WESTERLY — It’s a rarity when an RIIL Division II basketball team gets an opportunity to beat a Division I team twice ... in the same month let alone the same season.
Chariho High beat South Kingstown by a point in an Injury Fund game at home two weeks ago. Monday, the teams met again in the WCCU Holiday Tournament consolation game. Chariho brought a different intensity level and got a different result because of it, with South Kingstown winning 67-58 at Federico Gym.
“We didn’t bring enough energy to beat a Division I team,” Chariho coach Corey Downey said. “We played harder in the first game.”
South Kingstown coach Roland Fiore watched his JVs rally late to make the Westerly game close (six-point loss) in the WCCU first round. He rewarded Ben Brutti with a start and the sophomore guard responded with 23 points on 7-of-9 shooting from 3-point range. Six-four senior Myles Tyler Robinson added 22 and nearly matched the production, as well as exceeding the intensity level, of Chariho’s 6-6 standout, Levi King (29 points).
“We didn’t really make many adjustments from the first game against Chariho [despite losing 46-45],” Robinson said. “It was more a matter of us getting more practice time with each other and getting more conditioned. We know Brutti has a great shot, so we’re not shocked with him going off.”
The left-handed Brutti hit three 3-pointers in first half and four in the second.
“We were a little late getting to him on the first couple of 3s,” Downey said. “He hit some tough shots after that.”
The Rebels (1-3) took charge from the start, extending a 22-20 lead to 32-20 on a 10-0 run until King’s 3-pointer off glass in the final seconds trimmed the Rebel advantage to 32-23 at halftime. King, who scored 30 in the first SK game, had just six in the first half while guarding Robinson.
But in the second half, King was unstoppable offensively. He finished with 29, including three 3-pointers and an 8-of-8 performance from the free-throw line.
“Levi gave us 29 points, and he’s such a special offensive player,” Downey said. “He’s still working on raising the other parts of his game. He wants to be a complete player.”
A King scoop shot and subsequent three-point play cut SK’s lead to 38-32 with 10:42 left. But Robinson responded with two hoops and Brutti canned a 3 to put the Rebels up, 43-34.
King’s two free throws cut the gap to 43-38 with nine minutes left, but Brutti sandwiched two 3s around an Alex Jefson 3 to give SK a comfortable 54-41 lead that was never seriously challenged thereafter.
Nate Felicetti added 12 points, and a team-high seven assists and six rebounds for Chariho (3-3).