By ALEX SPONSELLER The Cranston East girls basketball team enjoyed one of the biggest turnarounds in the state last winter season, going from the bottom of the standings to the quarterfinals in the playoffs thanks to a late-season surge in which it won
By ALEX SPONSELLER The Cranston East girls basketball team enjoyed one of the biggest turnarounds in the state last winter season, going from the bottom of the standings to the quarterfinals in the playoffs thanks to a late-season surge in which it won five straight games.
The Bolts appeared to be out of the playoff picture midway through the regular season but would shock the division and win in the preliminary round. The team was led by second-year coach Jhamal Diggs, who was recently named the Rhode Island High School Girls Basketball Association’s Division II North Coach of the Year.
“I never really expected it going into the season, I was just so focused on turning this program around and putting it in the right direction. As the season went on, you saw us win five straight games, get home court in the first round of the playoffs and then reach the quarterfinals. These girls worked really hard,” said Diggs.
Diggs, who is only 28 years old, also sees the award as a confidence booster as he begins preparing for his third season at the helm.
“I feel like I deserved it, and it gives me a lot of confidence moving forward. It gives me the confidence knowing that I’m doing something right. As a young coach you question your age, you question yourself when things don’t go right, A lot of those things were first-time experiences, so to get this award gives me a lot of confidence,” said Diggs.
Part of his development during his second year included his communication with players and establishing himself as a leader in the program.
“I was a lot more strict and I was more assertive. I demanded success this year, I demanded that they make the right decisions and make the right plays. The first year I came in and just stated my expectations, trying to get a feel for everyone, but this year I was much more assertive with (those expectations),” Diggs said.
Diggs also hopes to see the Bolts continue to trend in the right direction and take a step forward next season.
“We are still a ways away, this was only a Year 2. We weren’t able to do all of the things that we wanted to do, even though it was a great year. We had a great year, but we still have some expectations that we would like to meet,” said Diggs.