Boys basketball: Chariho’s ride ends at hands of Narragansett in first round of states

Boys basketball: Chariho’s ride ends at hands of Narragansett in first round of states

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WESTERLY — Against a talented team like Narragansett, the Division II champion, Chariho High could not afford a lapse of any kind.

Unfortunately for the Chargers, that slip came late in the first half. The Mariners pounced, pulled away in the second half and posted a 70-51 victory in a first-round game of the state boys basketball tournament Thursday at Westerly’s Federico Gym.

The Chargers finished the season 16-9, their best record since a 20-7 mark in 2005-06.

“It stinks because, you know, last game,” said senior forward Tom Longolucco, who had 12 points and five rebounds. “I wish we could’ve kept going. But I love this team and the fans are great and we couldn’t have asked for a better season.”

The third-seeded Mariners (20-3) keep going. They will face No. 11 South Kingstown in the quarterfinals on Sunday at CCRI-Warwick. SK beat No. 6 East Greenwich, 61-53, in Thursday’s second game at Federico.

Chariho, seeded 14th, stayed right with Narragansett through much of the first half. After center Ben Harrison scored with about two minutes left in the period, the Chargers trailed 27-25.

But Longolucco and Harrison, both racking up fouls, were taken out of the game to avoid further foul trouble. And that’s when the Mariners made their move, going on a 6-2 run that included two putbacks and a steal and layup by guard London Sudduth to close the half up 33-27.

It wasn’t a huge lead by any means. But it set the tone for the second half.

“Having Ben and Tommy out, this is probably the last game I’d want those guys to be in foul trouble because those are the only guys that can really be physical with [Narragansett],” Chariho coach Corey Downey said. “It kind of takes away our physicality and it made us go into our zone, and that’s not who we are. So that definitely caused a problem.

“They killed us on the boards in the first half. We probably gave them 10 offensive rebounds.”

The Mariners can score (four starters average in double figures), they have size (6-5 Thomaz Whitford is a beast in the middle) and they can defend (Sudduth, a quick guard, is especially nettlesome). And in the second half, their talent was on full display.

After Longolucco hit one of two free throws to cut it to 37-30 with 14:35 left in the game, Narragansett went on a 14-4 run to all but put the game away.

On various possessions, Matt Ryan (10 points) scored on a pick-and-roll, a backdoor cut and a putback; Michael Levesque hit a wide-open 3; Whitford (15 points) was fouled on a putback and converted the three-point play; and Sudduth (14 points) finished the spurt with a layup to make it 51-34 with 11:44 left.

Downey called timeout, but the damage was done.

“We knew going in we had to do a better job on the boards,” he said. “Easier said than done against a team that has Whitford, Ryan and their guards are active on the boards — [Jack] Lurgio’s tough. I thought we executed really well in the first half when we ran sets. In the second half, we just kind of stopped running sets and they were able to turn us over a little more leading to easy baskets.”

Said Longolucco: “They’re all huge so it’s hard to box out and to really get our offense going against that kind of size in the paint. We were playing well [in the first half]. We had faith. Their size just kind of killed us.”

Lurgio added 15 points for Narragansett.

Dylan LaBelle led Chariho with 15 points. Harrison finished with seven points and five rebounds.

“We had 16 wins overall,” Downey said of the season. “To do it in D-II, with 12 D-II wins and a [division] playoff win under our belt, I don’t know how long ago Chariho has had double-digit wins in D-II (the 2005-06 team had 17 D-II regular-season victories).

“So I think we came out and we accomplished what we wanted at the beginning of the year. To make this tournament is really special.”

















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