PROVIDENCE – There were not too many onlookers that figured Monday night’s Division III semifinal contest would be a close affair.
The late game pitted top-ranked Middletown, a team with just one loss on its record, versus No. 5 seed Davies Tech, a .500 ballclub.
Add the fact that the Islanders defeated the Patriots by 26 points in their last meeting on Feb. 24.
A blowout certainly seemed inevitable, but head coach Gerry Suggs and his gutsy squad never let it happen.
The Patriots made the Islanders sweat it out until the final seconds before dropping a heartbreaking 30-29 loss at Rhode Island College.
Sophomore Kaitlin Flynn netted a game-high 11 points and freshman Waleska Kelly added nine.
“They beat us two weeks ago, 41-15,” Suggs said. “They embarassed us. They are a great team. They are the number one team in the division. My kids went back into the gym and we just said, 'No!' We are going to do what we are told. We are going to work hard.
“We got some of the boys to come in an practice every day and we just really worked hard. We said we are not giving up points. We are not letting a team score 35, 40 points off us. We couldn't get the basket at the end.”
Davies trailed Middletown by seven points at halftime and with just over four minutes left on the clock were down by a half dozen (28-22).
Kelly spurred her team to its exciting finish. She scored on a layup with two minutes to go. She then hit a free throw and hit another bucket with 1:15 remaining to get Davies within a point at 28-27
After the Islanders' Chelsea Dowler couldn't complete a three-point play after getting fouled on her basket, the Patriots' Elizabeth Arruda closed the game again to a single point with her free throw with six seconds to go.
The Patriots just ran out of time from there. Middletown will play Central for the D-III state championship at 11 a.m. on Saturday at URI’s Ryan Center.
DAVIES (29) – Elizabeth Arruda 2 2-7 4, Kaitlin Flynn 2 6-8 11, Jessika Morales 0 0-0 0, Rosaliz Torres 1 0-0 3, Waleska Kelly 4 1-3 9. Totals – 9 9-18 29.
MIDDLETOWN (30) – Glenn Murphy 1 0-2 2, Chelsea Dowler 4 1-5 9, Lauren Paiva 2 1-3 5, Kristen Perry 3 1-2 7, Nina Traglia 2 0-4 4, Taylor O'Malley 0 1-4 1. Totals – 12 6-24 30.
Halftime – M, 17-10. 3-point goals – D (2): Flynn, Morales