Shea’s feeling ‘Super’ this season
Shea’s feeling ‘Super’ this season
NORTH PROVIDENCE – Thanks to a 67-58 victory over Barrington High on Monday night, Shea High is now 6-0 in Division II, with four of those victories coming by 16 or more points.
And while this sounds like the first sentence to a story about last season’s Raiders’ football team that rolled to the Division II Super Bowl title, it’s actually a line about the boys’ basketball team that not only defeated the Eagles, but three nights earlier, posted a 78-55 win on the road over North Providence High.
The Raiders, who are 8-1 overall, entered Wednesday’s action as one of four D-II teams with a zero in the loss column, joining Johnston (6-0), Narragansett (5-0), and Chariho (4-0), and if that didn’t prove how tough the 19-team division has been this season, four other teams (Pilgrim, Tolman, Portsmouth, and East Greenwich) each have just one loss.
“It’s definitely a tough league,” Shea head coach Matt Pita said after his team’s win last Friday. “We’ve seen teams like Westerly, Narragansett, and Portsmouth. Middletown’s a good ballclub that we only beat by two (points), and I think North Providence is good. They were tough tonight. I know they haven’t won (a division game), but they’re going to knock some teams off.”
Four players scored in double digits in the victory over NP, and leading the attack was freshman point guard Erickson Bans, who netted a career-high 25 points and is averaging a team-best 21.2 points per game in Shea’s six D-II victories.
Bans is one of two freshmen on the roster, joining backup guard DeJuan Hayes, his teammate on the Slater Junior High team that seized the Northeastern Division’s regular-season title last year. Bans is also the first 9th-grader to crack the Raiders’ starting lineup since Malcum Moniz, a 2010 graduate and former 1,000-point scorer, and he’s impressed in his month-and-a-half of action.
“Erickson’s a very good basketball player,” remarked Pita. “He controls the game on both ends (of the court). You would think he’s a senior out there, but he’s smart and he can play.”
Also scoring in double digits in the win over NP were junior guard Gerald Soe (16 points), senior guard Tyreek Rodrigues (14), and senior center Abdul Ajia (13). Those three players, along with backup senior guard Yanique Duarte and Hayes, played on the Raiders’ football team that went 10-0 (winning eight of those games by 22 or more points) to capture its first D-II championship in a decade.
“Hopefully, the Super Bowl (championship) rubs off on our team,” Pita said with a smile. “We got some good athletes. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s slowly getting better and it’s been a lot of fun.”
Ajia, a 6-foot-4 co-captain and presence in the paint, tossed in five points during a game-opening 13-3 run in the win over NP that was highlighted by a two-handed dunk off a long alley-oop pass from Bans.
Despite playing close to 20 minutes, Ajia, who is averaging 19.1 points per game in the Raiders’ six league victories, finished the game with 12 rebounds and six blocked shots.
Prior to their victory over NP, the Raiders were coming off an 87-61 win at home over the Prout School that also saw four players reach double digits in scoring. Senior forward and co-captain Malik Muhammed-Hester led the way with a career-high 25 points and Bans added 21.
The Raiders’ game against Barrington, which also saw Ajia score a game-high 24 points and Bans toss in 15, kicked off a challenging three-game week that will also see the Raiders host Westerly on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and head to Portsmouth on Friday night.
“It’s a very tough week,” said Pita. “We want to see where we are after eight (league) games, so we want to take care of business.”