PHOTO CREDIT - LARRY YIN
BY CHARLIE ADAMS, TSM LEAD WRITER
(CRANSTON, RI) - The Thunderbolts Boys’ Basketball team began their season at home on Tuesday against the Portsmouth Patriots. Cranston East looked to start off strong and improve on their 5-10 record last season, which saw the ‘Bolts lose 14 of their previous 15 games. East kept the game close all throughout but faded late, squandering the opener victory 54-51.
Cranston East lost all their big men from last season’s team, and it often showed as Portsmouth dominated second-chance scoring opportunities. It was to be a key factor down the stretch, as Naz Milien’s 15 points, and Da’Qwon Foster’s 12 weren’t enough.
Foster scored all 8 first-quarter points for the ‘Bolts. Turnovers gave way to fast breaks for Portsmouth, giving the Patriots a 4-point lead after the first quarter of play.
After the first half, the Thunderbolts and Patriots were tied at 25. Turnovers continued to be an issue for Cranston East, but Naz Milien’s 11 points managed to counterbalance most of the mistakes.
The ‘Bolts exited the break strongly and showed improvement in limiting turnovers as well as rebounding. Milien facilitated well as seven ‘Bolts players recorded points in their 19-point third. They led 44-36 with one quarter left to play.
Cranston East’s first-half problems returned in full force in the fourth quarter, as turnovers and second-chance points let Portsmouth come all the way back and take the lead. Delwin Montan converted an and-one to put the ‘Bolts within one with less than a minute remaining. Forced to foul, the Thunderbolts missed a rebound opportunity that allowed the Patriots to increase their lead to 3 points. With their final chance of the game, the Thunderbolts turned it over once again, falling 54-51 in their home opener.
The ‘Bolts turn the page over to Thursday, in hopes of rebounding on the road against Cumberland.
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