Pats use depth to overpower Wizards
After dropping consecutive games to Tolman and Shea to start the month, the Pilgrim boys’ basketball team has bounced back admirably.
The Pats rattled off their second straight win on Tuesday night, overpowering West Warwick at both ends of the floor en route to a 75-48 victory.
Pilgrim’s balanced scoring was the story of the game, as it had five scorers in double figures – Nate Ferri (15), Dave Cabeceiras (15), Jake Gonsalves (11), Matt Woods (10) and Jarod Sickenger (10) – and 10 different players scored a basket.
“I’m always happy with balance,” Pilgrim head coach Chris LeBlanc said. “We had to take care of business today because we have a big one [Wednesday], and we did that.”
It took Pilgrim a little while to get in sync in the first half.
The Pats opened play with a quick 5-0 run behind a jumper from Sam LaFrance and a 3 from Woods.
For the next several minutes after that, however, Pilgrim’s offense stalled.
West Warwick’s Charlie Tashjian converted an and-1 with just south of four minutes gone in the opening half to trim Pilgrim’s lead to 5-4, and a free throw from Wizards’ forward Aidan Lynn gave his squad its first lead, 10-9, with 9:45 left in the first half.
“We had no practice yesterday and we had four days off because of the snow, so I think we had to get ourselves back in the swing of things,” LeBlanc said of the sluggish start.
West Warwick held a 14-12 lead more than midway through the half, before Pilgrim kicked its offense into gear.
Ferri started a 25-8 run to end the half when he stole the ball in the defensive halfcourt and dished ahead to Gonsalves for an easy layup that tied the score at 14.
Pilgrim then caught fire from beyond the arc.
A pair of treys from Gonsalves and Ferri on consecutive trips down the floor regained the lead for the Pats, 22-16, causing Wizards’ head coach Richard Grenier, Sr., to call a full timeout.
The short break wouldn’t cool down Pilgrim, though, as Cabeceiras buried two 3s of his own, and Ferri hit another while getting fouled with 1:12 left in the opening half. Ferri would miss the free throw, but Zach Johnson was there for the offensive board and putback to give the Pats a 35-20 lead.
When all was said and done, Pilgrim turned a two-point deficit with seven minutes left in the half into a 15-point lead, 37-22, by the break.
The Wizards couldn’t slow down the Pats in the second half either.
A little over three minutes in, Woods drove into the paint and found Sickenger for a lay-in.
Midway through the half, Cabeceiras swished back-to-back corner 3s, and Woods hit a 3 of his own shortly after to push the lead to 65-41.
Eddie Cascella made a nice pass on the next possession, when he found Cabeceiras running the baseline for a layup to increase the advantage even further.
With the game under control for the entire second half, LeBlanc was able to get nearly his entire bench some quality minutes.
“It feels good as a coach, but I think it’s even better when you ask your starters to sit down because other guys are going in and they’re cheering them on,” LeBlanc said of playing a deep rotation. “I think that’s the best part about it.”
Pilgrim (11-5) was in for a tough test on Wednesday evening when it was set to take on Narragansett (14-1), but results were unavailable at press time.
The Pats will conclude their regular season when they host Chariho (8-6) on Monday night at 7 p.m.
“We’re back on the winning track,” LeBlanc said. “We beat Johnston and then had this one tonight, so I guess we have some momentum going into the game against Narragansett.”