Sentinels defeat 'Bolts, Purple

Sentinels defeat 'Bolts, Purple

Cranston East senior forward Noah Berg, right, and his teammates had a difficult time containing Smithfield senior guard Matt LaSalandra, left, during last Friday night’s Division I matchup at Smithfield High, which was won by the Sentinels, 69-49. LaSalandra, who produced the game’s first nine points before ending up with a game-high 20, also scored the 1,000th point of his high school career on Monday in the Sentinels’ 64-61 victory over Classical. (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)
Boys’ basketball team wins seven of last eight games to raise D-I record to 9-5

SMITHFIELD – After opening its Division I schedule with a 2-4 record, the Smithfield High boys’ basketball team has caught fire, and on Monday, the Sentinels picked up their seventh win in their last eight games by taking a 64-61 thriller from Classical on the Purple’s home court.

Three nights later, the Sentinels were at home, defeating one-win Cranston East, 69-49, and their victories over the Purple and Thunderbolts improved their D-I record to 9-5 and kept them in third place in the I-C standings.

Entering Wednesday’s action, they trailed North Kingstown (13-1) and La Salle Academy (11-3) in the standings. But only two other D-I teams have better records than Smithfield – Bishop Hendricken (12-1) in the I-A and Mount Pleasant (11-2) in the I-B.

Wednesday’s schedule saw La Salle face N.K. and Hendricken host Mount Pleasant.

The Sentinels, meanwhile, still have their work cut out for them with four games left on their schedule. On Friday at 7 p.m., they will visit Central at the Providence Career and Technical Academy, and North Kingstown and La Salle await Smithfield next week.

“I feel like we can win every game on our schedule,” Smithfield head coach Joe Bennett said after last Friday’s game. “But if we don’t play well, we can lose every game on our schedule. We’ve shown that.”

In last Friday’s victory, the Sentinels, who were coming off a close 64-60 victory over Mount Pleasant, saw senior guard Matt LaSalandra score the first nine points and end up with a game-high 20 points.

The Sentinels extended their lead to 16-9 on a three-pointer by senior guard Justin Tedeschi, who finished with 18 points, and even though the visitors cut their deficit to 21-17, the Sentinels answered back and extended their lead at halftime to 35-18.

“We moved the ball well offensively,” Bennett said. “And Matt came out real hot. I talked to the team about trying to get him involved in the offense earlier in games. The last couple games, teams had been keying on him. We were trying to get him involved early and we did.”

Bennett also praised senior forward Christian Carmosino, who only scored seven points, but played excellent defense. Bennett also highlighted the center position, which was played by seniors Jack Stevens and Robert Bowker and sophomore Riley Gran, and senior point guard Owen Swierad.

Monday’s win over the Purple saw LaSalandra score the 1,000th point of high school career on a free throw in the game’s final minute to help the Sentinels hold off their hosts. Carmosino scored a game-high 28 points to lead the Sentinels, hitting eight three-pointers along the way, and LaSalandra ended up with 24.

The victory over Mount Pleasant was an overtime classic that saw the Sentinels erase a 12-point deficit in the second half to tie the game at 51-51 at the end of regulation. Carmosino had a game to remember, as he hit six three-pointers and finished with a game-high 26 points. LaSalandra added 19, seven of them in overtime, and Tedeschi had 10.

Smithfield senior forward Christian Carmosino buried six three-pointers and scored a game-high 26 points in the Sentinels’ victory over Classical.