EAST PROVIDENCE — The first basketball game played in the refurbished East Providence High School gymnasium will go down as a loss for the Townies as visiting Barrington blew out the hosts, 62-47, in a non-league boys’ outing played Saturday afternoon, Dec. 14.
The Division II Eagles trailed early, but broke open the contest just past the mid-point of the first half. Matt Rota’s 3-pointer from the corner put Barrington on top (20-18) for what proved the rest of way. The visitors closed the opening 16 minutes on a 19-2 run to eventually take a comfortable 36-20 lead to intermission.
“We didn’t take care of the ball. We took poor shots. There were too many guys thinking about ‘me’ rather than the team. We got away from what we did earlier in the half,” East Providence head coach Alex Butler said of Barrington’s run before the break. “And defensively because we have so many new guys, they still don’t understand what it takes to play defense at this level and contain people.”
The Eagles’ advantage continued to grow at the beginning of the second half. Barrington’s outside-inside duo of superb junior guard Corey Daugherty and emerging sophomore forward Matt DeWolf each made a bucket at the start, raising the Eagles’ lead to 20 (40-20) just 45 seconds into the final stanza. The visitors’ largest margin of the afternoon (49-26) came a bit later when Kevin Mannix (9 points) drove the baseline for a layup.
Daugherty, Barrington’s 5-foot-10 floor leader, finished with a game-best 28 points, scoring 15 in the first and 13 in the second. DeWolf, at 6’7″ with the potential to become a real force on the interior for the Eagles, scored eight of his 14 points in the first half. His presence and rebounding in the paint, coupled with the tenacious work by his mates defensively on the perimeter spurred Barrington’s first-half outburst. The Eagles turned the Townies over, got in passing lanes and contested just about every E.P. shot.
“I think obviously Corey was our catalyst. He knocked down a couple of 3s, got a few steals for us, got us out in transition,” said Barrington head coach Pat Sullivan. “But I think the key to the first half, which is what I said to them in the locker room, was that Matt DeWolf established the inside for us. He had eight first-half points. He started, took some time off on the bench, but was much aggressive when he went back in. I think that made a huge difference for us.”
East Providence senior standout guard Charlie Brown led the Division I Townies with 17 points, scoring seven early in the game before being silenced by the Eagles for the better part of the day. No other Townie reached double figures. E.P. did receive solid efforts from junior forward Franz Gabriel along with senior guards Brandon Rebollo (6 points) and Michael Lyles (6 points).
The Eagles improved to 2-0 in the preseason, coming off another victory over D-I Mt. Pleasant earlier in the week. East Providence slipped to 1-1, having defeated D-II Tiverton on the road to begin its schedule.
“Barrington is a very good team. That’s why I like playing against them early before we get into the league,” Coach Butler added. “Pat always has them prepared. They’re going to fight and scrap you both offensively and defensively. And the kid Daugherty is a heckuva ballplayer. Mannix is solid. And the big kid (DeWolf) is real good.”
Both teams begin their league slates next week. Barrington plays one more D-I opponent, LaSalle at home Tuesday night, Dec. 17, before tipping off against II-East foe Portsmouth Friday night, Dec. 20. The Townies play a pair of I-Central games against league rivals Hope, Dec. 17, at home and in Providence, Dec. 20, against Central. All games tip at 7 p.m.
“I couldn’t be happier with where we are right now after just two weeks. We’ve beaten two Division I teams in Mt. Pleasant and East Providence,” Coach Sullivan added. “And as I told Alex, I thought the team he put out there tonight was very impressive. They’re quick. They can shoot. They’ve got some size. So they gave us some challenges. We just have a good group of kids and one like Corey, who is going to play at the Division I (college) level, that really helps out a lot.”