My Pitch

Burr's breakout, other playoff stories

By ALEX SPONSELLER
Posted 3/3/20

We are right in the thick of the winter postseason. We have had state champions, teams fall short, and other clubs still grinding through the toughest part of the season. Here are my updated thoughts on the playoff-championship season: Heading into the

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My Pitch

Burr's breakout, other playoff stories

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We are right in the thick of the winter postseason. We have had state champions, teams fall short, and other clubs still grinding through the toughest part of the season.

Here are my updated thoughts on the playoff-championship season:

Heading into the 2019-2020 winter season, the Pilgrim girls basketball team looked poised to make another deep run at a Division III Championship.

I have beaten this story to death, but the one downfall of the Pilgrim girls last season was their offensive woes. Plain and simple, the team could not shoot.

The Pats put in a ton of work this season and improved some, but still never fully proved that they could score points in bunches when needed.

Things may be different now, maybe they have finally turned a corner. Junior Kelsey Burr had a breakout game in Pilgrim’s 33-27 win over Davies in the preliminary round last Friday, when she paced the Pats with 13 points and hit big 3-pointers in the second half.

I love covering games like that. Burr has been a regular piece to the team this year, providing important minutes off the bench, but she flat-out carried the team at times in the win.

In the games that I have covered this season, it is clear that Burr’s performance was not a fluke, either. She has been one of their top shooters, if not their top shooter, all year. Now, maybe she will get a bigger load moving forward, which I don’t think would be a bad idea.

On the boys side, I was sad to see Pilgrim fall to Narragansett in the opening round.

Sometimes, one team will just have another’s number.

Don’t get me wrong, Narragansett is a quality club that is a legitimate playoff team. However, it just felt that Pilgrim was peaking at the right time and had all of the pieces to compete, and possibly win, the Division II crown.

Tyriek Weeks is the best player in DII, Kenny Rix is back and healthy, guys like Jared Reminder and Peter Kay have played well, and the Pats were playing their best ball in the final few weeks of the season.

I’ll be honest with you, I still think Pilgrim is the better team. But, Narragansett won each contest … scoreboard.

Weeks will be back next year, so Pilgrim automatically should be in the playoff picture. Let’s see how this loss affects the returners.

My final hoops thought. Hendricken will be tipping off its postseason tonight when it hosts Coventry, and I am anxious to see how the Hawks look.

The Hawks have been the best team to this point this season. So let’s see how they look in their first postseason action since being stunned in the opening round of the open tournament last March.

This is a new-look team for the most part, but I am curious. I expected the Hawks to take a step back this year considering they lost most of their starting lineup, but they haven’t missed a beat. Let’s see how legit this team is.

Surprise, surprise, the Hendricken swim team won the state championship over the weekend.

Look, you don’t need to hear me go on about how great another Hendricken program is. So I will try to keep this brief but hit on my points.

This is the Hawks’ 29th title in 30 years. That is ridiculous.

Dave Hanson is only adding to his legacy as the state’s best swim coach ever. He is only chasing himself at this point.

The Hawks once again had the deepest and most versatile team in the state … they had contenders across the board.

CJ Sheldon is easily the best sprint swimmer in the state, taking home wins in the 100 and 50 free and breaking the state record in the 50. He has carried the club in these events as well as the relays throughout the year. The scary part is that he is just a junior, teams will have to deal with him for another year.

Sheldon cemented his place in the Hendricken history books this past weekend, as well as the state’s. His performance was phenomenal, and one that will be hard to top.

I’m sure Hendricken will be right back in the mix and will be the favorite next season, maybe I will be wrong, but it doesn’t seem like it.

Next up, hockey.

Pilgrim cruised to back to back wins to advance to this weekend’s Division III Championship series against West Warwick.

I’ve got to admit, I’m torn on how I feel about this.

Pilgrim has been the best team in Division III for yet another year, with West Warwick once again being the second best.

I expect a competitive series and would not be surprised to see it take three games, but ultimately, I find it hard to imagine Pilgrim skating away empty-handed.

The Pats may not have the bona fide star like in years past with Jack Clements, but Pilgrim has three solid lines on offense, size and skill on defense, and quality goaltending … I just don’t see it losing in a series.

The reason I am torn however, is because if Pilgrim wins this year, I think it may be time to explore a possible move up in divisions.

Pilgrim has dominated Division III for three straight seasons and has competed with top-tier teams in non-league play as well. The Pats topped Mount St. Charles in a non-league matchup this year, and the Mounties will be competing in the Division I Semis this weekend.

I do enjoy watching teams reign over divisions, but after three straight years, I feel that change may be necessary. And if I am coming off negative, I certainly do not intend to do so. I respect the hell out of the Pilgrim program … which is exactly why I am saying it may need to search for better competition moving forward.

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