Disappointing defeat for BVP

Disappointing defeat for BVP

Blackstone Valley Prep junior guard Jarell Jose Carlos, right, gets ready to toss in a layup over Mount Hope junior forward Jaden Siembab during the first half of Monday night’s game, an 81-44 win by the visiting Huskies. (Breeze photo by Eric Benevides)
Despite lopsided loss to Mount Hope, boys’ basketball team needs one more win to clinch first RIIL Div. III playoff berth

CUMBERLAND – After watching the Blackstone Valley Prep boys’ basketball team win five of its last six games to move one victory away from its first playoff berth as an RIIL squad, BVP fans packed the Pride’s gymnasium on Monday night to see if their team could seal the deal against one of the Division III’s top teams.

Unfortunately for the Pride, Mount Hope felt right at home in their crossover matchup and ran away with the contest. Not only did the Huskies rattle off the first 15 points, but they took a 21-point lead with five minutes still to play in the first half and never looked back in ending up with an 81-44 triumph that was their 11th win in 13 games.

The loss dropped the Pride’s division record to 6-7, but they trudged out of their home gym knowing that they still had five more chances to pick up their magical seventh victory and the postseason berth that accompanies it.

On Wednesday night, they paid a visit to Scituate to battle the two-win Spartans, and on Friday at 7 p.m., they will host winless Davies. Their final three games are against their Division III-South rivals: undefeated Toll Gate, Ponaganset, which entered the week with a 12-1 record, and Exeter/West Greenwich.

“We’re hoping,” BVP head coach Kevin Payette said when asked about closing in on a tournament berth just one season after claiming the Coastal Prep League title. “We have five more games and we have to be ready to play all five, and hopefully we can get to the playoffs, give a good effort there, and see what happens.”

Monday night’s loss clearly disappointed Payette, not just because his team struggled to contain the hot-shooting Huskies, which swished a dozen three-pointers in the game and owned a 44-17 command at halftime, but because the effort that helped key his team’s recent 5-1 stretch was nowhere to be found.

“We had a couple of games when we’d forget to show up, and tonight was one of them,” said Payette, who received 15 points from freshman guard Chris Rodriguez and 12 from sophomore forward Xavier Mendez in Monday’s loss. “I think for us our biggest thing is that our effort is very inconsistent. If your effort’s not there, over and over again, you’re going to have situations like this, so hopefully we can learn from this and move forward.”

Prior to Monday’s defeat, the Pride gained plenty of attention with their string of wins and some of the teams they defeated, including northern R.I. rivals North Smithfield, Lincoln, and Mount Saint Charles.

On Jan. 15, the Pride grabbed a 60-59 thriller at home with the Northmen that saw Mendez win the game with a short buzzer-beating jumper. Double-doubles from junior forward Abdoulaye Sall and Mendez helped the Pride top the Lincoln, 57-51, and Mounties, 62-58, and BVP also took a close contest on the road with St. Patrick, 60-56.

The loss during that stretch, a 44-43 defeat to Rogers in Newport, also came down to the wire, as a layup by the hosts with four seconds to play turned out to be the difference.

“We won a number of close games, which is a positive,” added Payette. “We started slow, but we made some good strides going into the middle part of our league schedule, and we have some wins that we’re proud of. But right now, we have to be ready to play every game, and we just have to keep building and keep getting better.”