By ALEX SPONSELLER The CCRI men's basketball team is currently in the midst of a six-game winning streak to start the regular season 6-1 overall. The Knights return after missing last season due to the pandemic, but have not looked out of sorts as they
By ALEX SPONSELLER The CCRI men’s basketball team is currently in the midst of a six-game winning streak to start the regular season 6-1 overall.
The Knights return after missing last season due to the pandemic, but have not looked out of sorts as they have already received a national ranking and have beaten some of the region’s top opponents, including a big win over Quincy on Tuesday evening. CCRI currently is ranked No. 9 in the nation.
“We’re a work in progress after missing last year. The kids stayed active in their own workouts, but since we did not have a season it has made us a work in progress,” said CCRI coach Rick Harris, who has been encouraged by the early results.
“We’ve won the games that we were supposed to win which is good. We also got a nice win over a team that usually gives us trouble in Central Maine. We have picked up some league wins. It’s one of those things, we’re not sure who the iron is yet since each team is in the same boat, no one played last year. We’ve got a tough schedule coming up, but I’m happy with where the kids are at this point and we just have to keep getting better.”
The Knights have an inexperienced roster this winter with only two players – Mitchel Noresca and Luke Fusaro – having received significant minutes during the 2019 run in which CCRI won its region.
Harris and his staff have relied heavily on the duo, and Noresca has been averaging more than 18 points per game and is fifth in the country in rebounds.
“(Noresca’s) gotten off to a good start for us, he’s a very active player and is currently fit in the country and rebounds. He’s one of our more experienced guys and has become a leader. He’s a hard worker and does all the little things,” said Harris.
Another emerging piece for CCRI is freshman point guard Nelvin Blanco, who is finding big minutes in his first year of play since graduating from Cranston East. Harris has been pleased with his transition and hopes to add more to his plate as the season wears on.
“Nelvin is coming along nicely. He’s adjusting to this level and he’s progressing nicely for trying to learn. He’s playing the point so he’s not scoring the way he was in high school, but he’s capable of scoring. We’re just trying to get him to run the offense and play defense. He’s a strong kid and a good athlete,” Harris said.
The Knights have three more games prior to the two-week holiday break at the end of the month. Harris hopes to see the team enter the break with some momentum and continue to improve for the second half in January.
“This will be our toughest portion of the schedule, we’ll see what we really are,” Harris said. “We’ll take it one game at a time though, try to build on them and get better.”
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