The Pilgrim Patriots were edged out by the Coventry Oakers 32-30 on Wednesday afternoon in a unified basketball battle at Pilgrim High School.
Brandon Yuettner, a senior, led Coventry with 10 points while Pilgrim junior John Plunkett scored eight points and Brian Dusseault, a senior, added six.
Despite the Pats’ second loss in as many games, head coach Steve Mulcahey is happy his team is putting in a solid effort and enjoying themselves.
“I tell the kids they need to have fun, play hard, and be good sports,” Mulcahey said. “As long as they’re good sports and they have fun, we win every time.”
“The kids did a great job,” Mulcahey added. “They all really did well.”
Prior to tip-off, Pilgrim’s PJ Leitzer performed the National Anthem.
The Pats got on the board first with buckets from Grace Forrester and Kaleb Souza and drew an early 4-0 lead.
Next, Coventry pulled within two when senior Tom O’Brien scored a basket.
Then, the Oakers knotted the game at 6 with 9:46 remaining in the half, when Yuettner buried a baseline jumper.
A minute later, Coventry went on a 6-0 spurt and jumped out to a 12-6 lead.
Pilgrim ended that run when Leitzer drained a shot with 6:08 remaining and cut the deficit to four.
However, Coventry closed the half with another 6-0 eruption and brought a 20-10 advantage into the break.
The Oakers’ Owen Ross opened the second half with a bucket and upped Coventry’s advantage to 12.
Then, Pilgrim’s Cam Cochran sank a jumper and got the Pats back within 22-12.
With 12 minutes left, Pilgrim’s Plunkett made three consecutive jump shots during an 8-2 explosion and pulled the Pats within 24-20.
Nonetheless, Coventry would push its edge back to eight when Yuettner made a baseline jumper and then, followed it with a layup on his next trip down.
Then, with four minutes left, Pilgrim cut it to six after buckets from Forrester and Dusseault.
The Pats drew within four with 2:34 remaining when Dusseault scored a bucket after a big defensive board from Jack Clements.
Then, with a minute left, the Pats inched within two when Plunkett sank yet another jumper.
Pilgrim had a chance to tie the game late, but with 11 seconds left, Dusseault’s shot attempt missed the mark and Coventry’s Hayley O’Brien corralled the rebound, which sealed the win for the Oakers.
With the defeat, Pilgrim falls to 0-2 on the season. The Pats play next on Wednesday afternoon at West Warwick High School. Pilgrim’s last home game of the regular season will be played on Wednesday, April 3rd at 10 a.m. against Toll Gate.