Former Sen. Mike Lenihan Dies at 71

J. Michael Lenihan
J. Michael Lenihan

Former state senator J. Michael Lenihan died Saturday, Feb. 28. He was 71.

Lenihan, a Democrat, was a local legend. Starting in 1974, Lenihan served first East Greenwich and then the state in elected and appointed positions until he stepped down from the General Assembly in 2010, after serving there for 20 years.

“He passed away this morning, very peacefully and where he wanted to be, at home,” said his wife, Pat Lenihan. In addition to Pat, he is survived by his daughter, Meghan, and two granddaughters.

Lenihan served as state senator for District 35 from 1990 to 2010. He was a member of the EG Town Council from 1974 to 1980 and 1984 to 1990.

“Mike was a senator’s senator,” said Sen. Jim Sheehan, Dist. 36. “He was not just a great senator, he was a role model for senators. He was a great public servant who always put his constituents first. The people of Rhode Island have lost a statesman.”

Sheehan, who was elected to the Rhode Island Senate in 2000, said Lenihan took him under his wing.

“We both represented parts of North Kingstown. We just hit it off and had a good rapport,” said Sheehan. “One of the big issues I came in on was separation of powers, one of Mike’s great legacies.”

Separation of powers legislation passed in 2004. In it, all three branches of government were declared “separate and distinct,” and legislators were barred from sitting on or appointing others to boards with executive powers.

Mike Lenihan and Jim Sheehan
Mike Lenihan and Jim Sheehan

“For Separation of Powers to be fully implemented after the 2004 vote it took many, many changes to state boards and commissions by the General Assembly,” wrote Phil West, then head of  Common Cause. “The bulk of that was accomplished during 2005-2006 thanks in large part to the efforts of several influential lawmakers such as former Senator Michael Lenihan.”

Lenihan is one of the stars in West’s recent book, Secrets & Scandals – Reforming Rhode Island 1986-2006.

“The Mike Lenihan component in that book was really amazing,” said East Greenwich Town Councilor Mark Schwager. “If it was a movie, he’d be one of the stars. The amount of time he put in on the separation of powers and good government – the effort was just impressive.”

“During 20 years in the Rhode Island Senate, he embodied character, courage, and commitment to the people. His legacy includes a host of laws and constitutional amendments, most notably Separation of Powers, that changed our state for the better,” West wrote of Lenihan on his Facebook page Saturday.

“He was a guy who was really shunned and put on the back bench for wanting to push for good government,” said Schwager, “but over time he became one of the most respected legislators in the state.”

Schwager, a Democrat, said Lenihan was an inspiration.

“Mike was, to me, a remarkable mentor and someone who really encouraged me to get involved in government. He was just a wonderful guy,” said Schwager. “His goal was service. He was not interested in limelight, awards and praise.”

Lenihan, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island College and a master’s from Brown University, taught English at Scituate Junior-Senior High School. He served on the East Greenwich Planning Board from 1973-74, before serving on the Town Council from 1974 to 1980 and then again from 1984-1990.

“Michael was chair of the search committee that hired me as town manager,” recalled Bill Sequino, who served as town manager for East Greenwich for 25 years, from 1988 to 2013. “Michael was respected by Republicans and Democrats alike. Prior to 1988, when it was a Republican majority council, they actually elected Michael president.”

Sequino said Lenihan was an earlier supporter of environmental protection for the town.

“He was a lead voice on the council. The issues he picked were issues everyone could relate to: good development and good environment. The first time the land trust got funded was just before I got hired and I know Michael was instrumental in that,” said Sequino.

When Michael was in the Senate, he represented East Greenwich very well,” he added. “He was a strong supporter for education aid for the town.”

Both Sequino and Sheehan commented on Lenihan’s verbal skills.

“He was very erudite,” said Sheehan. “He was just so meticulously fair minded. He was always so well researched and always brought logic to bear on any type of issue he grappled with. When he took a stand on an issue and got up on the Senate floor, everybody listened. When Mike got up, you wanted to hear what he had to say because, frankly, he could change your mind.”

