Mount Pleasant sends Shea packing

Mount Pleasant sends Shea packing

Shea junior point guard Erickson Bans, left, drives to the basket as he makes his way past Mount Pleasant defenders Ryan Fogarty, #2, and Aaron Gomes, right, during last Thursday’s state playoff opener at Coventry High. Bans scored a game-high 26 points, but the Raiders fell to the Kilties, 78-61. (Breeze photo by Kayla Panu)
Boys’ basketball team’s fantastic season ends in first round of Open Tournament

COVENTRY – The Shea High boys’ basketball team put up a fight in its Open Tournament opener last Thursday night at Coventry High’s gym against a tough Division I opponent, Mount Pleasant, but the 6th-seeded Kilties managed to outlast the 11th-seeded Raiders, 78-61, and advance to the Elite Eight.

The Division II Raiders, who conclude their season with an overall record of 18-8, kept it close through the opening half, trailing by a score of 35-30 at intermission, and for the majority of the second. But they got into foul trouble early and had to use what bigs they have sparingly.

“We played as hard as possible for as long as we could,” Shea head coach Stephen DeMeo said. “We didn’t have the depth that (Mount Pleasant) did. It seemed like (Mount Pleasant head coach Charles Holliday) was constantly subbing guys in and out. We don’t have that luxury, especially with Marquis (Gomes) being out.”

With over seven minutes to play in the game, Josiah Diaz fouled out, and Mount Pleasant’s Naszell Pona went to the line and sank both of his free throws to give the Kilties a 60-51 lead. That’s when the Kilties started to make their move, and a three-pointer by Aaron Gomes gave them a 67-54 lead and firm control of the game.

“We’re not a tall team, and once our tall guys started to get into foul trouble, we were going with our shorter guys,” DeMeo said. “Half the guys who played tonight were JV (players). They can play, and they stepped up. Daevon Silva played great, and so did Pedro Tavares and Kenny Miranda.”

Shea junior point guard Erickson Bans scored a game-high 28 points to lead the Raiders, DeJuan Hayes had 11, and Silva and Nathan Rodrigues each added eight. Mount Pleasant had five players score in double digits, with Chaynce Trottman and Gomes each leading the way with 19.

“I’m proud of the way we played,” DeMeo added. “(Losing by) 17 points isn’t indicative of what happened. It was like an eight-point game for most of the game, but then you start trailing and taking rushed shots instead of moving the ball around. I have no complaints with the guys tonight. They played their butts off. Hats off to Mount Pleasant. I hope they go far.”

Before the Open Tournament, the Raiders had reached the DIII semifinals, but fell to Narragansett, 68-40. Mount Pleasant, which went on to lose in the Elite Eight on Sunday afternoon to 3rd-seeded Cranston East, 59-57, had been bounced in the D-I quarterfinals by Woonsocket, which is still alive in the tournament.

“We had a great year,” DeMeo said. “I told the kids before the game, there’s like 30 schools that aren’t playing tonight and we are one of the ones who are. This was one of our goals from the beginning. You would like to win the division, but that’s tough in Division II. But get into the Open (Tournament) and anything can happen, like (what happened) two years ago.

“It’s just sad that we say goodbye to some of these seniors, like Nate (Rodrigues) and Isaiah (Silva),” DeMeo continued. “They were great Raiders and went down fighting. Isaiah was our leading rebounder; he was averaging like 14 rebounds a game. He’s 5-7 or 5-8, but he has a heart the size of a gymnasium. We’re sure going to miss him.”