Favorite teams, moments of winter

Posted 3/22/23

The Bishop Hendricken hockey team took home a 2-0 state championship win over rival La Salle last weekend to officially wrap up the winter sports season at Beacon Communications.

As always, it was …

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Favorite teams, moments of winter


The Bishop Hendricken hockey team took home a 2-0 state championship win over rival La Salle last weekend to officially wrap up the winter sports season at Beacon Communications.

As always, it was a lot of fun to watch for our schools and teams. Prior to the season tipping off, if you remember, I mentioned that winter sports were collectively my favorite to cover. After this season, I will stand by that statement.

We had many standout athletes and teams, so here are some of my favorite stories from the winter.

Although the Warwick co-op boys hockey team did not win it all, that team was probably the one that I found most interesting to cover.

After a down season last year in which it won just one game, the young Militia would turn things around fast and all of a sudden become a force in Division I. The eventual champion Hawks needed a wild third period comeback in the semis to get the job done against Warwick, but make no mistake about it, the Militia was absolutely a top team in the state. I believe that it could have beaten the Rams if they squared off.

Warwick will return a large core next year and should be among the cream of the crop again. It’s been awhile since a public school has won a hockey title at the Division I level, and I believe that Warwick will have as good a chance as any to get it done.

The Hendricken basketball team was also a great story. I know, I know, Hendricken is always a favorite to win a championship. But after losing to La Salle in the division matchup, it did not feel that way heading into the big dance.

My favorite part of the championship was the fact that it was Hendricken’s role players that stepped up. Mike Paquette, Matt Brock, those guys were the difference in that game. Eze Wali and Azmar Abdullah were studs all year long, so it was nice to see the other guys step up.

The Pilgrim girls also surprised the state by winning the Division III Championship at RIC. I was happy for the seniors on that team, especially Gianna Ramos and Faith Meade. Those two had seen it all in their high school careers, going from a winless season to a championship.

Between a few shaky seasons, having a new coach in Kaitlyn Rachiele, it was hard to make a firm prediction heading into the season. To predict the Pats would be hoisting the championship plaque, though? I would not have guessed it.

Then of course, the Johnston boys, who won the Division II title.

You know, it is sometimes nice to see the team that should win actually pull it off. It’s always fun to root for an underdog, but at the same time, you have to appreciate dominance.

Although the Panthers let their guard down and lost a couple of games late in the regular season, they were clearly the best team in the division and would roar to the title. Between Derek Salvatore, Anthony Corsinetti, Neari Vasquez, Camani Batista, Johnston was just so deep in talent and it showed. It really was the best team in that division, hands down. Middletown emerged as a true threat and gave Johnston everything it could handle in the championship, but the Panthers were the best team across the entire season and deserved that win.

I am looking forward to seeing how the Cranston West boys play next year. The Falcons got off to a 2-5 start and appeared to be in some trouble, but then became one of the best teams in Division II in the back half of the regular season schedule to earn a playoff berth. A few players will be graduating, but a few will return.

The Toll Gate girls will also be welcoming back Adeline Areson which will be interesting to see. The Titans reached the Division III semis and will have a few girls coming back. I’m excited to see how they fare as well next winter.

Lastly, Cranston’s Brooke Anderson had a huge end to her season by winning the all-around gymnastics championship at both states and regionals. What a way to end her high school career and what a nice achievement for the city.

I’m sure there are plenty more that I am missing, but overall, what a fun winter sports season. Spring will be here in a couple short weeks, then the summer, and round and round we go.

There was some huge Rhode Island news as longtime Providence College men’s basketball coach Ed Cooley decided to pack his bags, leave his hometown team and join Georgetown, a conference rival.

This has created quite a bit of buzz since it was officially announced on Monday afternoon. I would say the majority of Rhode Islanders are angry and disappointed, which is and isn’t surprising.

Why it is not surprising is obvious, it’s his hometown club and he’s not only leaving, but leaving for a rival team. Locals have every right to feel betrayed and abandoned.

Why it is surprising, though, is because at the end of the day, how do we not accept the fact that coaching turnover is frequent in college sports? I’m sure it was nothing personal, just money if we’re being honest.

Cooley is arguably the most accomplished college sports coach that the state has ever seen. He brought the program back to life and established it as a true powerhouse at the Division I level. Instead of pointing fingers, lashing out, the best solution is to appreciate what he did and to realize that everything must come to an end. On to the next one.

pitch, sports, columns


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  • Mt1354

    Thank you for your kind words on the Pilgrim Girls Basketball team and the shout out to Gianna and Faith!

    Friday, March 24, 2023 Report this