Election night parties were a regular feature at the Lenihan home, which was always open to friends, colleagues and family.

“With Mike, you got his whole family,” said Schwager. “It’s just such a great family. I really just enjoyed being part of that family.”

“Mike loved his family,” said Sheehan. “The amount of time he put in to help making this a better state really says a lot about the sacrifices he was willing to make. For that we owe him a debt of gratitude.”

Calling hours are Wednesday, March 4, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Hill Funeral Home on Main Street. The funeral will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Francis de Sales Church on School Street in North Kingstown, with burial at St. Patrick Cemetery in East Greenwich.

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aa man of conviction but also a a man of heart with a good senes of humor

the people of Rhode Island have lost a statesman, someone who has left

there aren’t many like mike that have come along the pike

he was one of a kind


Cole’s Badminton Tourney: Shuttlecock Spectacular

Winners Daniel Sun and Sarah Turcetta.
Winners Daniel Sun and Sarah Turcetta

Cole Middle School’s annual badminton tournament is always a highlight of the year, but maybe especially so during this year, where winter seems to have a death grip on us.

Sixty-four students and eleven faculty members participated in the 23rd Cole Annual Badminton Tournament on Thursday. There was also the second annual Unified badminton exhibition.

Student winners were Daniel Sun and Sarah Turcetta. The faculty winner was Mr. Garneau.

The students play badminton in gym for the month of February, narrowing down to the best 32 boys and 32 girls across all three grades. The playoffs, with master of ceremony Deb McMullen, are held as a school assembly.

Big thanks to parent Dana Gee, who took all these picture and submitted them.

The 32 girl finalists
The 32 girl finalists
Mr. Testa
Mr. Testa
Sophie Fulghum
Final Four: James Harwood, Wyatt DePriest, Jack McMullen, and Daniel Sun; Sarah Turchetta, Sophie Fulghum, Julia Mattus, and Maddie Jenkins.
Final Four: James Harwood, Wyatt DePriest, Jack McMullen, and Daniel Sun; Sarah Turchetta, Sophie Fulghum, Julia Mattus, and Maddie Jenkins.
Jack McMullen
Daniel Sun
Daniel Sun
Officer Bert
Officer Bert

After 26 Years With EG Police, Chirnside Retires

jon chirnside
Jon Chirnside has retired after 26 years as an EG police officer.

EGPD Detective Sgt. Jon Chirnside was still a kid from North Kingstown when he started in police work, just 19, hired as a “summer officer” on Block Island. He was too young to even have a beer when he got off work. Chirnside was the youngest of the summer applicants and initially the chief thought he was too young. So Chirnside took the ferry home after the interview, thinking, “So much for that.” A day or two later, though, he got a call while at his part-time job at Wilsons of Wickford. It was the chief, offering him the position.

And, after a summer policing on Block Island, Chirnside was hooked. A student at Salve Regina studying criminal justice, he got hired on as a “special” officer in East Greenwich (special officers, a category that no longer exists in East Greenwich, where people hired as kind of a pre-officer), working and going to school. That was 1989. Earlier this month, 26 years later, Chirnside retired from the EG Police Department.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” he said a few days before he retired. “I’m happy to start this new career, but I have a passion for this job. I still love getting up and coming to work every day. I love it. I enjoy this job.”

What he won’t miss so much are the irregular hours. He is going to work at Citizens Bank – a 9-to-5 job. With four children – two sets of twins, ages 9 and 11 – the more predictable hours will be a godsend.

“It’s going to be great for my family,” he said. “That’s the most important thing for me, it’s my biggest motivating factor.

Chirnside, who’s been a detective for the past four years, is proud of the work he’s done as an EG cop.

“I was the one who pushed for technology changes over the years,” he said. “I wrote the grant to get us the first laptops in the cars.”

He also got the department to get pepper spray, initiated a bike patrol (dormant now) and pushed for the creation of the department’s first honor guard. One of his favorite aspects of policing was dealing with the community, which is why he championed the bike patrol.

