Cava­liers slow down Bans, down Raiders

Pawtucket Times - - SPORTS - By BREN­DAN McGAIR bm­c­[email protected]­tuck­et­

PROV­I­DENCE — All sea­son long, Shea High boys bas­ket­ball coach Steve DeMeo has tried to fig­ure out ways to get dy­namo ju­nior sen­sa­tion Erick­son Bans a breather.

With 2:45 re­main­ing in Fri­day night’s Divi­sion II con­test against Juanita Sanchez, DeMeo pulled Bans for one of the few times this sea­son. Rest as­sured this wasn’t the in-game break that DeMeo was seeking for his star guard.

The Cava­liers were in com­mand from start to fin­ish, hold­ing Bans to a sea­son-low 18 points and get­ting con­tri­bu­tions up and down the lineup in an 81-65 romp over the Raiders. Ju­nior Chris Lugo ruled the ac­tion down low en route to a game-best 28 points while Juanita’s pri­mary guards, se­nior Fabri­cio Mi­togo and sopho­more Bernard Omona, fin­ished with 25 and 20 points, re­spec­tively.

While the Cava­liers had a three-prong at­tack that was hard to slow down, the Raiders were chal­lenged in a way that re­vealed one of the team’s glar­ing weak­nesses. The need for a re­li­able and de­pend­able No. 2 scorer to step for­ward is im­per­a­tive. Oth­er­wise, what the Cava­liers did to Bans on Fri­day night may be­come the rule as op­posed to the ex­cep­tion.

Now win­ners of four straight, Juanita Sanchez held Bans to 8-of-19 shoot­ing and zero three-point­ers. He came into the game av­er­ag­ing 32.8 ppg through Shea’s first 11 con­tests. After Bans, the next lead­ing scorer for the Raiders (4-3, Divi­sion II) was sopho­more

Josiah Diaz, who fin­ished with nine points de­spite bat­tling foul trou­ble.

What Shea des­per­ately needs is for some­one to emerge and pro­duce at a clip so that when Bans is forced to give up the ball like he was so of­ten on Fri­day night, the Raiders have guys who are ready to make the opposition pay.

“The key is get­ting the ball out of Erick­son’s

hands,” said Bobby Perry, Juanita Sanchez’s head coach and for­mer East Prov­i­dence High stand­out. “When he does have the ball in his hands in the half­court, you want to trap him and force the other guys to make plays.”

The Cava­liers (4-2, Divi­sion II) went up as many as many as 10 points in the first half be­fore pulling into the break with a 39-32 ad­van-

tage. Lugo proved a tough cover as he got to the line 10 times, mak­ing eight. The open­ing half also saw Omona swished three 3-point­ers and Mi­togo chip in with 10 points on two triples.

Bans had 13 first-half points. Next up was Mar­quis Gomes, who scored six of his eight points be­fore half­time. The Raiders trailed by six (52-46) early in the second half, but that’s when the

Cava­liers pulled away for good.

A 13-0 blitz­ing by the home team fea­tured plenty of Mi­togo, who at one point scored eight straight points. All told, Juanita Sanchez pieced to­gether a 20-3 run that made it a 25-point game. That’s when DeMeo de­cided to call it a night for Bans.

The Raiders, who saw their five-game win­ning

streak come to an end, sur­ren­dered 23 second-chance points to the Cavs.

“We were non-ex­is­tent on the glass,” said DeMeo. “We faced a very good game tonight, but it’s not go­ing to be any eas­ier Tuesday night against Bar­ring­ton. We have to learn from this ex­pe­ri­ence and toughen up.”

Fol­low Bren­dan McGair on Twit­ter @BWMcGair03

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