BURRILLVILLE â€” The rematch featured little suspense.
In fact, you could say other than a brief flurry by North Smithfield late in the first half, Burrillville was the hoops outfit in complete control.
The No. 8 seed Broncos live to fight another day courtesy of Fridayâ€™s 58-41 triumph over the neighboring Northmen in the Division III preliminary round. Compared to the rock fight that the same two teams engaged in earlier this week â€“ Burrillville won that one by a 38-35 count and clinched the III-North crown as a result â€“ what unfolded underneath the Bronco Dome had to be considered somewhat shocking.
As Burrillville mentor Kevin Randall pointed out, his club had an ace up its sleeve in Isaiah DeSilva. The Broncos wanted to feature their junior center as often as possible and it was reflective in the 16 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks he compiled.
â€śWe wanted to get a post presence with Isaiah and I think we did that. Thatâ€™s something we didnâ€™t do last game,â€ť Randall pointed out.
Stated North Smithfield head coach T.J. Ciolfi, â€śI thought DeSilva played great. Every time we play them, our game plan is to go right at him. I thought we went at him three or four times early, but the guys in stripes, they were going to let him play.â€ť
While DeSilva proved a tough cover for the ninth-seeded Northmen, so too was David Reynolds. The senior tri-captain had his hands all over the Broncosâ€™ 16-6 run to start the game on his way to finishing with a game-best 19 points and 10 rebounds. Jared Cabral also made his presence felt with three 3-pointers on his way to collecting 12 points.
For North Smithfield, a squad that a year ago was the talk of the Rhode Island high-school basketball scene with a perfect run to the division title and an appearance in the open state tournamentâ€™s Final Four, it was a season were too much was placed at the feet of seniors Peter Keenan and Breno Pena. Both players tried their best to keep Northmenâ€™s bid as a repeat alive, but it was clearly the Broncosâ€™ time.
Keenan had 13 points despite battling foul troubles â€“ the versatile forward picked up his fourth personal with 11:32 remaining. Pena was held to just one field goal but made all six of his free throws to amass nine points.
Feeding off an electric home crowd, the Broncos swished home seven of their first nine shots with Reynolds netting exactly half of his teamâ€™s first 16 points. He had 15 points by intermission. Cabral was also key with two treys as North Smithfield fell behind by double figures with the game not even six minutes old.
â€śWe put DeSilva and Cabral on the same side of the floor, so it was pretty much pick your poison,â€ť said Randall. â€śDavid is our best player and they could not stop him in the first half. He was getting anything he wants.â€ť
Now behind by eight, the Northmen got back in the game behind a pressing/trapping scheme that clearly rattled the Broncos. The turnovers and missed shots by Burrillville played right into North Smithfieldâ€™s hands as Keenan capped off a 10-2 surge with a layup and a 3-pointer to tie the game at 25-25 with 3:48 left in the opening half.
â€śTheyâ€™ve got quick guards and that press they run is good,â€ť said Randall.
With momentum clearly on North Smithfieldâ€™s side, Burrillville responded with a flurry that gained traction after the Northmen missed an open layup that would have given them their first lead of the contest. The Broncos stormed into halftime on an 8-0 run to take a healthy 33-25 lead.
â€śThat was huge,â€ť said Randall.
â€śThat hurt us because we had to start from scratch again,â€ť sighed Ciolfi.
The Burrillville run grew to 9-0 after DeSilva made 1-of-2 at the free-throw line early in the second half. A 3-point play by North Smithfieldâ€™s Matt Lachance momentarily stopped the bleeding, but the climb to get back in the fray took a major hit when Keenan picked up his fourth foul.
Keenan did re-enter at the 8:23 mark and Burrillville up 40-33. Needing one more push, the Broncos got it as DeSilva scored six straight points, the final two on a baby jump-hook. He later added two free throws to make it 52-37 in favor of the Broncos with 3:52 left.
â€śWhen he plays a lot of minutes, heâ€™s very effective,â€ť said Ciolfi about DeSilva.
Next up for the Broncos is a quarterfinal-round matchup with top seed and unbeaten East Greenwich. That contest is set for next Wednesday at Johnston High.
â€śTheyâ€™re 18-0 and Iâ€™ll say this. The last game we played against them, we were down six at the half and then Isaiah gets in foul trouble,â€ť said Randall. â€śEast Greenwich is a great team and theyâ€™re well coached.â€ť
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03