Avengers hold off Pats' comeback bid
The Pilgrim Patriots fell to the East Greenwich Avengers, 78-63, on Tuesday night at home in Division II basketball action. East Greenwich’s Colin Cianciolo led his team with 20 points, and his teammate, Pat Shea, had 18. Pilgrim’s Matt Woods finished with 19 points and James Baldwin and Will Pariseau chipped in nine points each.
Senior Dante Prosseda put East Greenwich on the board first with a layup. Two possessions later, Cianciolo made a spin move before burying a short-range jumper to extend the East Greenwich lead to 4-0.
Pilgrim scored its first points of the game when Woods grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup and pulled the Pats within 4-2. Two plays after that, Woods intercepted a pass at mid-court and made a fast-break layup, knotting the game at 4. Pilgrim took the lead on its ensuing possession when Xavier Monteiro dished to Devin Franco for a layup.
A corner 3 from Pilgrim’s Monteiro put the Pats up, 9-6. Nonetheless, East Greenwich went back on top when Cianciolo buried a jumper, and Shea swooshed a 3-pointer to put East Greenwich up, 11-9.
East Greenwich increased its lead to 14-11 on a 3-pointer from Shea. After a Pilgrim turnover, Sam Lewin scored a bucket and pushed the East Greenwich lead to five. Next, John McMullen buried a trey, and teammate Grant Driscoll followed with a 3 of his own to extend East Greenwich’s lead to 22-14.
Pilgrim stopped the bleeding when Pariseau dished to David D’Andrea for a 3-pointer.
However, East Greenwich scored on back-to-back putbacks following that and went up, 26-17, with five minutes remaining in the first half.
Cianciolo went on a spurt two minutes later, scoring seven straight points while extending East Greenwich’s lead to 36-22. East Greenwich went up by as much as 17 before the teams headed into halftime with Pilgrim trailing 44-30.
Pilgrim started the second half off on the right foot. Three minutes in, the Pats passed the ball around the arc before Baldwin buried a 3. Next, Woods earned a steal and a bucket, and Baldwin followed it with a jumper in the face of his defender.
Pilgrim drew within six when Woods passed inside to Levin, who made a spinning hook shot. Then, Pilgrim got within three when Pariseau and Baldwin connected on a pair of 3s, making it 58-55 with 7:54 remaining.
However, that’s as close as Pilgrim would get.
East Greenwich rebuilt its cushion, starting with Cianciolo, who scored after an offensive board and pushed the lead to five. The Pats came up short on their next two trips, and then East Greenwich’s Prosseda made a lay-in and pushed the lead to seven with just under six minutes to play.
With 3:47 remaining, a Driscoll jumper and a floater from Prosseda extended East Greenwich’s lead to 10.
On Pilgrim’s next trip down, Woods lost the ball on the way to the hoop, which led to a turnover and an outlet pass from Prosseda down to McMullen for a breakaway layup, increasing East Greenwich’s edge to 12.
East Greenwich held on for a 15-point win.
Pats’ head coach Chris LeBlanc believes it was the hot shooting of East Greenwich that won the game, as opposed to his team running out of gas.
“I don’t think they tired out,” LeBlanc said. “They shot probably close to 65 percent tonight. They didn’t miss any shots. They must have had 15 3s and not because we didn’t defend the perimeter, they were just on tonight.”
Pilgrim will try and put this loss behind it as it looks to improve as the season progresses.
“I think it was a team effort defensively,” LeBlanc said. “I know we gave up a lot of points, but I think our whole team works hard in practice and it comes out onto the floor. We had 63 points. We didn’t shoot the ball well, I think we drove well. It’s a team effort and we’ll strive to be the best we can be.”
With the loss, Pilgrim falls to 0-2 in the conference and 3-2 overall. On the other side, East Greenwich improves to 2-0 in league play and 3-1 overall.
Pilgrim plays its next game tonight at Rogers at 7 p.m.