Falcons pull away from Cougars for senior night win

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The Cranston West boy’s basketball team used a strong second-half effort to outlast the North Providence Cougars 77-67 during senior night on Monday.

West had four players finish with double-digits in scoring as senior Jared Olson had 18 points and junior Joe Ragosta posted 16, while both Andrew Dionizio and Massimo Feroce, two seniors, finished with 14 apiece.

"We were down eight at halftime and at the start of the second half our energy got us through," Falcons head coach Mike Monahan said. "In the first three minutes, we erased our deficit with our defense. So, I'm very proud of our effort in that regard."

Seniors Evan Gavlick and Cory Johnny topped the Cougars with 14 points apiece, while Marcio Evora, also a senior, finished with 10.

The Falcons began the contest with 3-pointers from both Olson and Cam Alves, while Matt Carvalho added a turnaround jump shot, which helped West open up an early 10-4 lead.

North Providence came back with 9:10 remaining in the half and took a 13-12 edge, but West soon found some rhythm.

The Falcons went on top, 24-19, after Ragosta buried back-to-back treys before Feroce added an old-fashioned 3-point play. Olson capped the run with a 3-ball.

With 4 1/2 minutes remaining in the half, the Cougars evened the game at 24 after Evora sank a runner, and Gavlick nailed a 3-point basket.

Over the next minute, North Providence took its turn to hit its stride. A 3-point play from Gavlick amid a 7-1 run allowed the Cougars to build a 31-25 advantage.

North Providence would take a 39-31 cushion into halftime, but the Falcons were undeterred. West opened the second half with a 14-3 run that ended with the home squad ahead, 45-41.

That surge featured five points each from Olson and Ragosta, and two apiece from Dionizio and Feroce.

"We got together downstairs, we had a heart-to-heart, and we were able to pull through," Feroce said.

From there, West increased its buffer to 53-42, following five points from Feroce, a free throw from Olson and a layup from Dionizio.

The Falcons maintained that margin the rest of the way before cruising to the 77-67 victory, in what was their last regular-season home game of the year.

"We've been playing together for years and it's just great to get a win in our last night here," Feroce said.

West improves to 14-3 in the league with the victory and travels to Portsmouth (14-2) on Thursday to play the Patriots in the last game of the regular season at 7 p.m. Portsmouth was riding an 11-game winning streak prior to Tuesday's meeting at Barrington (14-2), whose score was unavailable at press time.

"They're very tough," Monahan said. "They are a game ahead of us in the loss column. It's their senior night. They have the longest winning-streak in Division II, so it's going to be a fight. But hats off to North Providence. Those guys, they're fighting for a playoff spot. Those guys brought it the first half. They're extremely long, athletic, and they were able to beat our pressure easily. So, that's a credit to them."

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