Stonington Borough, CT
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WESTERLY — Jacee Hamelin’s 22-foot shot at the buzzer rimmed out and the Westerly High boys’ basketball team fell just short against Central Falls 71-68 in Thursday’s Division II crossover game.
Hamelin’s missed shot capped a rough final half-minute for the Bulldogs in which nothing seemed to go right.
Westerly led 68-67 and made a big defensive stop with under a minute left.
The Bulldogs (3-7, 1-5 Division II-South) got the ball into transition quickly, broke out 2-on-1 but missed the layup at the other end and then fouled Elser Colindres who grabbed the defensive rebound.
Westerly was in the two-shot penalty and Colindres hit both of his free throws to put the Warriors (8-3, 6-0 Division II-North) up by one with 30 seconds left. Colindres finished the game with 18 points.
Central Falls made sure that Westerly had a hard time bringing the ball back up the court on its next possession.
“We had the team limit but they (the Warriors) only had two fouls so they hacked us the entire way back up the court,” Westerly coach Mike Gleason said.
Westerly failed to score and was forced to foul again and again the Warriors made both shots to go up by three.
Gleason said Hamelin had an open look from 22-feet but just couldn’t get the shot to fall.
Hamelin, a sophomore, led Westerly with a career-high 30 points.
“Jacee (Hamelin) had a great game. They (Central Falls) were playing really aggressive against him and he was able to score off dribble penetration. They had to double-team him later in the game.”
Westerly trailed by six points with 4½ minutes left but was able to rally and take a one-point lead on one of Kyle Allen’s three 3-pointers.
Allen had 15 points for the game.
Alex Morgan scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench for Westerly. Gleason said the 6-foot-6 junior center nearly had a double-double in the first half.
“It was really good to see Alex (Morgan) have such a good game. He’s really come along.
The 12 points and 10 rebounds were both career highs for Morgan.
Despite the loss, Gleason was impressed by the level of play both sides displayed.
“It was really an up and down game,” Gleason said. “This was one of the best games I’ve been a part of, it’s just too bad we came out on the losing end.”
Central Falls led Westerly 41-37 at halftime.
Thursday’s loss was the second conecutive close game that got away from the Bulldogs. Westerly fell to Cumberland 64-59 on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs beat the Warriors in their only meeting in the 2012-2013 season 59-44.
Anthony Garro grabbed 10 rebounds.
Julian Soares led the Warriors with 21 points.
The Bulldogs visit Lincoln Tuesday at 7 p.m.