“I’m a communications guy. Somebody on a bike is much more approachable to somebody walking down the street, or a neighbor or a resident, than someone sitting in a parking lot in an air-conditioned car with the windows up. It’s nice to get out there and have that interaction with people,” said Chirnside.

Detective work took him out of that role, to some extent, but had its rewards. Chirnside said he was very proud of the drug and narcotics arrests the department made during his years as detective, especially his work with fellow detective David Black. He cited the arrest of Robert Campellone and his two sons at their house on Adirondack Drive on felony marijuana possession charges, and the arrest of Rakeshkumar Patel, owner of East Greenwich Farms, for allegedly selling synthetic marijuana to an undercover officer.

“Like every other community, we’re plagued with drugs. We have young people dying. They have easy access,” he said. “Our housebreaks are committed by people that need money to get a quick fix. Granted you do have your professional thieves that come out every now and then, but for the most part, it’s an addict that’s kicking in the back door, breaking a window to get into a house, to feed their addiction.”

The toughest cases for Chirnside involved kids – “seeing lives ruined and ended when they didn’t need to be.”

The double-fatality on Shippeetown Road in February 2012 was particularly hard on Chirnside – both victims were from North Kingstown and he knew the families. The older sister of victim Maddie Healy had been one of his kids’ first babysitters. And the Chirnsides had routinely ordered birthday cakes from the mother of the other victim, Michael Ruggieri.

“Dealing with things like that, having that connection, that was a difficult stretch not just for me but for all of us involved,” he said. As detectives, “it’s our job to piece together the last 24-48 hours of a person’s life. In Maddie’s case – for all of them, wrong place at the wrong time – but for Maddie, she wanted to go home that night, but they talked her into going to breakfast at Denny’s,” he said.

“Those are the difficult parts of the job, but lots of fond memories too,” he said, including his nine years a the senior citizen police advocate.

“I enjoyed meeting with seniors and talking about safety and quality life issue and concerns. One of my most rewarding cases was of a resident of West Bay Manor, who was financially exploited by her niece’s husband, who had given himself power of attorney over her affairs. This resulted in her having to be evicted due to the fact that he spent all of her and her husband’s savings to live a life of luxury. Ultimately, he was prosecuted federally and received a decent sentence. This case propelled my interest in financial crimes, which now has helped position me for my new career in the corporate world.”

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Showcased Home: Custom-Built Colonial at 105 Westfield Drive

105 Westfield Drive
105 Westfield Drive

This newly-listed brick-front Colonial in the Westwood Farms neighborhood has 4 bedrooms and 3 full and 2 half bathrooms in 4,475 total square feet of living space.  Custom features in the home include a stone fireplace and built-ins in the family room, a first-floor office, generous dining room for entertaining, granite and stainless-steel kitchen, and hardwood floors. The finished lower level has a wet bar and its own half bath. The home is situated on a flat and private 2-acre lot that includes a fenced rear yard.

There will be an open house on Sunday, March 1, from 1 to 3 p.m.

The price is $720,000. Judy Brady of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage has the listing. For more information, call 401-742-8946.

If you would like a home to be showcased on East Greenwich News, please e-mail a high resolution (400×600) exterior photo and details about what makes it unique to

Ideally, houses chosen for East Greenwich News’ Showcased Home are newer listings with Open Houses that weekend. The final decision is solely that of the editor.

Patti DePriest is a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in East Greenwich. For questions or comments, please call 401-243-5041.

EG Police Reports: Liberty Street Woes & Fox Run Dumpster Fire

eg police car, side viewThese reports come from the East Greenwich Police Department and are public information. An arrest does not mean the individual has been convicted of a crime. EG News does not identify those arrested for misdemeanor charges.

Monday, Feb. 16

9 a.m. – Police got another complaint about a truck blocking Liberty Street between Somerset and Greene streets. This time, the driver had intended to detach the truck from the trailer to avoid blocking the street but the truck got stuck on the ice. After about 15 minutes, they were able to move the truck and they began unloading. EGPD had notified the warehouse a few days before that trucks would need to be accompanied by a state-certified flagger to handle traffic while the trucks were unloading. The warehouse manager said he’d told his boss but that no flagger had shown up this day. Police issued parking tickets to two trucks blocking the roadway. Police told the manager the next step would be to have the trucks towed, at a minimum cost of $700.

