WOONSOCKET – With 10 losses in his first 11 league games, Kyle Ivey-Jones isn’t thinking about playoffs anymore. The Woonsocket High coach would just settle for a win.
Unfortunately for Ivey-Jones, the frustration continued for his Villa Novans on Friday night in a Division I contest with visiting Cranston East, who left Savaria Gymnasium with a 76-48 rout. Twenty-four turnovers by the Novans and a dominating inside presence from the Thunderbolt were the glaring statistics in the latest setback.
The loss dropped Woonsocket to 1-11 in I-North and officially knocked them out of the playoffs.
“That’s not what we were looking at,” Ivey-Jones said. “We are just trying to get a couple of wins and end the season on a good note.”
Cranston East improved to 5-6 in the league, but its sub .500 record is a bit deceiving. Except for a 31-point blowout defeat from Central way back on Dec. 13, the remaining losses have been by five or fewer points, including a 56-51 decision to seven-time defending state titlist Bishop Hendricken last Saturday.
“This team is resilient,” said Cranston East coach William Coughlin. “I have two football guys on this team. I think that their work ethic and their mindset of grinding things. It’s easy to be on top of the world when you win games. These guys come to work every day working hard, even though we’ve lost a few.”
The Thunderbolt had three players hit double-digits with John Razzino netting a game-high 14 points and teammate Robert Bell and Patrick Marchand each scoring a dozen. Flavio Barros was the top scorer for the Novans with 10 points.
While the turnovers were costly, the Villa Novans also had trouble contending with the Bolts’ speed and their inside game. Cranston East had just a handful of outside shots, but scored the bulk of their points by going straight to the hoop. Marchand, one of the Thunderbolts’ tallest players at 6-foot-5, generated most of the havoc underneath. He had more than a dozen rebounds and also dished out quite a few assists to his teammates.
“I think we have the best center in the state, Patrick Marchand,” Coughlin said. “I think when you have a guy like him you want to take advantage.”
Woonsocket never led in the game. The Villa Novans did chop the deficit to as little as four points twice near the midway point of the first half. But after Edwin Jones (six points) scored on a putback to whittle the score to 16-12, Cranston East took over. The Thunderbolts responded with a 13-2 run in a four-minute span to take a 29-14 advantage. During the stretch, the visitors scored five of their buckets off of layups with Marchand netting a couple and also feeding Razzino on his second layup of the streak.
Cranston East held a 35-22 lead at the break.
“There was a lack of talking on defense,” Ivey-Jones said. “There were no rotations, and the biggest key was turnovers.”
Woonsocket never could cut into its double-digit deficit in the second half as Cranston East continued to pester the Novans with their constant flow to the basket. Ahead by a score of 53-40, the Thunderbolts outscored Woonsocket, 15-6, in the next four minutes and never looked back.