EAST GREENWICH – A 20-point first-half performance from Avenger senior Patrick Shea was spoiled as Narragansett rallied on strong shooting to win Tuesday’s Division II contest, 60-58, on a 3-pointer from senior Colin Cameron with 12 seconds left.
The Mariners didn’t have their first lead – at 55-54 on another Cameron 3-pointer – until there were less than three minutes left in the game. Sophomore Aydin Kocak, who tied senior Sam Lewin as the second-highest scorer on EG with 10 points, hit his second of two 3-pointers with 32 seconds left to put the Avengers back ahead, 58-57. The lead would only last 15 seconds until the ball got in Cameron’s hands in the left corner.
“They had an answer for every defense we were in,” EG head coach Don Bowen said of the Mariners, who outscored EG by 10 points in the second half after trailing 37-29 at the break.
“[Mariner junior guard Colby] Corson was a force; Colin Cameron hit the big three, we know he’s a prolific 3-point shooter. On the last possession, we were willing to give up something inside. We knew we had to get to the corners; we just didn’t get there, and he made a big shot.”
“That’s a well-coached team,” Mariner head coach Kyle Bodington said. “It was a battle of who had the last possession, and who could come up with the play to win the game. That was an equal matchup, both teams came in 5-2, it was great all the way around.”
“We went stagnant for a while,” Bodington continued. “But we heated up because we started getting good looks. When we got good looks it made it a lot easier for us, and we knocked them down.”
Corson had 13 of his team-leading 19 points and three of his four 3-pointers in the second half and helped shoot the Mariners out of a 12-point hole. He went 4-4 from the line in the first half and didn’t make it in the second. Cameron added eight of his 13 points and two of his three 3-pointers in the second.
“In the first half,” Bowen said. “Patrick Shea played the best 16 minutes of basketball you could ever ask for. That’s hard to maintain for 32 minutes. He carried us on his back singlehandedly.”
Shea had 22 total and showed his versatility, hitting twice from outside and going 7-for-9 from the free-throw line. EG went 7-for-10 from the line overall.
As EG went up 7-0 to open the game, Shea hit three free throws after the 3-point foul then scored on a two-man break with guard Jack McMullen. He was 5-for-5 from the line in the first. He scored on the break, passed, hit jump shots and went inside off the glass. In the second he went 2-for-4 from the stripe.
“He’s dynamic,” Bowen said of Shea. “They concentrated more on him, but fatigue was a big factor.
“We just tried to bump him,” Bodington said of Shea. “Have multiple guys switch off on him and make sure that we denied him the ball. One of the best players in the state; he’s underrated. It really has a complete game and plays the game the right way.”
EG was up 37-29 at halftime and took a 41-29 lead in the second when Lewin scored a nice layup in traffic, but they stalled a bit after that. Both teams struggled to score for a couple-minute stretch, but when the Mariners came out on the other side they were shooting well. Especially Corson and Cameron, who combined to match EG’s 21 second-half points.
“We knew that as things evened out,” Bowen said. “That Narragansett would come back and make a strong run at us. We thought we would have to score 60 to beat them. Just a great high school basketball game; Narragansett has had their way with us over the past couple of years, and the curse continues.”
Jordan Riendeau had six from the floor, all in the first. Junior Mike Levesque had 10 with two first-half 3-pointers. Freshman Matt Calabro had seven. Junior Atticus Duncan had five, going 3-for-4 from the line.
Riendeau and Duncan were big bodies inside and part of the reason that Shea was slowed up by the later minutes.
Sophomores Andrew Plympton and Jack McMullen each had seven, and they each had one of EG’s seven 3-point makes. But they combined for five in the second. Kocak came off the bench and led EG with eight in the second. Lewin was the second biggest scorer in the second with six. Senior David Norton had two points.
“They’re well coached and they are actually very good inside,” Bowen said of the Mariners. “They were a force inside, and when you have inside and out it’s really difficult to defend that. We did an adequate job on the backboard, but we had foul trouble: Shea had four, Lewin fouled out at the end. They are our one-two rebounding guys.”
The Avengers were also missing junior guard Grant Driscoll, the Avengers third-leading rebounder and best on-ball defender according to Bowen. Senior David Norton and Kocak, who hit the late go-ahead 3-pointer, filled in for Driscoll at guard.
“Kocak has come in off the bench the last two games and given us quality minutes,” Bowen said. “Plympton played well. It was a good team effort, the kids left everything out on the floor, the results just weren’t there.”
EG is now 5-3. On this Thursday, January 17, they play at Juanita Sanchez (5-2).