The Cranston West Falcons were beaten 66-56 by the East Greenwich Avengers on Friday night at Cranston High School West in Division II boys basketball.
East Greenwich’s Jack McMullen, a sophomore guard, led all scorers with 30 points, while teammates Pat Shea and Sam Lewin, scored 15 and 11, respectively.
Andrew Dionizio carried West with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Dionizio, a 6-foot-1 junior forward, cleaned the glass all night for the Falcons scoring put back after put back.
“Andrew brings that football toughness to our team,” West head coach Michael Monahan said. “He gives multiple efforts on every possession. And the game plan was to go inside to him and let him play to his strength, which is to move around the basket. Even though he’s a little bit undersized, he’s got great moves. He’s got good agilities down there. And so, that’s his game and we wanted to go to it.”
Caleb Harris, a sophomore, was second in scoring for the Falcons with 16 points, including four 3-point baskets.
Harris went down with an ankle injury with about three minutes to play in the contest, but the sharpshooter was not about to sit out.
“Caleb’s a tough kid,” Monahan said. “He’s a shooter. He’s got the green light, and he got hot early in the first half. So, we wanted to ride that hot hand. And, again, he’s tough and he’s gritty. So, he wasn’t going to let that stop him.”
Massimo Feroce, a junior, finished out the Falcons double-digit scoring with ten points and 12 boards.
The Avengers came out of the gate hot and took an early 11-1 advantage.
However, the Falcons answered that with a 10-1 explosion and cut the deficit to 12-11, which forced East Greenwich to talk it over. During that Falcons spurt, Harris buried a 3-pointer, Feroce, a jumper, and Dionizio a put back, and a layup.
Next, East Greenwich went on a 7-0 run and drew an 18-11 advantage.
West crawled back and tied the game at 20, and again at 23, when Harris buried a 3-ball with 3:33 remaining in the half.
Forty seconds later, the Falcons took a 26-23 lead following a 3-pointer from senior forward Jarred D’Amico after an assist from Cam Alves, the junior point guard.
A minute after that, West upped its edge to four when Harris sank a trey, which made it 29-25.
However, with 1:16 left in the opening half, East Greenwich deadlocked the score at 29 on a layup from Sam Lewin, plus a pair of free throws from Ravi Somvanshi.
The Falcons would bring a 32-29 lead into the break after Harris drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the arc just before the sound of the buzzer ending the half.
East Greenwich took control in the second half, beginning the frame with a 17-4 spurt while jumping out to a 46-36 advantage with 10:20 to play.
Harris put a damper on the Avengers run when he drove to the basket and made a layup while he was fouled for an old-fashioned 3-point play.
Then on West’s next trip down, D’Amico assisted inbound to Alves for a layup, which got the Falcons within five with 8:54 remaining.
The Falcons inched closer with seven minutes left and got within 47-44 following a put back from Dionizio.
Then with six minutes left, West got within one when Dionizio picked the pocket of an Avenger at midcourt and went the distance for a breakaway layup, making it 49-48.
Four minutes later, the Falcons still trailed by one.
But with 1:53 remaining, East Greenwich’s Lewin made a layup and gave the Avengers a three-point lead.
Then, with one minute left, McMullen passed to Patrick Shea for a layup, which increased the Avengers lead to five.
East Greenwich put the nail in the coffin when McMullen made five free throws after he was intentionally fouled three times.
With the loss West falls to 2-7 in the conference while East Greenwich improves to 6-5.
Though the Falcons didn’t get the victory, Monahan was happy with his players’ fight throughout the contest.
“I cannot be more proud of my guys’ effort tonight,” Monahan said. “Everybody stepped up. Guys, who normally don’t play a lot of minutes got valuable time and they proved that they were ready when their number was called. So, I’m absolutely proud of my guys. The effort, their energy, and their enthusiasm was a total team effort tonight. But, we don’t measure our success in wins and losses, we measure our success by playing to our utmost ability and we did that tonight.”
The Falcons played at West Warwick (6-5) on Tuesday night, but the score was unavailable at press time. West plays at home on Thursday against Tolman (3-7) at 7 p.m.