Tuesday, Feb. 17

1:49 a.m. – Police arrested a Warwick man, 23, for driving under a foreign license after they pulled him over for speeding on Post Road. Routine checks showed both the suspended Rhode Island driver’s license and an active South Carolina license. The driver said he thought he could drive since one of his licenses was valid. Police gave him a district court summons and had his car towed from the scene.

Wednesday, Feb. 18

10:26 a.m. – Police were called to Fox Run because of a dumpster fire. Upon arrival, they found a large, blue metal dumpster in the driveway with lots of smoke coming from it. A man was shoveling snow into the dumpster in an attempt to put out the fire. EGFD was called. The man said he wasn’t sure why the fire happened, but acknowledged throwing cigarette butts into the dumpster. The resident was not home. EGFD arrived and put out the fire.

5:22 p.m. – The owner of ServPro on South County Trail told police a vehicle had been taken by an employee from a work site without her permission. The employee told police he’d been directed to return the truck to ServPro by the site supervisor. He said he was resigning from the company. The owner asked that the man stay on the premises while an inventory was carried out. After the inventory, the owner asked the man to turn over a shirt. After some discussion, the man was given his paycheck and said he would return with the shirt.

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Cole Construction Trial to Begin Monday

Cole Middle School

More than four years after the initial complaint was filed, the lawsuit against the town, the school department and various construction companies by homeowners over damage they say was caused by construction of the new Cole Middle School is slated to begin Monday.

Scheduled as a 10-day jury trial, it will be heard before Superior Court Judge Bennett R. Gallo at Kent County Courthouse.

Three couples who live on Sarah’s Trace, just west of Cole, say construction of the new Cole Middle School caused cracks in their walls and foundations, threatening the structural integrity of their houses.

Construction on the new school begin in fall 2009. Homeowners Chris and Sue Lamendola, at 50 Sarah’s Trace, and Tom Hogan and Cynthia Pelosi, 40 Sarah’s Trace, sought help from the town early on, after they said they noticed cracks in their homes. They went public with their complaints in November 2009, filing a police report to document to the damage.

At issue, according to the homeowners, were the vibrations caused by construction machinery. Homeowners asked contractors to stop using large vibratory rollers to compact the earth but the construction team said they could not guarantee the structural integrity of the school building without using the rollers and use was continued.

Seismic readings taken by engineers hired by the contractor failed to show that the vibrations were sufficient to cause the kind of structural damage reported by the homeowners so insurers refused to cover costs of repairs. The homeowners, meanwhile, questioned the validity and timing of the seismic readings.

The Lamendolas and Hogan/Pelosis filed their lawsuit in February 2011, with plaintiffs Keith and Wendy Amelotte, at 35 Sarah’s Trace, signing on a short time later.

In addition to the town and the school department, the list of defendants includes Strategic Building Solutions (which oversaw and coordinated construction), Fleet Construction Co. (contractor), Gilbane Building Co. (contractor), Manafort Brothers (site development contractors), Paul B. Aldinger and Assoc. (engineer),  and SMMA (architect).

In July, the Town Council approved a settlement with the three Sarah’s Trace homeowners that reduced their property tax bills by 50 percent over four years (2013-16). The cost to the town will be around $70,000 – the exact cost won’t be determined until the tax rate is set for fiscal year 2016. Included in the settlement, the town agreed to pay up to $8,000 in legal fees and court costs.


