NARRAGANSETT—Run! Run! Run!
It was a simple message West Warwick coach Richard Grenier had for his players Wednesday as the Wizards ran, ran, ran past Narragansett for a 57-30 victory in the opening round of the Narragansett Summer League playoffs.
“Our game at West Warwick for as long I’ve been there is to just push the tempo and run as fast we can up the floor,” Grenier said. “We’ve done a very good job of that. We’ve been very consistent with our fast break and we’ve been very unselfish the entire summer.”
Dan Doyle did his best to keep the Mariners in the game – dropping a team-high 19 points in the process – as Narragansett only trailed 25-18 heading into the break thanks to a 10-4 stretch from the junior point guard to end the first half.
“We wanted to slow them down the best we could and we were able to do that once we started moving the basketball,” said Jay August, who coaches the Mariners’ junior varsity squad in the winter. “Kids were good with the basketball and it started to open things up, so we were able to keep it close.”
A quick bucket out of the half got the Mariners to within five but that would be as close as the Wizards allowed their opposition to get.
Kody Greenhalgh and Brad Young combined to score 23 of West Warwick’s next 27 points as the top-seeded Wizards opened up a commanding 52-25 advantage over the Mariners with seven minutes left to play.
“That man defense kind of got us a little flustered,” August said. “They were able to get a couple key turnovers. We had a couple opportunities, couldn’t finish on a couple layups that we had but I’m pretty happy. The kids work hard and I can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Greenhalgh scored a game-high 20 points, while Young finished up with 15. The Wizards only needed three points from Austin Paygai, who was a disruptive force defensively and spearheaded West Warwick’s up-tempo style.
Next up for the Wizards will be a match-up with Providence Country Day – who escaped with a one-point victory on a buzzer beater in overtime in the game prior – Monday at 8 p.m. at Christofaro.
West Warwick has yet to lose a game this summer, which is a bit of a scary thought for the rest of the league heading into the winter as it has been without one of its best players in Trevor Lawton.
As for the Mariners, Wednesday’s game marked the end of an interesting summer to say the least.
Narragansett equally divided its talent and leadership amongst two summer league teams, all the while without knowing who its head coach will be this winter with Dave Gee leaving the program.
Even still, August says both Mariner squads achieved their goal of gaining familiarity with the other players and flat out improving their skills.
“Once we got going – I’d say after that first game, the first game for both teams was tough – the kids worked hard,” August said. “[It was] exactly what I was looking from them.
…They got better in the summer and that’s all I can ask. It’s not really about winning summer league. They came out here, they competed, they worked together [and they did] all the things that we need to get better at to compete in Division II next year.”