bmcgair@pawtuckettimes.com

PAWTUCKET – Jacob Lopes was the Shea basketball Raider with a thousand moves Thursday night and just about all of them were effective.

A senior, Lopes controlled the action down low with 10 field goals that helped net him 22 points as Shea pulled away for a 68-49 win over East Greenwich at “The Cage.” It was a key win for the Raiders, who improve to 10-3 in Division II while the Avengers fall to 9-5.

“I thought he was the difference,” said EG head coach Don Bowen when the impact registered by Lopes was mentioned afterwards. “Putbacks or second shots, he was very effective.”

Bryant University-bound Erickson Bans led the Raiders with 24 points, yet it wasn’t exactly vintage Bans. The senior picked up three fouls in the first half and played the final 4:41 with four personals.

With Shea’s primary scoring cog enduring a rare off-night, Lopes pounced and delivered in a major way. Predominantly a right-handed finisher, Lopes went up with his left hand a few times and experienced nothing but success.

“I worked on my left hand all summer … trying to be ambidextrous” said Lopes with a smile. “This was a big win for us.”

“He’s our second leading scorer,” noted Shea head coach Steve DeMeo about Lopes. “For all the points and rebounds, I was more impressed with the number of times he dove on the floor. That showed that his heart and soul was in it.”

The Avengers were paced by junior Andrew Plympton’s 19 points. DeJuan Hayes swished three 3-pointers to net 12 points for Shea, now winners of three straight.

The Raiders weren’t always in command. In fact, you might say East Greenwich was the better team in the first half despite trailing 34-33 at halftime. The Avengers were controlling the action on the glass and took full advantage of a Shea squad that struggled with the outside shot. 

“We weren’t getting back on defense,” said DeMeo.

The start of the second half was when the true separation ensued. East Greenwich came out ice cold and missed its first nine shots and turned the ball over on three straight possessions. The inactivity looked even worse when Shea scored nine straight points to open up a 43-33 lead. The game-changing surge saw Lopes score a hoop with his left and make a nice move along the baseline.

“We took off the press and communicated much better,” said DeMeo. “We just locked down. That’s not a game that Erickson is going to send to the Hall of Fame but everyone else picked it up. We knew our offense would come.” 

Added Bowen, “We missed a couple of layups and it got away from us in a hurry. We didn’t make any shots and that forced us to change our defense a little bit to try and get back in it.”

Plympton helped East Greenwich get back on track with five straight points that pulled the Avengers to within eight (49-41). The visitors would draw no closer as both teams went through an offensive lull but it was Shea still very much in command at 56-44 with 4:55 remaining. 

Lopes capped off his banner performance with back-to-back baskets that made it 66-49. 

“Not everyone is going to split a double team or make a deep shot like Erickson does, but hustle is everything in basketball,” said Lopes. 

A three-game week awaits the Raiders starting with a Monday road game at West Warwick before crosstown rival Tolman pays a visit next Wednesday. The busy stretch concludes next Friday at Burrillville.  

Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03

EAST GREENWICH (49): John McMullen 1 0-0 2, Grant Driscoll 3 0-0 8, Andrew Plympton 7 5-13 19, Roman Gloria 3 0-0 6, James Harwood 3 0-0 7, Daniel Prior 0 1-2 1. Totals: 20 6-15 49.

SHEA (68): DeJuan Hayes 4 1-3 12, Kenny Silva 1 0-0 2, Erickson Bans 6 8-8 24, Jacob Lopes 10 2-2 22, Enrique Sosa 0 0-0 0, Elijah Evora 0 0-0 0, Maliek Monteiro 4 0-2 8, Marcus Gonsalves 0 0-0 0, Jaylen Andrade 0 0-0 0, Pedro Tavares 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 11-15 68. 

Halftime: S 34-33. 

Three-point field goals: EG 3 (Grant Driscoll 2, James Harwood); S 7 (Erickson Bans 4, DeJuan Hayes 3).

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