RIIL Season Wrap-Up
The only of New England’s six states to crown one undisputed basketball champion, Rhode Island first crowns champions in all three of their divisions, but then hands out one cumulative prize as the top 16 teams regardless of class battle it out in the state championship.
When it was all said and done, LaSalle Academy left absolutely no doubt as to who the best team in the RIIL was, winning both the state open as well as the division I championship.
The division I title was their second consecutive, but after falling in the semi-finals of last year’s state championship, they were determined to get over the hump this year and did just that, knocking off Barrington 61-51 at URI’s Ryan Center.
C.J. Waite, Mike McCourt and Lawrence Sabir all contributed to a balanced offensive effort, scoring 17, 16 and 15 respectively, but each played a special part in the team’s run.
Sabir was a stat stuff all year long for LaSalle showing tremendous athleticism at the point guard position while not only scoring and creating for others but also crashing the glass.
Waite was the defensive sparkplug in the championship game, holding Barrington’s Corey Daugherty, Rhode Island’s Gatorade Player of the Year, to 8 second half points after he had 14 in the first.
McCourt hit a pair of three-pointers in the final five minutes of regulation, the first to break a tie and the second to push the lead to six with two and a half minutes remaining.
LaSalle Academy almost met Barrington a couple of weeks earlier, in the Division I final, except North Kingston snuck out a 70-67 win over Barrington in the semifinal, setting up a final against LaSalle.
The champs knocked off North Kingston 60-52 at Brown University. Waite was again the star in that one, scoring 21 points, while Sabir and Jimmy Pare both added 12. Jake Gillis led North Kingston with 17.
North Providence blew out Middletown 66-31 in the division II finals after sneaking by Juanita Sanchez 51-49 in the semis. Nick Geremia had 21 points, including 10-11 from the free-throw line, while Nick Marchand and Chris Corin would finish with 13 and 11 respectively. North Providence would finish with a 17-0 record in division II and 24-1 overall after suffering their only loss of the season to Mount Pleasant in the Elite Eight of the State Tournament.
4th seeded Johnston scored a series of close wins to take the division III title, first knocking off Warwick Veterans 68-64 in the quarters, then Moses Brown 61-58, before beating Pilgrim 65-55 for the championship. Larry Dureault scored a team high 20 points while Ryan Yankee added 12.