Midseason report on our teams

Posted 1/31/24

Here we are, halfway through the winter season.

It always sneaks up on us and the winter is always the wackiest season. Between the holiday break in December, postponements due to weather, …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Midseason report on our teams


Here we are, halfway through the winter season.

It always sneaks up on us and the winter is always the wackiest season. Between the holiday break in December, postponements due to weather, strange ice times when the puck is not dropped until 9:30 at night the same day that a hoops matchup tips off at 2:30 p.m.

Either way, winter is always fast-paced and fun to follow. This go-around has been no different, and here are my halfway thoughts on some of our teams:

The Hendricken basketball team’s season has played out pretty close to how I envisioned it would. After losing all five starters from last year’s championship run and some young players being relied on to fill those gaps, a slow start was kind of predicable for the Green and Gold.

Sure, its losses came to top-notch clubs including La Salle and Barrington, but these growing pains have been apparent. However, with Jamal Gomes leading the way and the team still among the best in the state record-wise, they’re only going to get better and I fully anticipate them being in the division’s and state’s final four in March … at least.

The defending DII champion Johnston Panthers hit a rough patch, losing three straight against Lincoln, Tolman and St. Ray’s. All three games were competitive and the Panthers could have finished the tough stretch 3-0, but it is what it is. Johnston will be there in the end, but it will need to find a way to beat these top teams that are clearly game opponents. Michael Carlino and Neari Vasquez have a ton of experience, Branden and Jayden Testa have emerged as two of the top point producers in the division, Cam Walker is as steady a player as there is. The Panthers will be fine, but what is their ceiling?

The Pilgrim boys have been the team that I have been most impressed by. The team as of Tuesday morning was 6-5 in the division and fighting to climb the DII standings.

Dylan Vale is as legitimate a guard as there is in DII while Carter Clifton has been efficient on both ends of the floor. This duo along with other guys like Jack McConnell gives the Pats a chance in every game they play. The team will enter its toughest stretch to date, facing the top six teams in the next six games which include Lincoln, St. Ray’s, Burrillville, Tolman, Rogers and Johnston.

The Falcons were hoping to have a breakout season but struggled out the gate, including going on a four-game losing streak. The West boys rebounded nicely last week, though, and ride a three-game winning streak after beating Chariho, South Kingstown and Toll Gate to get back on track. Jaymien Aponte and Kennedy Arias make up one of the division’s best front courts, so it would be unwise to count West out.

On the girls side, Johnston has been on an absolute tear and is penciled in as the midseason favorite to win the Division IV title.

The Panthers have been building their program the last couple of seasons and welcomed coach Jhamal Diggs into the mix to get it over the hump. So far so good, as Johnston sits at 9-1 and only losing to Davies on opening night … a game in which the team was without starting point guard Jayanah Rollins, who is likely on her way to an All-Division season. Bella Gesualdi and Aubree Allen have also been dynamic, providing the Panthers an elite trio.

The Toll Gate girls and Cranston West girls are in similar situations within their divisions.

The Titans sit in third place in Division III and have looked strong with Adeline Areson returning to the mix with Dulce Garcia. The team has lost to first-place Narragansett and second-place Exeter-West Greenwich (twice). Toll Gate is very much a contender, but will have to find a way to beat those other elite clubs.

The Falcons are in fourth place in Division I behind the strong starts from Maia Riccio and Olivia Tedeschi-Moran, but have lost to North Kingstown, Barrington and Bay View, who occupy the three spots ahead of them. See above for the break down.

For boys hockey, it sure looks like the defending champion Hawks are in good shape to defend their title. Prout has emerged as a new heavyweight in the division and dealt Hendricken its lone loss, but otherwise, the Hawks have been perfect. It will be a fight to the finish in March but I do believe we can narrow it down to three teams. Hendricken, Prout, La Salle. Pilgrim was one of my preseason dark horses and I have not completely given up after its 2-6 start, but the Pats have been banged up with a pair of starters missing. We’ll see if they can bounce back once they return to the lineup.

Hendricken swimming is undefeated and cruised past defending champion Barrington last week. Although the only meet that matters is the state championship, Hendricken’s decisive win tells us all we need to know. This is the winter that the Hawks reclaim their title and likely go on another multi-year championship run. Sure, you can’t count the Eagles or North Kingstown out entirely, but Hendricken appears to have the best team in the state.

pitch, midseason, report


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here