PAWTUCKET — Pawtucket’s two public high school men’s basketball teams are now tied for first place in the Division II standings.
Tolman saw an eight-game winning streak come to an end Monday night on his home turf, as the Tigers did their best to battle a double-digit deficit before suffering a 62-57 loss to upset Burrillville, who improved to .500 with the win.
Meanwhile, Shea was minding business in his gym during his match against Johnston. The Raiders cruised to a 69-60 win that took their D-II mark to 12-2, the same record as rival Crosstown.
The Tigers, who won 57-46 over Shea in their regular season meeting on Jan. 14, and the Raiders each have four games left in their regular season.
Tolman will play four games over a five-day period which kicks off at 7pm on Friday when they host Coventry. Games against Chariho on Saturday and Lincoln and Cranston West next week will wrap up the Tigers’ schedule, and Chariho, who hosts Tolman at 2 p.m., currently sits in fifth place with a 9-4 record.
Shea is back in action tonight with a 7 p.m. game at Lincoln. On Friday at 6:30 p.m. they host Middletown, and next week they take on South Kingstown and North Providence.
Below the two leaders in the standings are Rogers (10-3), Wheeler (10-4), Chariho, St. Raphael Academy and South Kingstown (8-6). The Saints picked up their eighth win of the season on Monday night beating Cranston West, 59-50.
Prior to their loss to Burrillville, the Tigers were coming off a 75-53 home win over Hope that saw 11 of their 13 players score. Senior guard Maarten Lopes led the way, scoring 16 points on four 3-pointers. Sophomore Isaiah Gois added 15, while senior Rodney Wilson had 14. Junior Elijah Prempeh also scored eight late goals.
“It was nice to see other guys score,” Tolman head coach Bill Coughlin said. “One of our guys hadn’t scored all year and he got a free kick in there. It’s a great group of kids. They work hard.”
The offense was there for the Tigers, but the Blue Wave led the way on the boards for the first half of the game.
“We try to remember that we’re not the greatest team in the world, so you have to multi-pitch,” Coughlin noted. “It’s Saturday afternoon – a bit of a slow start – but we’ve called on their tenacity and responded.”
The Tigers led from start to finish, scoring the game’s first seven points and taking a 46-26 halftime lead. This allowed Coughlin to replace players off the bench and run different plays.
“Kids like to run and pick up the pace,” Coughlin said. “They’re selfless and a fun team to watch.”
As both defenses have intensified, the fouls have also increased. Free throws were plentiful and Hope’s Jorge Nicasio fouled early in the third quarter. The Blue Wave went 17 for 25 from the line, while the Tigers were 13 for 20.
In the loss to the Broncos, Wilson led Tolman with 19 points, Gois scored 13 and Lopes added 11, but no one else scored more than six.
As for the rest of the regular season, “it’s one game at a time,” added Coughlin. “D-II is really competitive – anyone can lose any night – but I just feel very lucky to have this group. Hopefully we can stay healthy, keep working hard and improve everyday.”