Cumberland tops Toll Gate in quarters

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The 9th-seeded Toll Gate boys basketball team fell to No. 16 Cumberland 65-51 in the Elite Eight round of the state tournament on Sunday afternoon at the Community College of Rhode Island. Leading 18-12 in the first half, the Clippers would surge and go on a 10-0 run to make the score 28-12. They continued to roll from there, controlling for nearly the rest of the contest to punch their ticket into this weekend’s Final Four at URI. “We were taking quick, contested shots which helped Cumberland get out ahead in transition and score a couple of easy buckets. Offensively, they run great half court sets against man-to-man. It was difficult for us not to get the ball to the hoop, it really dampened our spirits,” said Toll Gate Coach Tom Rayko of the team’s early struggles. Brandon Scott led the Titans with 14 points scored, including four 3-pointers, three of which coming in the second half. Kavi Simpson also added 13 points, while Francisco Lopez chipped in seven. Jackson Zancan led the Clippers with a game-high 24 points. Despite the loss, the Titans defeated the odds this season, finishing as the only team in the state to be undefeated in the regular season. They would go on to make it to the Division III Finals, and would win their first game of the open state tournament against Wheeler last Friday. “They have had a lot of firsts, we had an undefeated regular season, made it the Division III Championship, made the open state tournament, won the first round, those were all firsts,” said Rayko. “This team has set the bar high for future Toll Gate teams, these firsts were great to have and they will be able to always remember the good times from this season.” Rayko also believes that this year’s run will help the Titans next season. “This gives us a lot of good in momentum. We have a lot of people coming back, a lot of really good juniors and sophomores, our JV team won the state championship, we have a lot of positives,” said Rayko. Toll Gate will say bye to a handful of seniors, including three captains. Rayko is proud of the example that the senior class set for the younger players in the program. “The three senior captains that we have guided the ship to this point. Brandon Scott, Kavi Simpson, and Aiden Areson. The young guys saw the way that they were in practice, the way that they performed in games, and now they will have that in the back of their minds and know what it takes to achieve success,” said Rayko. The Titans topped No. 8 Wheeler 57-46 last Thursday at Cranston East in the opening round of the tournament. Scott once again led Toll Gate with 21 points scored, while Simpson added 12 and Lopez 10.

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