The Pilgrim Patriots unified basketball team was topped 45-30 by the Thunderbolts on Wednesday afternoon at Cranston High School East.
East’s Sam Gray topped all scorers with 15 points and Larenz Martin, Zack Jennings, and Emily Sanita chipped in eight points apiece for the Bolts.
John Plunkett led the Pats with 14 points, while Olivia Hauke finished second in scoring for Pilgrim with eight points.
“John made it a point of making sure we had a play for him, and he told me it was going to work, and it worked,” Pats head coach Sean Magee said. “He was right. John was in a good position. He has good help from his partners, and they put him in a position to be successful and he was very good tonight.”
Hauke too was hungry to find the bottom of the net.
“Olivia loves the ball,” Magee said. “Her and Matt (Conceicao) are No. 1 and 2 in that they want the ball, they want to make plays, they want to score, and that’s what their focus is. They want to put the ball in the basket.”
East’s Jennings started the game with back-to-back buckets during a 6-0 Bolts spurt, which Jonas Gomes capped with a short-range jump shot.
Then, Kaleb Souza pulled the Pats within 6-2 when he drained a jumper of his own.
Next, East’s Sanita scored two straight baskets, and then Martin added another, which put the ‘Bolts on top 12-2.
East maintained its 10-point advantage at 18-8 when Jennings sank a lay-in with just under five minutes remaining in the first half.
The Bolts extended its margin to 24-10 after Gray made a baseline runner, and then Martin a short-range jump shot with a minute and a half left in the half.
Pilgrim started the second half with a 6-0 spurt, where Plunkett scored two baskets and Hauke one, and that pulled the Pats within 24-16.
Nevertheless, East earned some space at 30-16 after Gomes buried a jumper from in front, and then Gray a layup.
Then, Pilgrim’s Souza responded with a layup, and then Plunkett a jumper, and that got the Pats within 30-20 with 6:52 to play.
With five minutes left, East scored via jump shots from Gomes and Jordy Espinal and upped its lead to 36-22.
Moments later, Gray added a 3-pointer from the left-wing, and then followed it with a breakaway layup, and that put the ‘Bolts on top 45-28.
Pilgrim’s Souza beat the final buzzer with a jumper from in front, which pulled the Pats within 45-30.
Pilgrim dropped to 0-2 on the season while East improved to 1-1.
The Pats scored 12 more points than they did in their opener at Toll Gate where they fell 30-18 to the Titans.
“I thought that we showed some great improvement over the course of the week in practice,” Magee said. “Cranston East has some really good athletes. The teams coming together more, excepting their roles, knowing what roles they have. I’m just happy with the effort, happy with the improvement, and their having fun, which is the most important part of the experience for them.”
“That’s all I’m asking from all these athletes,” Magee continued. “Have fun and just improve every week and at the end of the year, we’ll be where we need to be.”
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the unified basketball season is postponed indefinitely.