NP girls rout Hope for first win

NP girls rout Hope for first win

North Providence High senior guard and co-captain Tatiana Caro celebrated her team’s “Senior Night” in style last Thursday by scoring 12 points and handing out five assists to help the Cougars top Hope, 60-31, for their first victory of the Division III season. (Breeze photo by Eric Benevides)
Rizzo sisters, Caro lead Cougars’ charge in basketball team’s 60-31 triumph

NORTH PROVIDENCE – After losing its first four games of the year by an average of 26 points, the North Providence High girls’ basketball team was able to experience a lopsided victory on its ‘Senior Night’ last Thursday.

Hosting Hope in a meeting of two of the Division III’s winless teams, the Cougars grabbed a 60-31 victory that not only saw four starters score in double digits, but NP’s remarkable defense grab a season-high 16 steals and blank the Blue Wave in the third quarter.

The Cougars, who are fielding one of the state’s smallest girls’ squads, with just eight players making up their roster, had been outmanned in their defeats this season to Mount Saint Charles, North Smithfield, Davies, and Woonsocket, but last Thursday’s game against the Blue Wave told a different story.

Despite being minus the services of senior forward Camilla Pinheiro, who was sidelined with an injury to her right foot, NP was able to match up with Hope, which also brought seven players to the game.

And all seven NP players contributed to the win, starting with junior forward and co-captain Alena Rizzo, who tossed in a career-high 17 points, and continuing with senior guard and co-captain Tatiana Caro and sophomore guard Michaela Rizzo, who each tallied 12. The younger Rizzo also added eight rebounds and four assists, and Caro also handed out five assists.

Sophomore guard Graycen Pappas also scored 11 points, and sophomore guard Morgan McGrath added six points and dished out as many assists. Also playing well off the bench were freshmen forwards Andrea Vasquez, who had a team-high four steals, and Grace Eskildsen.

“It’s nice to get this (win), especially on our Senior Night,” added NP head coach Jen Goulding. “This year has been tough; numbers are dwindling and spirits are low, so it was good to have this and build up their confidence a little bit.”

This game was actually a competitive one for the first 4 1/2 minutes, but the Cougars then took charge with a 15-2 run that gave them a 19-8 lead after a quarter of play. Alena Rizzo kicked off that run with back-to-back layups and a baseline jumper and ended it with a buzzer-beating runner in the paint.

The Cougars then opened the second quarter with a 9-1 run that helped them soar into halftime with a 34-18 command, and they dominated the third quarter by scoring all 15 of its points, with eight coming from Caro.

The Cougars were scheduled to visit Blackstone Valley Prep, which is winless in five games, on Tuesday night in Cumberland. They will wrap up their season on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. by visiting playoff-bound Lincoln at the Lincoln Middle School’s gym.