Rhode Island Division II & III Preview
With last year’s champions depleted by graduation anything can happen in division II and III of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League this year. While repeat champions have been the trend in recent years we wouldn’t be surprised to see some new kings crowned this year. Here is a look at the contenders:
Classical High School – The two time defending champions will have to compensate for the loss of big man Ashton Watkins and point guard Lavon Waite. Mike Palumbo becomes the primary scorer offensively after averaging 14 points per game last season. Jordan Jones should emerge as a capable second scorer to give classical a one-two punch that should allow them to stay in the hunt in division II.
Portsmouth High School – If we had to pick a favorite right now we may go with Portsmouth. Andrew Chrabascz proved his worth on both the regional and national scenes this past spring and summer, and although his perimeter skills are developing at a steady rate the sophomore forward should be able to dominate the interior like no other player in division II. Six-foot-four senior Pat Fagan joins Chrabascz to give the team a great interior tandem. Guard play will be crucial if Chrabascz n’company hope to hoist the state championship trophy.
Shea High School – Senior guard Malcolm Moniz returns after averaging over 20 points per game as a junior last season. Shea will be far from a one man show with fellow seniors Rudy Brito and Kevin Walker returning from the squad that went 19-8 a year ago. Shea and Classical project to be the top two contenders in the north. Malik Moody stepped up in the team’s opening game of the season, scoring a team high 13 points in a win over Tiverton.
• Westerly was 16-10 last year and returns junior big man Zach Wells who should help them challenge Portsmouth in the south.
• Jay Jeannotte was division II’s leading scorer last year but Narragansett will have to replace him by committee to follow up on the success of last year’s 25-3 record.
• Senior guard Kyle Moreino returns for a Scituate team that went 14-12 a year ago.
• Nate Stitchell returns for a Coventry team that hopes to duplicate their success from a season ago in the south.
• West Warwick is another club hoping to pick up where they left off last winter behind guys like Reuben Paygai and Max Motroni.
Moses Brown – This year projects as a rebuilding one for head coach Elliott Butcher and the defending state champions as Moses Brown loses four important seniors from last year’s squad, including Anjuwon Spence.
Central Falls – Last year’s runner-up is this year’s favorite. Despite losing eight seniors, they return arguably the best player and best one-two punch in division III as senior guard Rob Alers is a pure scorer who can put points on the board in a hurry and Antonio Mena a terrific compliment, capable of going for 20+ on any night. They scored a big win over division I St. Raphael Academy to start the season with Alers going for 23 points, 7 assists, and 5 steals and Mena 19 points and 17 rebounds.
Mount St. Charles – This is sleeper pick in division III. A big early season loss to Central Falls showed they may not be capable of knocking off the state’s best just yet but with six-foot-five senior forward Colin Russell on board they are a threat to just about anyone else.