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NORTH KINGSTOWN â€“ When it comes to summer league, it is not always the final score that matters. Coaches will say that the summer is more about their players developing their skills and learning to play better as a team.
Yet, even if getting the win is not the priority, the will to win usually seems to kick in, as was the case Tuesday night when South Kingstown put the hammer down on Coventry for a 31-22 win.
â€śItâ€™s nice [to win, but] we use the summer to get people to play,â€ť said South coach Joel Tuoni. â€śItâ€™s about letting the kids play, thatâ€™s what weâ€™re here for in the summer. Itâ€™s not about wins and losses.
â€śI mean, you always want to win, weâ€™re competitive, but we have to keep in mind that what weâ€™re here for in the summer is to incorporate some new people into some new positions, getting some new kids in with the team. A lot of good things happening with that.â€ť
The first half was a battle for the Rebels as neither team could put together enough of a run to pull away as the teams traded shots throughout the opening 20 minutes en route to a 13-all tie at the break.
When it came time for the second half, however, South looked less like a team integrate incoming Freshmen and JV players in with their returning Varsity lineup and more like a well-oiled machine.
â€śJust to try and get the kids to mesh together,â€ť Tuoni noted as one of his goals for the team this summer. â€śThatâ€™s the biggest thing when the season comes around. The more they play together, the more of a comfort zone theyâ€™re going to have with each other once they get on the floor. Thatâ€™s really what the biggest part of it is.
Mary Eden â€“ who Tuoni noted as someone who could be amongst the top players in the state come the winter season â€“ and Mary Matthews led an offensive Rebel charge in the second half that dropped 18 points on Coventry to leave their opponents well behind them.
Eden and Matthews ended the night as their teamâ€™s leading scorer with eight points apiece.
Yet, as good as the offense was when the tempo picked up late in the game, it was Southâ€™s defensive turnaround in the second half that led to such a wide margin of victory.
The Rebel defenders gave up just two field goals in the final 20 minutes as they boxed out and suffocated a Coventry offense that had matched them step-for-step in the first half.
Following the win, South finds themselves in the middle of the pack with just one game left before next weekâ€™s playoffs. The Rebels completed the summerâ€™s regular season Thursday night against East Greenwich (results unavailable at time of press).