The Pilgrim Patriots fell 70-59 to the Tiverton Tigers in a Division II boys basketball battle on Tuesday night at home and drop to 2-5 in the conference.
The Pats held a six-point lead at halftime, but were outscored 43-26 in the second frame.
“We had a game plan and we had too many lapses on defense, which continues to be an issue,” Pilgrim head coach Matthew Fontaine said. “I thought in the second half, they upped the toughness a little bit and we got a little too worried about what the refs were calling. And we really didn’t knock down too many shots in the second half. First half, we were hitting ‘em, second half, we really weren’t hitting ‘em. So in the essence of the game, it’s an 11-point game, but it really wasn’t an 11 point-win. So that’s us right now. We’ve got to figure out how to win some games.”
The Tigers were led by senior Carson Hart, and junior Matthew Gacioch, who scored 21 points each. Kenny Rix guided the Pats with 15 points while teammates Dana Baptiste and Will Pariseau chipped in 11 points each.
Tiverton took a 5-0 lead early in the game on a 3-pointer from Hart and a fast break layup from Tim Levakis. Pariseau answered with a 3 for Pilgrim and pulled the Pats within 5-3.
The Tigers went on a 6-0 spurt a minute later when senior Josh Dore buried a jump shot, plus a layup. Gacioch ended it with a jump shot, which put Tiverton on top 12-5.
However, with eight minutes remaining in the opening half, Pilgrim’s Pariseau buried a corner 3 and got the Pats within two at 14-12.
Then with 2:34 left, Pilgrim knotted the game at 23 on layups from Baptiste and Xavier Monteiro.
The Pats drew their first lead shortly after when Pariseau sank a trey from the corner and gave Pilgrim a 26-25 advantage. Pilgrim added to its edge on its next trip down when Rix buried a 3-pointer, which earned Pilgrim a 29-25 buffer with 1:55 remaining in the half.
The black and white went into the break with a 33-27 lead following a Baptiste breakaway layup and a couple of made free throws from Monteiro.
Still, Pilgrim straggled into the second half, suffering a shot clock violation during its opening possession. Then, Tiverton got within four on a driving layup from Gacioch, who began to heat up.
A minute later, Tiverton got within one when Gacioch caught fire, scoring seven straight points. First, the star guard, buried a 3 from the top of the arc, and then, he followed it with two layups, which gave the Tigers their first lead since the first half, at 38-36.
Pilgrim immediately countered when Dave D’Andrea dished to Jared Reminder for a 3, and put the Pats back on top by one with 12:29 left to play.
The lead changed hands six times after that, and with 5:25 remaining, D’Andrea tied the game at 51 with a jump shot.
Nonetheless, with 4:43 remaining, Tiverton got a put back layup from Dore and that put the Tigers up 53-51 and they never looked back.
With 3:45 left and Pilgrim trailing by just one, D’Andrea was whistled for a foul on Tiverton’s Will Brigham, which sent Brigham to the charity stripe. There, Brigham made the first free throw before missing the second, which was rebounded by Tiverton’s Hart underneath the basket. On that offensive board, D’Andrea was called for another foul, which got the Pats forward upset and he let the referee hear about it. The referee penalized Pilgrim with a technical foul for the fireworks and that gave Hart four free throws in total. The senior made 3 of 4 and put Tiverton up 57-52. The Tigers were also awarded possession after that.
“You’ve got to be better with your emotions,” Fontaine said. “Referees are referees. It is what it is, but you can’t let that affect you. Because, now that kid, who is probably a 90 percent free throw shooter, gets four free throws. It pushed the game to the point where it just had us hanging our heads. And that’s a senior that’s got to be better than that. He let his emotions get the best of him. He has a lot of fire, but he’s got to be smarter there.”
Hart scored via a runner on Tiverton’s ensuing possession and built the Tigers a seven-point cushion. Dore followed that with a put back on Tiverton’s next trip down and extended their lead to 61-52 with 3:27 remaining, and the Pats were never able to recover.
It is the second straight game where Pilgrim lost after leading at halftime. The Pats led Wheeler by five at the break before falling 57-43 last Wednesday, January 9.
“Everyone keeps saying we’re playing hard,” Fontaine said. “We’ve just got to go out there and limit our turnovers. We’ve got to make sure we’re honing the boards a little better and we need all five guys on the court, and everyone on the bench to be ready to rebound. You can’t give good teams second and third chances in those situations.”
Pilgrim plays next on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at North Providence (2-6).