2013-03-14 / News

Basketball team loses in finals, winter sports season complete

Athletic director pleased with success of each team
BY MARGO SULLIVAN

North Kingstown High students made their mark in winter sports during the 2012-13 season, and Jamestown athletes contributed to the winning efforts.

The Skippers competed for the state title in indoor track, wrestling, ice hockey, swimming, gymnastics and basketball, according to Athletic Director Howie Hague.

All the basketball teams – girls’ junior varsity and varsity, and the boys’ freshman, JV and varsity and – made the playoffs.

The girls’ varsity team advanced to the round of 16. “They had a strong season,” Hague said.

Most of the All State teams have not yet been announced, Hague said, but two players on the team have been recognized for their efforts. Allie Barton was named to the All State Second Team, and Brenna Copolla was named Honorable

Mention All Class.

The basketball season finally ended Sunday night when the boys’ basketball team ran out of luck in the final minutes of the championship game against Classical. The Skippers’ opponent had battled back in the second half after North Kingstown had built up a 10-point lead.

Jamestown’s Owen Heath, the starting center, gave the Skippers a chance to tie with nine seconds left in regulation.

The Skippers, who ended the season 24-4, pulled off unbelievable finishes in the Open State Tournament, first edging Cranston West 68-67 on Justin Pratt’s 3-pointer at the buzzer. Then in the semifinal round, Hope forced the Skippers into overtime with a 3-pointer at the buzzer. But North Kingstown held Hope off and went on to win the game, 68-64.

The stage seemed to be set for another miraculous victory, but it didn’t materialize.

Heath’s shot looked good on the way up but ricocheted off the rim and bounced out. The Purple rebounded, drew a foul and put the game away.

“They’re definitely sad right now,” Hague said. “It’s a chance they saw, a missed opportunity.”

But all in all, he said, it was a great season for the boys, who were the last undefeated Division I team in the state.

Heath and Pratt, along with Chris Hess, played for North Kingstown Wednesday night in the Rhode Island Basketball Coaches Association all-star games.

“I’m extremely proud of all the coaches and kids,” Hague said. “It was another phenomenal year.”

To put the accomplishment in perspective, Hague said the Skippers are the only suburban school that regularly competes for the state title.

“When you look at basketball champions, it’s Hendricken, La Salle or a city school,” he said, referring to Central, Classical or Hope, all located in the state’s largest city of Providence.

Also, he said, head coach Aaron Thomas takes on youngsters who play sports other than basketball. His starting five included golfers and football players. Hague doesn’t think anyone on the team will go on to play collegiate basketball, although several are going to play other sports. For example, Chris Hess has been recruited for the University of Rhode Island baseball team.

That’s unusual, he said. Most players on the top teams are dedicated to a single sport.

The Skippers also came away with individual titles in track and wrestling.

Maria Bolibruch won the state title in the 55-meter hurdles. She placed sixth in the New England regionals, and just competed in the nationals where she ranked 31st.

Zachery Emrich won the state title in the 600-meter run. He also won the New England regionals and placed 122nd in the United States.

Both Zachery and Maria are juniors.

In wrestling, Justin Zaremby won the state title in the 182-pound weight class. The team finished 12th overall at the state championships.

The gymnastics team won the state championship for the first time in 11 years and broke La Salle’s decade-long winning streak. That was a surprise, Hague said. The Skippers went into the state tournament ranked third, and then went on to beat both Barrington and the Rams. They also managed the upset without a single player winning an individual event. They did it by racking up points for coming in second, he said.

Prior to the season, gymnastics was cut from the school budget because of the district’s deficit, but the fundraising of coaches and players kept the team alive.

“We had two tremendous coaches who donated their time,” said Hague.

On the boys’ swim team, Boris Paraliticci won the 100-meter freestyle. Boris was named the state’s swimmer of the year. Hague said the award was based on a point system.

The team as a whole was also successful, shocking Bishop Hendricken during a dual meet. It was the first time the Skippers edged the Hawks in 19 years.

“Swimming had a great year,” he said.

The team also won gold in the 200-meter relay at the state tournament.

The girls’ swim team was runner up at the state championship, a finish Hague said he didn’t expect. During the regular season, the girls didn’t fare as well as their male counterparts, but they finished strong in the tournament. Hague said no individual won gold in an event, but the team won with a “lot of seconds and thirds.”

The boys’ ice hockey team, which failed to win a game last year, won the Division II-South regular-season title and made it to the semifinals of the state tournament.

“They had a nice year and turned the team around and made it deep into the playoffs,” he said. “They did move down a division, but the kids all did really well.”

He anticipates Adam Nabb and Pat Limoges will be considered for one of the All State teams.

The girls’ co-op team, which includes players from South Kingstown and Narragansett, also lost in the semifinals. They finished the regular season in the middle of the pack of the DeCosta Division.

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