NARRAGANSETT—Brian Lamendola is what summer league basketball is all about.
After graduating a starting center, point guard and 1,000-point scorer Prout coach Jed O’Malley knew he’d have some holes to fill on this year’s roster.
That being said, he also knew he had significant pieces returning in Chris DiClemente, Alex DeLuca and Drew Mace – as well as a freshman who already has three Division I scholarship offers before ever playing a high school game in Tomas Murphy.
Four players do not make a team, however, and that is where Lamendola fits in.
O’Malley has gotten contributions from a number of players this summer – Bryan McCormack, Casey Farrell and Seth Mace, among others – but none has made more significant improvements than Lamendola.
“He’s really just stepped up,” O’Malley said. “His attitude is so much more aggressive, he’s vocal, he’s confident, he’s shooting the ball with confidence [and] he was running the show.
“From the first game of the year he came in and played with just a ton of aggressiveness. He’s playing like he wants to play, like he wants a starting spot. It’s been a real pleasant surprise with him playing the way he has this summer.”
Wednesday the senior guard put forth a tremendous effort, albeit in a 47-46 overtime loss to Providence Country Day at the buzzer in the first round of the Narragansett Summer League playoffs.
Lamendola poured in 18 points against PCD but what was most impressive about his performance was when he scored his points.
The Crusaders trailed 13-8 with seven minutes left in the first half when Prout finally began to find the range.
Lamendola scored eight points – including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the half – as a part of a 19-2 Crusader spurt to put Prout ahead 27-15 heading into the break.
PCD ultimately worked its way back into the game though, and with two minutes remaining tied the contest a 40-all on a free throw from Nick Deblasio.
Both teams traded sloppy possession before Lamendola broke the tie with 28.6 seconds remaining with a 3-pointer, but Deblasio answered back 13 seconds later with a triple of his own to tie the game.
Farrell got a decent look at a 3-pointer as time expired for the win but his attempt drew iron and bounced out.
Lamendola had another clutch moment in the extra session – burying a game-tying free throw with 46.5 second to play – but Joey McNamara put PCD back up by one with a foul shot 21 seconds later.
The Crusaders fired back though, as DiClemente posted up a smaller defender in the lane and dropped in a short jump shot after elevating over him to give Prout a 46-45 lead with 10 seconds remaining.
The win was not meant to be for the Crusaders though as Harrison Igot pump faked a defender at the other end and swished a 16-footer with less than a second to play to lock up the victory for the Knights.
“Down the stretch when it got tight we executed,” O’Malley said. “We come down, get our shot and then that kid, that’s the kid we wanted shooting the ball. He up fakes a three, takes a dribble and he made a great shot.”