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WOOD RIVER JUNCTION â€“ For most basketball teams, the recent snowfall of the region was not welcomed as it put a halt to recent games.
But for the West Warwick Wizards, it may have been a blessing in disguise.
After losing three straight games last week, the Wizardsâ€™ game Friday against Westerly was cancelled which afforded the team much needed practice time and a chance to regroup and gain its confidence.
Chariho was the unfortunate victim of a rejuvenate Wizardsâ€™ squad as they dismantled the Chargers 77-44.
â€śWe definitely got our confidence back. Having that practice time was invaluable for us. We were barely practicing at all and there were a ton of corrections we had to make after the losses that occurred, unfortunately, with all the snow there was no time to do so,â€ť said West Warwick head coach Richard Grenier. â€śThis was a good win to get us back on track and competing for one of those top four spots in our Division.â€ť
The Wizards blitzed the Chargers with an intense man-to-man full court press that led to numerous turnovers and easy conversions.
Guard Max Motroni spearheaded the attack, scoring all 22 of his points in the first half.
Teammate John Morrison added 16 points during the first 16 minutes of play as the Wizards jumped out to a 49-15 halftime advantage.
â€śWe just wanted to be aggressive on defense. I felt we had been playing a little soft, and going man-to-man full court would get us playing with intensity,â€ť admitted Grenier.
â€śJohn and Max were both great tonight. They did most of the damage in the first half and didnâ€™t even play much in the second. They let the game come to them and took what was there.â€ť
That aggressive defense was the staple to West Warwickâ€™s team during a stretch that saw them compile an 8-1 league record and top billing in Division II.
A loss at Shea where they surrendered a then season high 77 points, began a bad string of defense for the Wizards as they gave up more than 70 points to Tiverton (80) and Taunton (72), both losses.
â€śWe werenâ€™t getting hands on loose balls, not making deflections, and giving up too many rebounds and put backs,â€ť said Grenier. â€śThe effort and execution werenâ€™t there. Tonight, we set the tone early and played that way the entire night, which was a problem for us earlier in the season.â€ť
Chariho, in fact, erased a 22-point halftime deficit when the two teams played back in December, but would experience no such comeback on this night.