Tierney scores 29 as Portsmouth cagers defeat Chariho

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PORTSMOUTH — Patriots varsity boys' basketball coach Joe Occhi has been singing the praises of senior guard Brennan Tierney all season.

On Tuesday afternoon against Chariho High School, Tierney had his best game yet, scoring a career-high 29 points in the 65-56 win. He sank two 3-pointers and was a perfect five-for-five from the foul line.

“Brennan Tierney had perhaps his best game of the season. He also had three assists and two steals. He was all over the place,” said Mr. Occhi.

After the game, Tierney gave credit to his team. “My teammates had me for some easy baskets and I had some great looks,” he said.

Mr. Occhi agreed that it was an all-around team effort.

“Cole (Swider) was hot in the beginning,” he said of the freshman who’s had a hot hand for the Patriots. “He had 15 or 16 in the first half.”

Swider finished with 20 points, including four 3-pointers that all came in the first half. Junior forward Colin Tullson contributed 8 points, including two 3-pointers.

Also stepping up was senior forward Christian Darden in place of junior Chris Carpenzano, who’s out with a separated shoulder.

“Christian Darden played his best game of the year; he was great today. He was solid for us in the middle, he scored when he had the opportunity, and a big strong guy on the boards,” said Mr. Occhi, who was also pleased with how the team rebounded after its disappointing loss to Rogers the night before (see below).

“It was another big test today because we kind of laid an egg last night against Rogers, and they came back strong again,” he said.

Added Tierney, “It’s good to bounce back from last night. I think when we focus in and work hard, we can really play with any team in our division. I think we have to use that mentality and focus on upcoming games and the playoffs.”

Tuesday’s game went on as scheduled despite the several inches of snow that dropped around the time of the earlier junior varsity game, making driving conditions miserable.

“We kind of had to get this one in,” said Mr. Occhi. “Chariho was on the road early, so they were already halfway here when (the snowfall) started to go crazy. This was already a makeup game and the Chariho coach’s wife is expecting a baby this weekend, so we didn’t want to take any chances.”

Falls to Rogers Monday

If something can go wrong, it will go wrong, according to Murphy’s Law, and that held true for the team in its home matchup with Rogers High School Monday night.

After leading the Vikings by two going into the second half, the Patriots decided to kick up their defense in an effort to hold Rogers’ key offensive players, Quaraan Bostic and Rob Harold, from scoring. In doing so, however, they left Kareem Cooper open, allowing him to put in 23 points toward Rogers’ 66-56 win.

While focusing on offense, the Patriots managed to keep Rogers within a basket for the first half, with Swider racking up a team high of 17 points, including his two 3-pointers and going three-for-three from the foul line.

Tierney’s 14 points and Tullson’s 10-point game were an effort to close the gap, but Rogers’ top three shooters were able to amass a collective 55 points to secure the Vikings’ victory.

The Patriots next play Barrington High in a home game Friday, Feb. 21, beginning at 7 p.m.

With additional reporting by Eric Dickervitz.

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