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SPORTS: Prout Falters, Gansett vs. EG for Seeding

With the basketball seasons winding down, several local teams are jockeying for position.

As usual, playoff seeding for the Division II girls’ basketball could come down to a grudge match between Narragansett and East Greenwich.

The game starts at 7 p.m. at East Greenwich High School. The Mariners are 13-2 in Division II play, and the Avengers, at 12-3, need a win to force a tiebreaker for the regular season division crown.

According to The Providence Journal, on Tuesday the Mariners beat West Warwick 51-37. However, the Avengers beat Prout (9-6 Division II) the same night on layup by Keri Pallister for a 46-45 win.

Narragansett won the Division II title in 2011-12, although with a much different roster. Mercedes Harris, a dominant center and the daughter of a University of Rhode Island men’s basketball assistant coach, led the Mariners to the title, with freshmen Abby McKanna and Chelsea Sahagian, and senior Jaclyn Iannucci, also playing prominent roles.

This year, Narragansett has shifted to a much smaller lineup. Senior guard Maggie Salomone, who only played a single minute in 2011-12 because of a torn ACL, filled the scoring void of Harris, and the team switched to more of a pressing and aggressive defense.

Surprisingly though, Narragansett will earn a higher seed this year most likely – Last year, the team took longer to gel earlier in the season, as McKanna and Sahagian got used to varsity play.

In 2011-12, Narragansett won the Division II title from the No. 2S seed, beating Tolman, Scituate, Moses Brown and then Classical in the title game.

East Greenwich beat Central Falls in the opening round of the playoffs, but lost to Moses Brown.

The past several years, games between the Mariners and the Avengers have been surprisingly physical. Both teams press often and play aggressive defense, leading to plenty of fouls and tension.

Earlier this year, the Mariners beat the Avengers 55-40. Two years ago, the teams played a horribly officiated 41-35 game that the Mariners won thanks to a 20-2 run in the final seven minutes.

The girls’ basketball regular season ends on Friday – weather permitting – with the playoffs scheduled to begin next week – weather permitting.

Boys’ Basketball – Prout Loses to Barrington

In a minor upset, the No. 4 Prout Crusaders lost 51-36 to No. 5 Barrington Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs.

With the loss, the Crusaders are in a precarious position for the state basketball tournament. The top 16 teams qualify, with Division I teams getting 1 point per league win, Division II teams getting 0.8 points per league win, and Division III teams getting 0.6 points per league win.

However, this year, playoff wins also count as quality points. Prout received an extra 0.8 points, thanks to a first-round bye, but can’t earn any more points after their elimination Wednesday.

As a result, Prout is tied for 11th with Shea at 11.2 points. Several teams behind them in the standings remain in their respective playoffs, and even if Prout does qualify for the state tournament, a first-round matchup with powerhouse schools like Classical, La Salle and North Kingstown loom.

Narragansett and South Kingstown did not qualify for their divisional playoffs, and as a result, neither team is eligible for the state tournament.

Again, weather permitting, state tournament games should begin next week. For the current state tournament seedings, click here.

Other Girls’ Basketball Seeding Information

South Kingstown girls’ basketball is currently 6-10 in Division I play, and likely to finish the year 7-11.

The Rebels host Chariho tonight at 7 p.m. Chariho senior guard Sue Beil tore her ACL in a game two weeks ago, and since then, the Chargers have not been competitive in several games.

However, the Rebels then host Exeter-West Greenwich at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Scarlet Knights are 15-1 in league play and feature a murderer’s row of skilled perimeter and interior players, most of them taller than six-feet. In the first game between the two, EWG won 65-31.

Assuming a 7-11 finish, this would earn the Rebels around No. 9 to No. 12 seed, depending on how other teams finished. The RIIL rules still have the 2011-12 playoff format rules up, although it is expected that 16 teams will qualify in Division I.

In Division II play, Prout is currently tied with West Warwick with a 9-6 division record. The Crusaders have one game left, with the 1-14 Toll Gate Titans, while the Wizards have a tougher matchup, the 8-7 Coventry Oakers.

Prout won both match-ups with the Wizards this year, so barring a slip-up against the Titans, they would clinch the No. 3S seed with a win. Even if Prout loses, they can still clinch if the Wizards lose against Coventry.

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