EPHS sports notes: Townies keep pace with leaders in D-I boys’ hoops

EPHS comes close to first girls’ hoops league win, falls at buzzer

Photos by Tyler Maxwell
Posted 1/21/20

EAST PROVIDENCE —  The start of the 2019-20 Division I season for the East Providence High School boys’ basketball team could not have gone much better for the Townies. Save for a …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?

Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.

EPHS sports notes: Townies keep pace with leaders in D-I boys’ hoops

EPHS comes close to first girls’ hoops league win, falls at buzzer


EAST PROVIDENCE —  The start of the 2019-20 Division I season for the East Providence High School boys’ basketball team could not have gone much better for the Townies. Save for a close loss to perennial power Bishop Hendricken, the locals have staked their claim as a potential contender for both league and state titles over the first month of the season.
Last week and at the start of this one, the Townies claimed a pair of victories. On the road against Smithfield a week ago, R.J. Pina’s 22 points and his 11 rebounds led EPHS to an 86-79 win over the Sentinels. Four other Townies also scored in double figures: Brian Taylor 19, Justin Pena 18, Josh Kauffman 15 and Matt DosSantos 10.
At home Monday, Jan. 20, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, EPHS hosted Central, handing the visiting Knights an 80-73 defeat as the Townies improved to 5-1 in the league. The locals rallied from a 41-36 deficit at halftime for the win. Pina again led five EPHS players in double figures with 25. Taylor had 20, DosSantos 14, Kauffman 11 and Pena 10.
Of note as well from last week for the EPHS boys’ cagers, the Townies’ home game against Hope Wednesday night, Jan. 15, was postponed due to inclement weather. The contest is now scheduled to be played Saturday, Feb. 22, with a tentative tip time of 4 p.m.
EPHS reached a mid-week rematch (January 22) a half-game back of Hendricken for first place the I-A subgroup. The Hawks suffered their first loss last week, 66-61, at LaSalle, but regrouped to improve to 6-1 by defeating reigning league and state champion North Kingstown, 51-49, earlier this week. Hendricken defeated the Townies 81-75 in their first meeting of the season three weeks ago.
To date, EPHS has among the most high-powered offenses in the state, averaging 78 points per game in its six league outings heading into the Hendricken rematch. Pina leads the locals at 21.6 points per night. Taylor was scoring at a 15.4 per clip and Kauffman 12.7. Pena was at 9.4.
“Things are going well,” said EPHS head coach Joe Andrade. “R.J. is having an All-State-type year. Kauffman got off to a slow start, but he’s averaging a double-double (10-plus points and rebounds). Taylor is making a big impact, especially recently. Pena, (Zach) Russell and Dos Santos are all playing well.”
The Hendricken contest began a four-game stretch for the Townies to close out January against three of other top teams in the state. EPHS plays at LaSalle (January 24) and hosts aforementioned North Kingstown (January 30) around a home outing against a struggling Cranston East side (January 27).
Andrade said while the Townies have shown an obvious ability to score the basketball, key to them being competitive with the elite is how they play at the other end of the court. EPHS entered the second Hendricken contest allowing 68 points per game.
“The bottom line is defensively we need to be better if we’re going to beat someone of note,” Andrade added.

— East Providence Post and eastbayri.com contributing photographer Tyler Maxwell shot the accompanying gallery of EPHS boys' hoops photos.

Girls’ hoops
On the flip side, the EPHS girls’ basketball team has offered up better performances of late, but still entered the new week winless in Division I league play after the Townies dropped a pair of games. The Townies dropped to 0-6 at the time with the losses.
In Cranston, West defeated the locals, 62-49. Arianna Soares and Makiah Denson each 12 points to pace the locals, who trailed just 23-21 at the break before the host Falcons pulled away in the second half. Jaliyah DaCruz added 11 and Savannah Feola eight.
The Townies came very close to picking up the elusive league victory on the road to close last week in Johnston, but the home Panthers hung on for a 49-48 win. EPHS trailed 28-13 at intermission before making a furious rally over the last 16 minutes. The Townies actually had the ball last, but failed to get a shot off before the final buzzer. Denson led all scorers with a night best 15. DaCruz had nine, Soares eight, Feola and Ahmya Ingram six each.

Indoor track
The EPHS girls’ indoor track team struggled to score points in its most recent Division I-Headley subgroup meet against the traditionally strong Cumberland and LaSalle sides, losing to the Clippers 101-6 and the Rams 92-17, respectively. The Townies dipped to 1-5 in division meets at that moment.

The Moses Brown/East Providence High School co-operative team played just once this past weekend due to weather. The Quakers were shut out, 5-0, by Hendricken in a Division I outing played January 17 at Thayer Arena in Warwick. MB/EPHS entered action this week with a 0-4-1 league record.
The victorious Hawks scored a short-handed goal in the first period, which proved the game-winning tally. Hendricken added two goals each in the second and third periods to cruise to the comfortable win. The Hawks outshot the Quakers 40-9. EPHS senior goalie Cole LaValley was credited with 35 saves for the locals.
The MB/EPHS game against Smithfield at the Route 146/R.I. Sports Center Saturday, Jan. 18, was postponed because of the evening’s snow. A makeup date is to be announced.

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.