EAST PROVIDENCE — Most everything about East Providence High School’s performance Tuesday evening, Jan. 31, was impressive as the host Townies ran Central out of Ramos Gym by a 58-37 …
EAST PROVIDENCE — Most everything about East Providence High School’s performance Tuesday evening, Jan. 31, was "impressive" as the host Townies ran Central out of Ramos Gym by a 58-37 score for a key Division I boys’ basketball win.
“It was impressive,” said EPHS head coach Joe Andrade after the contest, the result of which upped EP’s league record to 9-4 and gave his side its first win to date over a team that was in front of it in the league standings. The guest Knights dropped to 10-3 in the league.
The victory also ended a four-game losing streak for the Townies against Central, stretching back to the D-I playoffs in 2021. The Knights also had won their last three visits to the new EPHS facility, including a victory over the locals in the annual Mutter Memorial Holiday Tourney six weeks ago.
“This was a big game for us because Central has kind of been in our heads,” Andrade admitted. “I told them before the game it was just one game, but if we play the way we’ve been the last few weeks this would be the result.”
Individually, junior Trey Rezendes played likely what was his best game of the year for the locals and undoubtedly had the best three-minute sequence he or any Townie has had so far this winter as he finished with a night- and season-high 23 points, all coming by the end third quarter.
But it was Rezendes’ personal 11-point spree midway through the second quarter that was most impressive and actually helped the Townies cement their advantage.
With EP up only 19-15, Rezendes started his spurt with a 3-pointer from the corner. Next he drained another triple from wing, giving the hosts their first double digit margin (25-15). He heat-checked himself with his next shot, a step-back J with one foot just inside the arc.
Rezendes gave way to mate Kemerie Dublin for a moment, the latter putting back an EP miss to make it 29-18 Townies. Rezendes then hit a fall-away “trey” from the corner for good measure for the last bucket of his sterling run.
“In that timeframe the game was still close,” Andrade said of Rezendes’ second quarter explosion. “He’s capable of doing that. Even though it was only the second quarter he put us over the top. He gave us the confidence. He got us going.”
Will Winfield, back from injury, was also impressive in his return for the Townies at both ends of the floor, finishing with nine points. Winfield, who has been in and out of the lineup recently with a lingering knee ailment, was a force when the game mattered in the back of East Providence’s zone defense.
Dublin had eight. Alex Mulamba and Derrell Liggins chipped in six off the bench. Townies’ leading scorer on the season Xavier Hazard, a focal point of Central’s defense early, had just three points.
After the teams traded buckets to start the game, East Providence took the lead for what proved the rest of the night when Winfield sank a free throw to make it 7-6 midway through the first quarter. The Townies would eventually hold a 13-10 lead to the second.
Rezendes’ run ended with the Townies up 32-18 with around two minutes to go before the break. They would maintain a 35-18 edge at intermission.
EP doubled up the visiting Knights for the first time seconds into the third quarter on a Jayveeon Gonsalves free throw. A Rezendes layup next made it 38-18 Townies. East Providence ended the period up 48-26 after a Liggins layup in the final seconds.
Andrade left his starters on the bench in the fourth. The Townies’ lead later reached a night high of 26 twice, first on a Mulamba rebound-putback (56-30) and then on his layup (58-32).
East Providence is back at it Thursday night, Feb. 2, when the Townies travel to neighboring Barrington for a league game with a 7 p.m. tip against the 9-5 Eagles.
“I think this game says we’re a team to be reckoned with,” Andrade added of the significance of the Central win, adding about the Eagles and some of the other teams left on the Townies’ slate, “But we still have to play a Barrington team that is right there with us, a tough East Greenwich team and a very good LaSalle team.