The No. 16 Cranston East girls basketball team cruised past visiting No. 17 Toll Gate 58-32 in the state play-in game on Monday night. The Lady Bolts will now take on top-seeded North Kingstown in …
The No. 16 Cranston East girls basketball team cruised past visiting No. 17 Toll Gate 58-32 in the state play-in game on Monday night. The Lady Bolts will now take on top-seeded North Kingstown in the Sweet 16 round of the open state tournament.
Senior Kathy Hernandez had a career performance in the win, leading East with 29 points, including 12 in the first quarter to set the tone early.
“It was awesome. I told her to just keep shooting. Run the offense, go out there and keep shooting. There is no better way to have your last home game. That is what I am going to miss about her, she can run the offense but also hit the 3-ball. She was really helpful tonight,” said East coach Jhamal Diggs.
Aydan Gulliver chipped in 10 points for East while forward Mya Jiminez added seven.
Hernandez and Gulliver shot lights out in the win for East, which prepared to rely on its guards heading intothe matchup.
“We had four or five days of practice and watched a lot of film.
We knew that, according to their defense, that we would be ableto pop out and take those shots. We told (Hernandez) and our other guards, if you have the shot take it. We did plan for that,” Diggs said.
Toll Gate was led by sophomore Adeline Areson with 12 points. Bri Simono scored six in the loss.
The Bolts used its press defense through much of the night, which caused Toll Gate problems when trying to find its offensive rhythm.
“We weren’t fluent at all tonight on offense. It was troublesome. Credit to Cranston East, their defense was stifling and they caused a lot of problems for us,” said Toll Gate coach Owen Paquet, who was impressed by Hernandez’ performance. “She caused a lot of problems. She gave them a lot of second chances on their missed shots, too. Their entire team shot really well, but she’s a really tough player.”
Toll Gate was eliminated with the loss, but will only be graduating one senior and looks to make another run next winter.
“We got our butts handed to us tonight but it’s great to see so many girls coming back with us only graduating one senior. We’ll miss her to death, but it’s great to see so much talent and skill set returning,” said Paquet, who will miss senior Sariyah Evora.
“Sariyah has been an unbelievable team player. She’s totally committed, shows up to practice and is a true Toll Gate Titan from head to toe.”
As for East, the team will look to put on another show against the Skippers, who recently won the Division I title.
“Especially with a young team, getting to that point is going to be tough. Even getting here was tough. That is how the state tournament is,” Diggs said. “They don’t call it the Sweet 16 for nothing, it’s the best 16 teams in the state.”
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