Scituate kicks off 2019 on right foot

Scituate kicks off 2019 on right foot

Scituate High senior guard Max Pierce, second from right, is surrounded by Davies defenders Royce Ingram, #7, Luis Rosa, #20, and Nashawn Dalomba, #1, as he gets ready to put in a layup during last Thursday night’s Division III game in Lincoln. Pierce scored a game-high 30 points to lead the Spartans to a 57-29 victory. (Breeze photos by Kayla Panu)
Boys’ basketball team hikes record in Div. III to 2-1 by routing Davies

LINCOLN – After dropping four of its first five games of the season, the Scituate High boys’ basketball team began 2019 by knocking down Davies Tech, 57-29, last Thursday night, as Division III play picked back up after the holiday break.

It was a nice win for a young team, which last year, had “a heck of a run,” head coach Ralph Apici said, as Scituate ended its regular season with an 8-9 record and upset Mount Hope in the opening round of the D-III playoffs.

“And we were right on the cusp of upsetting (eventual D-III) champion) Wheeler (in the quarterfinals),” Apici said. “We were actually down only three points with two minutes left, and then we just got beat down the stretch.”

Eight seniors graduated from that team, and the only returning starter this year is senior co-captain Max Pierce, who scored a game-high 30 points in the win over Davies. Another senior co-captain, Chris St. Pierre, saw a lot of quality minutes last year as the backup point guard, and the only other senior on the team, center Dylan Palmieri, had never played organized basketball before this year.

“We’re mostly loaded with sophomores, but the good thing about the sophomores this year is that they’re pretty talented, so the future looks pretty good,” Apici added. “And to be honest, from where we began on day one, they’ve gotten better and better. They’re taking instruction extremely well and doing their best to execute. With that and all the hard work they’re doing, we’re actually improving game in and game out.”

The Spartans, who suffered three of their losses to Division II teams, including West Warwick and Pilgrim in the West Warwick Holiday Tournament that took place after Christmas, scored the first 15 points in their game with the Patriots before holding a 31-12 halftime lead. Pierce also sank three three-pointers and added a dunk.

It was also sophomore guard Ben DeAngelis’ first game back since suffering a high ankle sprain, and he also hit three three-pointers before ending the night with 11 points. Apici noted that in one of the first games DeAngelis started in, he scored 28 points and buried six three-pointers.

The Spartans, who improved to 2-1 in the division with that victory, had defeated the Paul Cuffee School, 53-33, on Dec. 21 in Providence, as Scituate limited its host to just six second-half points. Pierce led the way offensively with 25 points, sophomore Anthony Piccolo added 10, and St. Pierre had 10.

Three nights earlier, the Spartans had dropped their D-III opener to Mount Hope, 79-56, despite getting 21 points from St. Pierre and 20 from Pierre, but they were nowhere near ready to play a team of that caliber, noted Apici.

They also put up fights in their challenging non-league games against West Warwick and Pilgrim, but eventually lost both.

“I think we’ll struggle against some of the upper teams until we grow up a little bit,” Apici remarked. “We’ll be like second-year sophomores by the end of the year, so hopefully, we’ll win what we need to win to make the playoffs. And then, as always, we’ll see what happens in the playoffs.”

The Spartans, who began this week with games against Rogers and Lincoln, will host St. Patrick Academy on Friday at 7 p.m.

“I have a great bunch of kids, I truly do,” said Apici, who is expecting a good second half to his team’s season. “They work hard. (There is) nothing but upside for this program.”

Scituate sophomore guard Ben DeAngelis, left, races down the court with the ball as he is defended by Rosa.