Freshman basketball team gets help from islanders
The North Kingstown High School boys' freshman basketball team easily beat Tollgate last week in their final home game of the season. Their record is 7- 3 with one more regular season game before the playoffs.
One of those wins was a big 76-63 upset over the Hendricken Hawks, who are currently in first place in the division, and their only loss was to the Skippers. Head Coach Jim Simmons was thrilled with the win. "We had a huge win against Hendricken. They pressed us the whole game and we kept breaking it. It was an up-tempo game and we ran very well that game and scored 76 points. We have never scored 76 points," he said. Although Tollgate has not won a game yet this season, the Skippers were down by two at one point in the opening half. Tollgate was not going down easily, but the Skippers still took a 20-16 lead into the second half.
"I told the kids before the game, this is the most dangerous team. They are 0-9 and they have they nothing to lose," Simmons said. "When they (Tollgate) showed up here they were all together and they warmed up together as a cohesive team."
North was able to pick up the momentum in the second half, however, and rotated all the members of the squad into the game to get the 46-29 win.
Jamestown resident Ryan Southworth had a strong game and was praised by Simmons. "Southworth is a good defensive guy. If we are in a situation where we need to shut down one guy from the other team, Southworth is the guy I put in because he is very quick. He is a great kid and one of the hardest working guys on the team."
Simmons also commended islander Mike Schnack and said, "He is excited to be here and he played well tonight. He has got a very good jump shot and he works very hard in practice."
The other two islanders on the 14-member squad are Romil Patel, who Simmons calls "a very good player who is often a starter,"
and Steve Santos, who is a starter who continues to improve, according to Simmons.
Santos has done well with the transition to high school basketball, but, he said, "It has been a lot harder. We are a much better team, but we have not worked together as a team as much. So, at the beginning of the year, we had to get used to each other. We have improved a lot playing together this season."
In the pre-season, 27 kids went out for the freshman team and 13 were cut. According to Simmons, "There have been a few instances in the past where kids have been cut as freshman and they come back the following year as starters."
Jamestown resident Mike Mc- Dermott is a member of the junior varsity team, who also beat Hendricken, and islander Dom Anderson is playing on the varsity team. Head Varsity Coach Aaron Thomas said, "Anderson is a very valuable player to us. He is probably the best physical player on the team. He'll go out and play physical every night and bang the other team's best player." Last Friday North beat LaSalle 68-65 and Anderson contributed 11 of those points.
The varsity team is currently in first place in the division (9-1) and plays at home tonight against Woonsocket after the JV game. The freshman team's first playoff game is on Feb. 5.