The Pilgrim Patriots were overpowered by the Cranston West Falcons 76-59 on Friday night at home during a boys Division II basketball showdown.
West had three players score in double digits with Joe Ragosta, a senior guard, tallying 18 points, Cam Bissitt, a senior, with 16, and Andrew Dionizio, a junior forward, finishing with 15.
Pilgrim received 14 points each from Dave D’Andrea, a senior, and Kenny Rix Jr, a sophomore.
“Dave’s played hard all year,” Pilgrim head coach Matt Fontaine said. “He’s a competitor. He’ll be on the floor at all times for us. He’s our leader on the court.”
Rix returned after fighting the flu and missing the last game.
“We missed him on Wednesday against Barrington, but now he came back tonight and played well,” Fontaine said.
Will Pariseau, a senior, finished out Pilgrim’s double figure scoring with 13.
It was a physical contest throughout, and the referees let ‘em play, which worked to West’s advantage.
“They played tough and if there’s going to be a night where it’s allowed, then, they’re going to be successful, and it shows,” Fontaine said.
The Falcons took a 6-2 lead, two minutes into the contest, on two buckets from Dionizio, plus a steal and a layup from junior point guard Cam Alves.
A minute later, West upped its edge to 9-4 when Bissitt buried a corner 3-ball.
The Pats got layups from D’Andrea and Monteiro after that and cut the deficit to one. Both buckets came after assists from Rix.
Nonetheless, West answered that with an 8-2 run and constructed a 17-10 cushion with ten minutes remaining in the half. That spurt saw Rogosta score six points, first a 3-point shot, and then, an old-fashioned three-point play.
Pilgrim fought back again and got within two after a 3-pointer from Pariseau and a pull-up jumper from Jaron Thomas.
Then with 8:20 left in the frame, West’s Jared Olson drilled a shot from beyond the arc and put the Falcons up 20-15.
Four minutes later, the Falcons extended their advantage to 33-24 when Dionizio dished to Bissitt for a corner trey, and then, on the next tour down, Dionizio put back a Bissitt miss.
West brought a 36-28 lead into halftime.
Pilgrim used two 3-pointers from Rix, and one from Pariseau, and started the second half on a 9-0 run, which gave the Pats a 37-36 advantage with 13:01 remaining.
Down the other end, West’s Massimo Feroce drew the foul and made a pair shots while at the charity stripe, which gave the Falcons the lead back at 38-37.
Feroce scored two more times after that and gave the Falcons a 42-37 lead with 11:33 to play.
West added to its buffer when they went on a 15-4 run over the next five minutes and upped its advantage to 16.
The Falcons built their largest lead with 32 seconds remaining when Ragosta made a pair of free throws and then, forward Ethan Ryan, a putback, which made it 76-56.
Pilgrim’s D’Andrea answered that eruption with a shot from downtown with 13 seconds left and got the Pats within 76-59.
West head coach Michael Monahan was thrilled to leave Pilgrim’s hostile gym with a victory.
“We kept our composure,” Monahan said. “We took care of the ball in the second half. We only had four turnovers in the second half. That’s one of our team goals is to eliminate our turnovers. So, we did a good job of that. But, Pilgrim’s an outstanding team. They’re a team on the rise. And they play with a lot of heart. They’ve got kids that can shoot it and they’re very athletic.”
The Pats fall to 3-12 in the conference with the loss while the Falcons improve to 5-9. Pilgrim plays next at Westerly (12-3) on Tuesday at 7 p.m.