WOONSOCKET – Woonsocket High has some pieces of the puzzle in place but seems to be lacking one key position that would create a competent offensive unit.
“We haven’t had a point guard for two years,” head coach Kyle Ivey-Jones said after his Villa Novans played hard and without much cohesion during a 71-53 loss to Mount Pleasant in the Division I-North opener for both teams on Friday night.
Mount Pleasant is annually one of the league’s most talented teams and this year’s Kilties squad is no exception. M.P. certainly can run the floor on offense and create havoc on defense. The visitors ran off to a 9-0 lead before Woonsocket dug in and cut its deficit to 17-15 on a pair of free throws by Cody L’Heureux, who would finish with 20 points on the night.
The Kilties then turned to their pressure defense and raced to a 29-18 lead as Woonsocket’s turnovers, many of them unforced, began to pile up.
“We finished with 32 turnovers,” Ivey-Jones said. “I saw a lot of positives tonight but the negatives overpowered the positives. We have to take better care of the basketball.”
The Villa Novans can be a physical team. Forward Andreas Brackett battled hard under the boards, as did Brandon Rainville, Alonzo Ocasio and Elibel Bonilla.
Shooting guard Demetri Lewis finished with 10 points, fearlessly driving to the basket between Mount Pleasant defenders.
L’Heureux, a gifted shooter, was doubled every time he got the ball in the first half but finally found some shooting room as the half wore on. He finished with eight points in the first half and 12 after intermission, also showing a willingness to mix it up with the Kilties.
Woonsocket played without forward Kory Lawrence, who is sick and watched the game in his street clothes. Point guard Khalil Oliver also sat out with an injury, leaving the position to junior Juwan Simpson and third-stringer Ethan Bouzan.
Woonsocket had trouble getting the ball into the center of the court against the athletic Kilties, who jumped into passing lanes to steal passes and disrupt any offensive flow that Woonsocket attempted to sustain.
The Villa Novans never gave up and actually cut their deficit to 58-48 with seven minutes left in the game before Mount Pleasant went off on its final run of the night.
Woonsocket, now 0-1 in league play, will visit La Salle on Tuesday.
MOUNT PLEASANT (71) – Jovel Beckford 5 0-0 12, Edward Cooper 1 1-2 3, Zdahmond Dale 2 2-4 7, Titus Kargbo 1 0-0 2, Rodney Keith 0 0-1 0, Tyreek McPhail 2 0-0 5, Jayquan Monteiro 3 0-0 7, Joseph Putu 4 2-3 10, Kip Stewart 7 0-0 14, Kahlil Thompson 4 3-6 11; totals 29 8-16 71.
WOONSOCKET (53) – Elibel Bonilla 0 0-0 0, Andreas Brackett 3 4-6 10, Demetri Lewis 4 3-3 11, Cody L’Heureux 7 5-8 20, Brandon Rainville 2 0-0 5, Juwan Simpson 0 0-2 0, Alonzo Ocasio 0 2-4 2, Ethan Bouzan 0 3-4 3, Gabe Rodriguez 1 0-0 2, Kelvyn Valentine 0 0-0 0; totals 17 17-25 53.
Halftime: Mount Pleasant, 36-25.
Three-point field goals: MP – Beckford 2, Dale 1, McPhail 1, Monteiro 1. Woonsocket – L’Heureux 1, Rainville 1.