5, Brandon Rainville 0 0-0 0, Brian Cahill 0 0-0 0, Kory Lawrence 1 2-2 4. Totals – 16 24-40 60
Halftime – W, 31-30. 3-point goals – C (5): Stitchell, Anzalone, Douglass 3. W (4): L’Heureux 4.