WESTERLY — It was Senior Night, and the Westerly High boys’ basketball team, particularly senior forward Anthony Garro, went out in style.
Garro made a short hook shot in the lane with three seconds left to lift the Bulldogs to their second straight dramatic victory, this time an impressive 54-52 victory Friday over division-leader Prout, currently No. 3 in the Division II playoff seedings.
Despite the win, Westerly was eliminated from the postseason.
Prout (14-8, 12-5 Division II-South) had a chance to tie, but a contested 18-foot, fallaway jumper was missed to preserve the quality win for the Bulldogs (8-13, 6-11 Division II-South).
Garro, a 6-foot-1 forward, enjoyed a big night with a career-high of 16 points to go with 10 rebounds. Sophomore Jacee Hamelin led Westerly with 19 points.
“Anthony came up huge, especially in the second half,” Westerly coach Mike Gleason said. “It was his best game ever at Westerly and he picked the right time for it.”
Westerly called timeout with the score tied at 52 with 18 seconds left. The Bulldogs were looking for a shot from Hamelin, who was double-teamed.
“We reversed the ball, and Scott Liguori found Anthony in the paint for a little hook shot,” Gleason said. “I’m very proud of the way the kids have played down the stretch, winning three of four including two with game-winning shots. Prout is a quality team even without their injured center (6-foot-7 freshman Tomas Murphy).”
Hamelin, who hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer Wednesday to lift the Bulldogs over Lincoln, 54-53, in overtime, was clutch again Friday. The sophomore guard made two late 3-point baskets, including a trey with 50 seconds left to tie the game at 52. Hamelin also had seven assists. Tyren Gamble added 10 rebounds, and Liguori chipped in 11 points.
It was the final home game for seniors Garro, Gamble, Liguori and Ryan Young. Senior guard Kyle Allen, who injured his heel Feb. 11, did not play.
Though Westerly is on a recent roll, it received disappointing news after the game when the team learned it was mathematically eliminated from postseason play.
Cumberland won Friday to clinch the final spot in the Division II playoffs. The top 10 teams qualify. The last time the Bulldogs did not qualify for the postseason was the 2007-08 season. Westerly finished 5-16 that season.
The Bulldogs end their season at Chariho Tuesday at 7 p.m.
North Kingstown.......... 63
NORTH KINGSTOWN — North Kingstown broke loose for 38 points in the first half and downed the Bulldogs Friday night in a Division I-South game.
The Skippers, blessed with a bevy of talented inside players, led 38-17 at the half. It was only the third time this season the Bulldogs have allowed more than 60 points in a game.
“We didn’t play good defense and we didn’t rebound,” Westerly coach Holly Misto said.
North is 18-2 overall and 13-2 in the league after the victory. North lost to South Kingstown and unbeaten Bay View earlier this season.
Maddy McLaughlin led the Bulldogs in scoring with 14 points. She made a pair of 3-pointers.
Alyssa Valentini contributed nine points. Izzy Carey led the team in rebounds with seven.
Kristjana McCarthy and Taylor Buckley led the Skippers with 12 points each.
Things do not get any easier for the Bulldogs (9-11, 7-8 Division I-South).
Westerly returns home Tuesday to host South Kingstown on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Rebels are 12-4 overall and 10-3 in the league heading into Friday’s game against Exeter-West Greenwich.