The No. 15 CCRI women’s basketball team will host the Region XXI Tournament this weekend. The Lady Knights are the No. 1 seed and will play Orange County CC on Saturday at noon at the Vin Cullen Fieldhouse. That game will be followed by the match-up between second-seeded Monroe and third-seeded Dean College. The winners of Saturday’s game will meet for the championship on Sunday at 1 p.m.
CCRI heads into the tournament off a loss to Division I power ASA College in the regular season finale. The Lady Knights fell to the Avengers 74-68 and dropped to 21-4 on the season.
The Lady Knights knew that they were going to be in for a tough contest, playing a nationally-ranked Division I program that has four players over six feet. In the first half the Avengers’ size and quickness pushed the Lady Knights back on their heels, and ASA went to the break leading 34-26. In the second half the Lady Knights dug deep to keep the Avengers close. CCRI played at a frenetic pace late in the game to force several Avenger turnovers, which they used to trim the deficit to just four points with just 29 seconds left in the game. That was a close as the Lady Knights would get as they fell by six.
The Lady Knights were led by Moe Plummer (Fairfield, Conn.), who scored a career-high and game-high 21 points, including three 3-pointers. Sophomore Nyjah Porcher (New Britain, Conn.) added 13 points, including 11 in the second half with eight rebounds and five of the Lady Knights’ seven steals. The eight rebounds for Porcher give her 488 for her career to tie her with Roxanne Reid (2003-04) for third on the CCRI all-time rebounding list. Sophomore co-captain Jahira Smith (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 14 points with five assists. Smith now has 953 career points and needs just four points to become CCRI's all-time leading scorer.
“I think we played very hard,” said head coach Kate Lynch. “We made some mental errors which cost us, but playing a team like ASA will certainly prepare us for our regionals.”
The Lady Knights celebrated their annual Pink Out at the game, where they raised money for breast cancer awareness. In addition, the Lady Knights celebrated sophomore day and honored Smith, Plummer, Porcher, Jess Randall (Warwick), Treedy Ward (Boynton Beach, Fla.), Lindsey Nash (Manchester, Conn.) and Jenna Ayala (Paterson, N.J.).
“I love our sophomores,” Lynch said. “They're a really fun group to be around and they work hard day in day out. They've built this program to where it is right now and that's a testament to the type of young ladies that they are – tough, focused, determined. We are all going to miss them next year, but we still have the regionals to focus on right now and I know they're looking forward to preparing for playoffs.”
Knights notch crucial win over Warriors
CCRI closed out the regular season on Thursday with a 76-60 victory over Massasoit, which qualified the Knights for the Region XXI Championship. The Knights will travel to Franklin, Mass., to take on Dean College for the championship on Saturday at 1 p.m. CCRI will be looking to win its fifth Region XXI Championship in seven years.
The win over Massasoit was sparked by freshman Chris Light (Derry, N.H.), who made four three-pointers. Light buried two in the first half to propel the Knights to a 10-point lead with five minutes left, and CCRI took a nine-point lead into halftime. The Knights played excellent zone defense in the second half and were able to stretch their lead to 15 points at the 12:19 mark. From there a balanced scoring attack finished the game off for the Knights.
CCRI was led by sophomore Desmond Williams (Torrington, Conn.), who scored a team-high 17 points with five rebounds, three steals and two assists while facing box and one pressure defense the entire game. Sophomore Isaac Medeiros (Johnston) scored 16 points while hauling in seven rebounds. Medeiros was helped up front by freshman Elijah Okagbare (Bourne, Mass.), who added eight points and six rebounds. Sophomore Bryan Yarce (Cranston) scored 11 points and dished out 10 assists, and Light tallied 14 points on the three-pointers and an emphatic slam dunk late in the second half.
The Knights honored their five sophomores before the game: Williams, Yarce, Medeiros, Rob Alers (Central Falls), and Steve Bevilacqua (Exeter).
“Very satisfying to see our sophomores and 13 strong come up with a great performance tonight,” head coach Rick Harris said. “I am so happy to be able to continue working next week with our sophomores and the entire team as we prepare to go after our fifth New England Championship in the past seven years. Just like tonight it will take 13 strong working for one common goal, to be the best we are capable of being.”
Allen honored by Words Unlimited
CCRI cross country and track star Bobby Allen (Cranston) was honored as the Tom Doherty Male Athlete of the Year at the 67th annual Words Unlimited Sports Awards Banquet on Sunday. Allen became the first-ever CCRI student-athlete to earn this prestigious award which has been won in the past by Rhode Island sports legends such as Ernie DiGregorio, Davey Lopes, Mark Van Eeghen, Brad Faxon and Rocco Baldelli, just to name a few.
In a year and a half with the Knights, Allen has amassed six All-American honors, four national championships, two national records and six college records for the Knights. With indoor and outdoor track seasons to finish during his CCRI career, he has an opportunity to earn additional All-American and national championship honors.