The homeowners (plaintiffs) have so far subpoenaed 16 people to testify in the trial. Here’s the list of those subpoenaed as of Feb. 24, 2015:

Richard Buonauito – member of the East Greenwich Town Council from 2008 to 2010

Peter Calcagni – superintendent at Manafort Brothers

Bob Durante – member of the EG School Committee from 2008-12

Jay Gowell – School Building Committee chairman from 2005 to 2012

Jean Ann Guliano – member of the School Committee from 2006 to 2010, chairwoman 2009 to 2010

Ilene Hoffman – resident of 47 Lillibridge Drive; has complained about damage to their home from the construction

Peter Hoffman – resident of 47 Lillibridge Drive; has complained about damage to their home from the construction

Michael Isaacs – president of the East Greenwich Town Council from 2004 to present.

Victor Mercurio – school superintendent from 2009 to present

Matthew Oliverio – lawyer for the district now and at the time of the Cole construction

Susan Records – member of the School Committee from 2008 to 2014

Jody Richards – engineer for Aldinger & Assoc.

Michael Rongione – managing engineer for Pare Corp., an engineering company hired by EGSD in 2010 to evaluate potential damage to Sarah’s Trace houses

John Walwood – project manager at Manafort Brothers

Christopher Whitney – lawyer specializing in construction law, hired by EGSD in 2010

Mary Ellen Winters – member of the School Committee from 2008 to present; member of the School Building Committee 2008 to present

You can find an archive of all the stories written about this case on EG News here.

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EG Thursday: CWC Meeting, School Start Time Forum

Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. Photo credit: Noël Bailey
Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. Photo credit: Noël Bailey

Recycling is ON this week (really! Sorry for misdirection earlier this week). For the full 2015 pickup schedule, click here.

Thursday, Feb. 26

CWC meeting: Citizens Who Care meets at Town Hall. All are welcome. 9:30 a.m.

School Start Time Committee forum: The ad hoc panel to examine middle and high school start times is holding a second community forum to hear more about the rationale behind moving to a slightly later school start time. Brown University’s Dr. Mary Carskadon, one of the nation’s leading experts on the interrelation between the circadian timing system and sleep/wake patterns of children and adolescents, will be presenting. In the library at Cole Middle School (2nd floor), at 7 p.m.

Tre Monti Winery winemaker @ Savory Grape: The Savory Grape is pleased to welcome Vittorio Navacchia, owner and winemaker of Tre Monti Winery. Navacchia is visiting from the Emilia-Romagana region of Italy and was recently featured by Anthony Bourdain on The Travel Channel. From 5 to 7 p.m.

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Boys Swim Team Places 8th In States With Only 7 Swimmers

Boys Swim '15 RIIL State Championships
In back, Stanley Chan and Yash Dhuri. In front, Timucin Marino and Ian MacDonald.

The EG Boys Swim team scored 127 points with just 7 swimmers to place 8th among 23 high schools at the RIIL State Championship at Brown University last weekend. (The Girls also placed 8th.)

It was an incredibly fast swim meet where records were broken. East Greenwich’s top point scorer Ian MacDonald swam hard to earn 2nd place in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:48.22. He also placed 2nd in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:58.43, scoring a total of 34 points for the team.

EG’s second-highest scorer, Timucin Marino, placed 10th in the tightly contested 200 Individual Medley with an improved time of 2:08.94.

EG's top scorer Ian MacDonald.
EG’s top scorer Ian MacDonald.

He placed 5th in the 500 freestyle with an improved time of 5:08.87, earning 21 points for the team.

Stanley Chan was EG’s third-highest scorer, coming in 13th place in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:59.95 and 13th in the 100 freestyle with a time of 53.95, individually scoring 8 points for the team.

Yash Dhuri came in 25th place in 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:08.92, and 30th place in 100 yard breaststroke with a time of 1:17.20. Eli Wolfgang came 34th place in 50-yard freestyle with a time of 26.36. Thomas Shaughnessy came 33th place in 50 yard freestyle with a time of 26.35, and 29th place in 100-yard freestyle with a time of 58.11. Ian Lamp came in 28th place in 200 yard Individual Medley with a time of 2:31.73

Boys 400-yard Freestyle Relay – (4th place with -1.50 improved time of 3:33.11)

Timucin Marino 53.11
Thomas Shaughnessy 57.07
Stanley Chan 53.15
Ian MacDonald 49.78

