EPHS Boys Win First Mutter Holiday Basketball Classic, 71-60 over Shea
The Townie gymnasium was almost as frigid as the single digit temperature outside, as the heating system was not working, but the action inside was pretty hot as East Providence won their own holiday invitational tournament.
EP defeated North Providence High on December 27th to move into the championship game of the Harry C. Mutter Holiday Basketball Classic." The Townies played Shea High School for the Tourney title on Thursday, December 28th at East Providence High. In an opening round game Shea High beat Toll Gate 78-55 to gain the final against the Townies. Toll Gate defeated North Providence 77-42 in the consolation game.
The Townies beat back a tough Shea high team in a balanced offensive attack by a final score of 71-60. Tournament MVP, Deyshawn Tengbeh scored 17 points for East Providence. Dion Hazard scored 13, Juston Williams, 12 and Julian Andrade added 11 key points to feature the 4 players in double digits. Tengbeh led Townie scorers throughout the tournament.
In the opening round game, East Providence defeated North Providence 66-55, with Deyshawn Tengbeh scoring 25 points, including three 3-pointers. Clinton Ogunronbi hit for 13 points and Dion Hazard scored 10. Juston Williams had 9 points, Julian Andrade had 6 and Myels Nuey tossed in 3 points to round out the Townie offense. The game's top scorer, however, was Matt Rohelia of North Providence with 33 points. Rohelia also hit on five 3-pointers.
In their opening round game, Shea High defeated Toll Gate 78-55 with 20 points from Erick Bans, 18 from Marquis Gomes and 12 points from Nate Rodrigues.
Shea jumped out on top in the final and led EP early, 13-6 and then 26-16. It looked like Shea was unstoppable but EP chipped their way back. Early on the Townies were only getting one shot at the hoop as Shea grabbed several rebounds of Townie missed shots. Townie head coach Joe Andrade called a time out and adjusted his game plan. "We knew it would be difficult to contain (Shea's) Erickson Bans. After a man defensive we switched to a 3-2 zone and that made the difference," Andrade said after the game. Bans of Shea would lead all scorers with 25 points but was generally slowed down with the zone defense.
After the Townie timeout both the EP offense and defense executed well. Ep's rebounding also excelled with the coach's adjustment. The Townies tied the game and then led at the half 38-27. Juston Williams hit on three 3-pointers for EP. The Townies surged ahead and never looked back leading by a 62-45 score with 4:31 minutes left. The final score was an EP 71 to 60 win.
"This was a good tournament for us," added EP coach Andrade. "Shea is a very good team and Ban is a top scorer in the state. These games should help us prepare as we move ahead during the season."
The annual Townie Holiday Tournament has been renamed the Harry C. Mutter Holiday Basketball Classic in honor of the late Harry C. Mutter. Mutter is an EPHS Hall of Fame Inductee as well as a National Softball and Official Hall of Famer. He was a Class of 1962 graduate where his 1962 Townies won the RI State Basketball Championship. He was a standout athlete at EPHS in a few sports, and a 2nd team baseball all-stater. He was the Director of Facilities for the EP School Department and a very active volunteer for many Townie sports events. Mutter was also a longtime school referee in R.I. Mutter was known as one of the nation's most prolific homerun hitters in men's softball. The Basketball Classic is sponsored by the Friends of Townie Athletics (FOTA) volunteer organization. The FOTA provided game trophies, team tourney shirts and pizza for both teams after the game.
Harry Mutter's wife, Patricia Cabral McKinnon was in attendance throughout the tournament. "This was a wonderful tribute," McKinnon said. "Thank you EP Boys Basketball Team for winning the first Harry C. Mutter Holiday Classic. He is smiling down on you right now and is so proud."