By ALEX SPONSELLER The Toll Gate boys basketball team rolled past visiting Central Falls 68-55 in the Division III Prelims last Friday. Despite pulling within two points in the second half, the Warriors were unable to close the gap as the Titans rolled
The Toll Gate boys basketball team rolled past visiting Central Falls 68-55 in the Division III Prelims last Friday.
Despite pulling within two points in the second half, the Warriors were unable to close the gap as the Titans rolled in the final minutes to secure their second win against Central Falls this year.
“I think that we can pressure them and they can’t really handle our pressure to be honest with you. We forced a lot of turnovers, unfortunately we had a lot of turnovers ourselves which kind of helped keep them in the game, but our pressure I think is the difference between our two teams,” said Toll Gate coach Tom Rayko after the win.
Francisco Lopez led Toll Gate with 16 points while Austin Noon added 15 and Alex Usher 12. John Gyra also chipped in nine points in the win. Jaquell Christal led Central Falls with a game-high 18 points scored.
After losing much of its core from last year’s improbable playoff run, the Titans turned to new faces to carry the load this year. Rayko was happy with his leaders’ performance in their first playoff action.
“They did a good job. Fran has been pretty steady all season, scoring baskets and doing the little things that he needs to do to keep the team moving forward. Austin is our glue guy, he is always in the mix. Getting rebounds, hitting shots here and there, playing scrappy defense. they have done a good job leading the ship from last year,” said Rayko.
Rayko also credited his bigs for helping wear down the Central Falls attack down the stretch.
“That is why we did not call many timeouts down the stretch. We have a pretty deep team this year, we didn’t play everybody but we did try to wear them down. It is our pressure again, that is what puts us over the top,” said Rayko.
The Titans will now take on Johnston tonight on the road in the Division III Quarterfinals. The Panthers got the better of the teams’ first matchup this season, but Rayko and company plan on playing their same game.
“(Johnston is) a solid team, they’re athletic, have some guys that can shoot 3’s. They have (Thomas) Zednik who is a big guy that can score from the inside,” said Rayko. “Our key is to play pressure in and fast transition up the court. We will continue to play our style and make game-time adjustments from there.”