Boys 200-yard Medley Relay (8th place with -3.46 improved time of 1:50.84)

Timucin Marino in 200 IM’s butterfly section
Timucin Marino in 200 IM’s butterfly section

Ian MacDonald (backstroke) 26.38
Yash Dhuri (breaststroke) 33.70
Timucin Marino ((butterfly) 26.06
Stanley Chan (freestyle) 24.70

Boys 200-yard Freestyle Relay (11th place with a time of 1:43.27)

Thomas Shaughnessy 25.65
Yash Dhuri 26.04
Ian Lamp 25.77
Eli Wolfgang 25.81

Future Seniors MacDonald, Marino and Dhuri inviting all swimmers to join the swim team next year. Imagine what could EG do more than just 7 swimmers…

EG Boys Swim Team Qualifiers/Relay Selected Swimmers:

Stanley Chan
Kaelan Coates
Eli Wolfgang
Yash Duhri
Timucin Marino
Ian MacDonald
Henry Perretta
Thomas Shaughnessy
Ian Lamp
(Coates and Perretta were not able to attend.)


Editor’s Note: My thanks to Ebru Berk Marino, parent and swim official, for submitting the information about the meet, and to Lisa MacDonald for the photos.

Girls Swimmers Place 8th at State Championship

Audrey Brecher
Audrey Brecher was EG’s top scorer with 27 points.

By Allyson Hack

EG Girls scored 139 points with only 9 swimmers and placed 8th among 23 High Schools at RI State Swim Championship at Brown University last weekend. This was a follow up to their second place at Division II Championships and their tie for first place at dual meets with Narragansett and Lincoln schools throughout the season.

The East Greenwich girls won 12 medals overall. The top point scorer was freshman Audrey Brecher. She came in 4th place in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:56.80 just missing out on 3rd place finish. Brecher also placed 7th in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 55.16 picking up her second medal of the meet.

The relay team gets advice from Boys team swimmer (and volunteer timer) Timucin Marino before the race.

She was the top scorer for the team with 27 points, setting the pace for the rest of her team. The second top scorer was freshman Lauren Salvadore, she came in 9th place in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 25.75 just missing out on a medal by 0.11 seconds and 6th place in 100 yard breaststroke with a time of 1:11.73, individually scoring 22 points for the team.

The Avengers continued to rack up points with sophomore Meghan O’Brien, who placed 8th in the 200 Individual Medley with a time of 1:20.90. Freshman Selin Marino placed 14th with a time of 2.29.66. O’Brien continued with 9th place in the 100 yard butterfly with a time of 1:03.18, individually scoring 20 points for the team.

Freshman Selin Marino took the 14th place in 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:48.92, individually scoring 6 points for the team alongside freshman Sylvie Hack, who placed 24th with a time of 6:09.77.

Senior Caroline DeCesare came in 23rd place in 100-yard freestyle with a time of 1:01.90

Relay take off.
Relay take off.

Sophomore Maggie Rodrigue placed 29th in 500-yard freestyle with a time of 6:26.30 and 33rd in 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:13.56  and Sylvie Hack came 25th in 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:13.59.

The EG girls did not stop there. Relay team Audrey Brecher, Lauren Salvadore, Selin Marino and Meghan O’Brian placed 5th in the 200-yard medley relay and 6th in the 400-freestyle relay.

The 200-freestyle relay with swimmers Sylvie Hack, Caroline Quinn, Brooke Anderson and Caroline DeCesare placed 12th, winning points for their team. Overall, it was a good meet for the EG Avengers.

