By James Ninneman
Purple Post Communications Director and Sports Writer
With Monday’s victory over South Kingstown marking the final game of the regular season, boys basketball must prepare for the Division I playoffs. Although they will doubtlessly face stiff competition, the team will look to flip the script on their 9-9 record. Despite these tall odds, the players remain confident. Eager to learn more, I reached out to several members of the 2019-20 varsity squad: seniors Khalil Screen, Shadrach Walker, Anthony Mendez, and Henry Lamar; along with sophomore Marquis Buchanan.
“Our season has been off and on,” said Buchanan, a point guard. “[But] when we play together no one can stop us.” Screen echoed this sentiment, stating that despite a rocky year they are “capable of being one of the top teams in the state.”
Under coach Chris Kavanaugh, the team favors a tight formation where everyone is required to play defense. He likes to keep the pace of game fast and aggressive, which suits the strengths of numerous Classical players. “Coach Kav is a very experienced coach who uses his knowledge of the game to adjust his style of play to the strengths of his players,” said Walker.
However, the results have been inconsistent at best. At times, the team has shown flashes of brilliance, such as in last Thursday’s game against East Providence, when a relentless offense led by a 30-point performance from Screen, and double digit scoring from Buchanan and Stanley Urey propelled them to a 78-72 victory. It is also important to note that the team has suffered multiple tough losses against top teams like North Kingstown (16-1) and Bishop Hendricken (16-1), when they were defeated by scores of 51-49 and 61-60, respectively. “[We] can compete with all the top teams in the state,” said Lamar.
Now Classical must look ahead to tomorrow’s 6:00 game vs. Coventry. Although it is only a preliminary, the Purple plan to treat it like an elimination game. The team remains casually optimistic, while recognizing that the road ahead is far from certain. “[We] hope to achieve everything we set our minds to by the end of the season,” said Mendez.
[We want to] win either a [Division I] championship or a state championship and just continue to improve our chemistry,” said Screen.
Mendez, agreed: “Basketball has been my life since I was little and I would have a hard time seeing myself not involved with basketball in some way.”
Come out for tomorrow’s home game, and make sure to stay tuned for more info about the upcoming RIIL Division I boys basketball playoffs. You can view stats for the 2019-20 Classical team here: