Townies axe Avengers, eye boys' hoops state tourney bid

EP is qualified for league playoffs, sends seniors home with a victory

By Mike Rego
Posted 2/12/24

The East Providence High School boys' basketball team locked up a seeding in the top half of the upcoming Division I league playoffs and moved a couple of points closer to securing a return trip to …

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Townies axe Avengers, eye boys' hoops state tourney bid

EP is qualified for league playoffs, sends seniors home with a victory

Posted

The East Providence High School boys' basketball team locked up a seeding in the top half of the upcoming Division I league playoffs and moved a couple of points closer to securing a return trip to the Open State Championship Tourney in March with a pair of wins last week.

The locals rallied from a double-digit, second-half deficit then hung on in the final seconds to edge Narragansett 70-69 in an important late season Division I outing on the road Wednesday evening, Feb. 7. Two nights later, The Townies recognized its seniors then pulled away from visiting East Greenwich en route to an easy 66-43 league victory.

East Providence improved to 11-6 in the D-I standings with only one game left on its regular season schedule Tuesday, Feb. 13, in Providence against LaSalle at 7 p.m.

The Townies are jousting with Cumberland for for fifth place in the final 2023-24 standings. Each is eyeing home playoff games in the opening round of the league championship tourney and a spot in the Open Tournament.

Of note, though, Cumberland maintains that edge over the Townies due to their 55-52 win over the locals in late January. The Clippers had two league games left at 13-3 Hendricken and at 3-13 East Greenwich.

Things were much less stressful for the locals at home last Friday night when they sent the Avengers home with unlucky league loss 13 and their seniors — Ochgwu, Jacobs, Derrell Liggins, Cam Evora and Brandyn Van Wagner — home with a win.

Liggins, in fact, got the game going with a 3 then Jacobs added two more buckets as the Townies sprinted to a 7-0 lead. EG, however, rallied to eventually tie the game at nine before Franklin Carela Lopez drove to the goal for the last bucket of the opening period to give EP an 11-9 lead.

That would be as close as the Avengers would get the rest of the way. Ochgwu began the second quarter the second of his six thunderous dunks in the contest to set the Townies off and running. EP opened its initial double figure lead, 23-12, on a Torres drive midway through the period. Liggins' second 3 just before the half put the locals up 31-22 at the break.

EP did not lead by less than 10 the rest of the way following a Jacobs' rebound-putback to make it 40-30 with just over a minute to go in the third. He later added a layup to sent the Townies into the final frame up a dozen.

Ochgwu and Jacobs overwhelmed the Avengers in the paint all night.

The former put on a show in the fourth as the locals gradually built upon their lead, including back-to-back slams to raise their edge to 61-43. The latter next completed an old fashioned three-point play to extend EP's edge over 20 (64-43) for the first time in the last minute of the game.

"It was Senior Night, so I was happy we got to play them all," said Andrade. "When we go inside, good things happen. When we go away from that, we struggle. "

He added of his down-low duo, "Kenaz is starting to play extremely well. He is dominating. Levi is also a bull. He works hard and can make easy buckets."

Jacobs led the Townies with 22 points. Ochgwu had 20. Liggins netted 11, including three 3s while classmates Van Wagner had a pair and Evora did not score.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.