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Rebounding helps Bears to JV title

WESTERLY — Defending champion Stonington High won the Westerly Community Credit Union junior varsity title again by pounding out a 64-47 win against Exeter-West Greenwich on Monday.

The Bears (2-3) were ferocious on the boards, had many second- and third-chance opportunities and delivered. Four players scored in double figures and big runs in the first and second halves spelled the difference.

“Second-chance points made the difference,” EWG coach Josh Bednarczyk said. “We got boxed out and gave up too many rebounds — sometimes two, three, four times.”

The Scarlet Knights (1-4) never led, but made valiant comebacks in each half to remain competitive until near the end when a Stonington march to the foul line put the game away.

Ahead 7-4 about five minutes into the game, the Bears put together an eight-point run in two minutes to up their lead to 11. The Knights then scored seven unanswered points to slash their deficit to four.

EWG’s Riley Cooney hit two 3-pointers in the last five minutes, but Stonington’s Bobby Atkins and Griffin Crowley made one each to neutralize the rally. The Bears lead 27-20 at halftime.

“We talked about setting a higher tempo in the second half,” Stonington coach Jeff Balestracci said. “We needed more excitement.”

The Bear lead inched up to 11 or 12 points through the first four minutes of the 16-minute second half.

But the Knights again rose up and cut it to three with seven minutes left.

The Bears roared back with nine straight points and stayed at double digits for the rest of the game. From the four-minute mark on, the Knights tried to play catch-up by fouling on defense and shooting bombs on offense. But two 3-pointers couldn’t offset 12 successful free throws. The overall result was a 17-point final margin.

“It’s encouraging when our practices translate back into real games,” Balestracci said. “It’s nice to get some good results. We’re starting to play together.”

Marc Perry scored a game-high 17 points for Stonington, all in the second half. He also led all scorers in the first round with 38 points in an 82-66 win against Chariho. He was named the JV Most Valuable Player for the tournament.

“I am happy I got the award,” Perry said. “I guess a lot of hard work paid off. We came out with intensity in the second half. We scored by getting boards and putting the ball back up.”

Three other Bears scored in double digits for the game and tournament: Bobby Atkins (15 in the finals and an average of 16 for the tourney), Robert Fry (13 and 12) and Matt Mitchell (12 and 10).

Stonington had a good game at the free-throw line making 21 of its 30 attempts (70 percent). Perry was 5 of 6 and Atkins was 6 of 8 for Stonington.

Sam Hanna scored a team-high 14 points for EWG and averaged 13.5 for the tourney. Adam Kroian scored nine and averaged 10.5.

The Scarlet Knights made 57.8 percent of their free-throw attempts (11 for 19).

Fry, Hanna and Kroian were named to the All-Tournament team. They were joined by Chariho’s Nate Morin and Westerly’s Kevin Kelly.

Westerly.......................... 72

Chariho.......................... 57

Consolation game

WESTERLY — The Bulldogs used unusually balanced scoring to gain a come-from-behind win in Monday’s JV consolation game.

Chariho (0-5) led 35-30 at halftime. But Westerly (1-4) got its first lead about three minutes into the 16-minute second half.

And the Bulldogs kept widening their lead to the final 15-point margin.

All 12 Bulldogs scored, ranging from three to nine points each. Holsten Jimno, Kevin Kelly, Bryce Lombardo and Tim Manfred each scored nine points. Christian Dean had eight.

Tyler Colby led six Chariho scorers with 22 points, 11 in each half. Brian Apice scored 15, Gabe Felicetti netted seven and Nate Morin had six.

Westerly’s Kelly averaged 10.5 points for the tourney and was named to the All-Tournament team. Morin averaged 19, including 32 in the first round, and represented Chariho on the All-Tourney team.

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