Clippers repeat as Roadshow champions

Clippers repeat as Roadshow champions

Posing for a picture during last Wednesday night’s Roadshow Holiday Classic post-game ceremonies at Cumberland High are, in front, Marjorie Marsland, the wife of the late James Marsland, who was the former athletic director of the Boys & Girls Club of Cumberland-Lincoln, in back, James Marsland Jr., Lincoln High’s Tom Beauchemin, Woonsocket High’s Tyheem Gray and T.J. Cahill, and Cumberland High’s Tyler Kolek, Brandon Kolek, and Jackson Zancan. Brandon Kolek, who scored 73 points in the Clippers’ two victories, was named the tournament’s MVP for the second year in a row. (Breeze photos by Eric Benevides)
Boys’ basketball team returns to D-II slate after improving to 4-1

CUMBERLAND – The Cumberland High boys’ basketball team put on a shooting clinic, and Woonsocket High got a front-row seat to it.

The Clippers airmailed 16 three-pointers, six each coming from the Kolek brothers, Brandon and Tyler, en route to a 92-75 victory over the Villa Novans in the championship game of the 44th annual Boys & Girls Club of Cumberland-Lincoln’s Roadshow Holiday Classic that was held on Wednesday, Dec. 28, at the Clippers’ Wellness Center.

Brandon Kolek, a senior forward, earned his second straight Most Valuable Player tournament honor by producing arguably the best two-night performance in recent memory. After burying 40 points and adding 14 rebounds in the Clippers’ tourney-opening 73-60 victory over Lincoln the previous night, he scored 33 points at the Novans’ expense, 27 in the opening half.

“Brandon was just on another level,” said Cumberland head coach Gary Reedy. “The last 24 hours, he’s been on another level. This was his tournament.”

Tyler Kolek, a sophomore point guard, who along with Lincoln’s Tom Beauchemin, returned to the Jim Marsland Memorial All-Tournament Team, netted 21 points. Sophomore center Jackson Zancan, who was also named to the All-Tournament team, added 19, and junior guard Zhamaine Henderson tossed in a dozen.

The Novans, who also lit it up from beyond the arc, nailing 11 three-pointers, also had four players score in double digits, including All-Tournament selections T.J. Cahill, a senior guard who finished with 21 points and five three-pointers, and junior guard Tyheem Gray, who scored 19. Junior Jaelin Jackson added 14 points and classmate Roger Bissonnette had 11.

The Clippers led for almost the entire night, taking a 10-3 lead in the opening 95 seconds of the game, before the Novans slowly fought back to take their first lead, 21-20, on a three-pointer by Cahill with 9:03 to play in the first half.

But back-to-back three-pointers by Brandon Kolek gave the Clippers a 28-24 lead they never relinquished. Cumberland took its first 10-point lead (35-24) on a layup by Zancan with 5 1/2 minutes to play, and Brandon Kolek sank a buzzer-beating three-pointer from midcourt to give the Clippers a 50-33 command at the break.

The Clippers continued to have the hot hand in the second half, and by the midway point of it, they had scored 86 points and appeared to be on the verge of hitting the century mark. But Reedy opted to give his starting five the rest of the night off and his bench players some quality playing time.

The tourney title was the second in a row, third in the last four years, and eighth all-time for the Clippers, who had been tied with the Villa Novans for the most titles in what’s been the state’s longest running boys’ basketball tournament.

Not bad for a team that improved its record to 4-1, and with two sophomores and a junior in its starting lineup, is still considered one of the area’s youngest hoop teams.

“The kids are playing well,” remarked Reedy, whose team went 7-10 last season to return to the Division II playoffs. “They should be proud of themselves. We’re still a young team, but this could be a promising season if we stay healthy and the kids keep working. They just have to keep working hard and focus a little bit more on their defense and we’ll be fine.”

After five games, the Clippers’ three returning starters, Brandon Kolek (a captain who is averaging 24.2 points per game), Tyler Kolek (17.4), and Zancan (15.4) are sitting among the division’s scoring leaders. And while the Kolek brothers have each drained 18 three-pointers, the 6-foot-4 Brandon Kolek has also played well on the boards and helped give Cumberland a presence down low that includes Zancan (6-4) and fellow senior captains Emmit Ramos (6-4), Brian Bouchard (6-3), and Josh Holzberger (6-2).

“Brandon’s one of the best players in the state,” said Reedy, whose starting five also includes Henderson and Holzberger. “He’s shooting the ball and he can play the inside game – he’s had four double-doubles this year – and he’s passing the ball around. I think he should be an All-Stater. And Jackson and Tyler are also playing well. They’re more like juniors because they’ve had a lot of (varsity) minutes under their belts.”

The Clippers, who are 1-1 in the league, rolling to a 68-50 victory over Pilgrim in their Dec. 16 league opener, but dropping a last-minute 54-50 decision on the road to Chariho four nights later, began a busy week on Tuesday by visiting East Greenwich. On Wednesday, they had a non-league test against undefeated St. Raphael Academy, which is 5-0 in Division I, and on Friday, they will host Rogers at 7 p.m.

“I think there’s a lot of balance in the division this season,” added Reedy, whose league schedule includes long bus rides to Westerly, Middletown, Portsmouth, and Narragansett. “There’s Narragansett, Tolman, Shea, and Westerly, who are going to be tough. And Chariho just beat us. We have a lot of big games coming up, so we’ll see what happens.”

Cumberland High senior Brandon Kolek, left, shoots a three-pointer from the top of the key in front of teammate Josh Holzberger, #55, during the opening half of last week’s Roadshow Holiday Classic championship game against Woonsocket High at the Clippers’ Wellness Center. Kolek scored a game-high 33 points to help lead the Clippers to their second straight tournament title (and third in the last four years).