Girls 200-yard Medley Relay (5th place with -0.95 improved time of 1:57.19)

Selin Marino (backstroke) 31.07
Lauren Salvadore (breaststroke) 32.07
Meghan O’Brien (butterfly) 32.34
Audrey Brecher (freestyle) 21.71

Sylvie Hack in the 200 Free
Sylvie Hack in the 200 Free

Girls 400-yard Freestyle Relay (6th place with -4.58 improved time of 3:49.34)

Audrey Brecher 55.53
Selin Marino 59.91
Meghan O’Brien 56.97
Lauren Salvadore 56.93

Girls 200-yard Freestyle Relay (12th place with -2.22 improved time of 1:55.32)

Caroline Quinn 30.57
Brooke Anderson 28.03
Sylvie Hack 28.11
Caroline DeCesare 28.61

EG Swim Team Qualifiers/Relay Selected Swimmers:

Selin Marino swimming backstroke in 200 IM
Selin Marino swimming backstroke in 200 IM

Audrey Brecher (freshman)
Lauren Salvadore (freshman)
Meghan O’Brien (sophomore)
Selin Marino  (freshman)
Sylvie Hack  (freshman)
Maggie Rodrigue (sophomore)
Caroline DeCesare (senior)
Brooke Anderson (junior)
Caroline Quinn (junior)


Editor’s Note: My thanks to Ebru Berk Marino, parent and swim official, for submitting the information about the meet, and to Jason Hack, parent, for the photos.


Avengers Rally Falls Short, Lose to Middletown

frozen avengerThe East Greenwich Avenger’s Boy’s Basketball team’s dreams of a Division Two Championship died last night as they fell to the Middletown Islanders 53-45 in front of a packed East Greenwich gymnasium. Kyle Donovan of Middletown led all scorers with 19 points while Brian Gemma led the Avengers with 15 points. EG’s Kyle Matus chipped in 13.

Although the Avengers jumped out to an early lead with a basket by senior Nolan Cooney, they soon went cold. Despite getting decent looks at the basket, they were not able to convert with any consistency throughout the first half. With East’s offense sputtering, Middletown employed solid outside shooting and aggressive rebounding to establish. Using outside scoring by Middletown senior Jameson McQuade and Donovan, the Islanders built a 12-5 lead with 9:29 left in the first half. The teams essentially traded baskets until Donovan took control toward the end of the half, hitting two long 3-pointers and making 2 free throws to give Middletown a 24-14 lead at the break as the Islanders ended on a 9-4 run. Unfortunately, late in the first half the Avengers had some foul issues with Patrick Norton picking up his third personal with 2:26 remaining. The Avengers were one for six from the line in the first half.

With the way the Avengers were shooting, the team was fortunate to only be down by 10 at half time. Having come back from significant deficits throughout the year, however, the team was not rattled. East Greenwich opened the second half on an 8-point tear with Nolan Cooney scoring on a drive to the basket and Kyle Matus knocking down 2 big threes to get the East Greenwich crowd rocking. McQuade then picked up his third and fourth fouls and had to go to the bench. The Avengers picked up the intensity and extended the defense on Donovan. When Adam Duval scored on an inbounds play with 11:17 the momentum seemed to be squarely on the side of the Avengers. Forty five seconds later Brian Gemma hit 2 free throws to give the Avengers a 27-26 lead and it appeared the Avengers had righted the ship. Unfortunately, they would not lead again.

Kyle Donovan hit another long 3-pointer to give Middletown a 29-27 lead and the momentum began swinging the other way. East Greenwich had three rough trips down the floor including a turnover, a near shot clock violation and an actual shot clock violation. When Middletown scored on a nice take in the lane by Jameson DelRoss, Middletown had a 5-point lead and had picked up the defensive intensity, draping Connor Murphy all over Brian Gemma. Middletown went on a 13-0 run, including a dunk by DelRoss to make the score 40-29 with 4:35 left.

East Greenwich never quit but they could never cut the lead to less than 8 points. Middletown was able to change from its outside game to more of an inside game. The Avengers extended the defense to take away the long ball but that provided opportunities for the Middletown big men inside. They converted and Middletown moves on while the Avengers await to see if they qualify for the Open State Tournament.


Prior to last night’s game the Avengers had been a perfect 11-0 at home.

East Greenwich had beaten Middletown 52-46 at Middletown on Jan. 9, during the regular season.

The Avengers are currently ranked 7th in the state and should still qualify for the Open State Championship, which involves the top 16 teams in the state and begins on March 4.