Raiders give Kilties scare in state playoffs

Raiders give Kilties scare in state playoffs

Mount Pleasant’s Charles Martinez, #1, can’t keep up with Shea’s Erickson Bans as he races down the court with the ball during last Thursday night’s state tournament opener at Johnston High. Bans scored 25 points, but the Raiders ended up suffering a 75-64 loss to the Kilties. (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)
Raiders give Kilties scare in state playoffs

JOHNSTON – One year after playing Bishop Hendricken in the state championship game at URI’s Ryan Center, the Shea High boys’ basketball team went toe-to-toe with another one of the top teams in the state, Division I champion Mount Pleasant, last Thursday night in their opening-round game of the open state tournament at Johnston High, but the 15th-seeded Raiders ran out of gas and suffered a 75-64 defeat to the second-seeded Kilties.

“Personally, I just think we ran out of gas around the six-minute mark,” Shea head coach Stephen DeMeo said. “I was trying to give guys a break here and there. And when they sat down I could see it, the gas tank was low.”

“But they gave everything they had,” he added. “(Mount Pleasant) is a great, great basketball team. We hung with them; they didn’t knock us out. We lasted 15 rounds with them. Our kids played hard, and I give them all the credit in the world.”

Shea took a 36-32 lead at halftime by scoring the half’s final five points. Tahkwan Gates Brown sunk a shot to give the Raiders a 33-32 lead, and Erickson Bans followed that by stealing the ball and hitting a three-pointer.

“We tried to keep our turnovers low in the first and hit the boards,” DeMeo said. “We did well with the turnovers, and we were very confident at halftime with the lead.”

The Raiders held onto their lead through the first six minutes of the second half, but the Kilties’ Manual Roman got a three-point play in the paint to give the Kilties a 49-47 advantage.

The Kilties kept themselves in the game, as did the Raiders. With just over nine minutes to play, both teams were tied at 51-51, and the lead kept flipflopping. But when the Kilties started to pull away, the Raiders couldn’t keep up and quickly fell behind by nine, 65-56.

The Raiders than mustered a comeback, and with 1:08 to play, Gerald Soe’s bucket cut Shea’s deficit to 68-64, but the Kilties came back with the game’s final seven points.

“They’ve done it all year,” DeMeo said about his team. “These kids are nitty-gritty. You had two cities’ schools going at it tonight with a lot of pride in their basketball. And (Mount Pleasant’s) a great team. I’m just proud of our guys that we could stay with them.”

Despite having the flu and being spotted throughout the playoffs, Bans still put on a show for the Raiders, scoring 25 points, and DeMeo said Bans was back in full form throughout the game. Soe had 18 and Marquis Gomes added 13.

DeMeo highlighted his five seniors that he said “will go on to bigger and better things.”

“Gerald (Soe) is as good as anyone in the state,” DeMeo said. “We’ve got Ruben (Delgado), who is a hard-hat guy and does all the dirty work. Joe (Adegboyega) is the smartest guy we have on the floor. Lucas (DeSilva), this was his first year of playing high school basketball, but during the course of the season, he stepped up big. And Orlando (Correia) is a guy who just came every day and worked hard; he’s just one of those guys you love to coach.”

The Raiders may not have made it back to the Ryan Center, but they still enjoyed an excellent season that saw them finish in a three-way tie for sixth place in Division II with a 12-6 record and reach the quarterfinals of the D-II playoffs. DeMeo was an assistant coach with Shea last year and was happy about his first season as the head coach.

“We’ve had trials and tribulations, but the bottom line is, when the referee throws the ball up, everybody is together and they have one goal, and that’s what I’ll remember about this year,” he said. “We had some talented guys, and we had guys who just worked their butts off to be good. We didn’t quit. We played the number one team in the state, and we got it until the last couple of minutes.”

Shea’s Ruben Delgado, #24, puts in a layup between Mount Pleasant’s Darren Robinson, #5, and Naszell Pona, #4, during last week’s state tournament opener at Johnston High. The Kilties topped the Raiders, 75-64.