By ALEX SPONSELLER
The Cranston West girls basketball team pulled off a pair of upsets last week to advance to this weekend’s Final Four at the Ryan Center.The 11th-ranked Falcons traveled …
By ALEX SPONSELLER
The Cranston West girls basketball team pulled off a pair of upsets last week to advance to this weekend’s Final Four at the Ryan Center.
The 11th-ranked Falcons traveled south to take on No. 6 Rogers and would take a 47-45 win. West would turn around and beat another Division II power in East Providence, beating the Townies in a 38-37 overtime thriller.
“The tough games, having to play and be competitive the whole way until the final buzzer, they will be a big part of how comfortable we are playing under pressure coming up (this weekend). They relish being the underdog, but we have faith in each other’s skills. They work hard against each other every day, iron sharpens iron, that’s what our mentality is. We still haven’t played a complete game and when we do, we’ll be hard to beat,” said West coach Nerson Santiago.
Catherine Albizu paced the Falcons with 11 points while Kaitlyn Antonucci, Maddie Alves and Maia Riccio all added eight.
The West defense stepped up once again to stifle the EP attack down the stretch, holding the Townies to just 14 points in the last three periods of action.
“We made adjustments, we went from zone to manning them up. I told them to embrace the challenge of shutting your man down. Accept the challenge, switch if you need to switch and communicate. That’s what took us to where we needed to be,” Santiago said. “I think that we have the best defense in the league. Defense wins championships. Our offense hasn’t been the hottest all of the time, but we’ve been locking it down on defense. We have some tough, tenacious defenders both on the ball and off, our best offense is our defense.”
The Falcons will now take on Division II champion Juanita Sanchez on Saturday afternoon, with a win putting them in Sunday’s state championship. The team is looking forward to the chance of pulling off another upset and to be playing on the big stage.
“It’s great, even for the future. The whole system, our culture is to roll with whose hot. They work hard, they encourage each other, it’s a team effort. It’s a team concept and that’s how we approach it. We want to share the ball and play good team basketball,” Santiago said. “Everyone’s morale has been high, especially the seniors who have been here since they were freshman. They’re ecstatic. We have momentum and everyone feels good about themselves and the team.”
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