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PAWTUCKET â€” One doesnâ€™t have very far to look while tracking the barometer of pending success for this yearâ€™s St. Raphael Academy hoop squad.
Charles Correa is going to get his points by the bushel, the SRA senior demonstrating just that Saturday night in the finals of the 27th annual Dennis M Lynch Jr. Memorial Basketball Tournament.
The game-high 35 points Correa torched Providence Country Day for in an 85-64 Saint win paved the way for the squadâ€™s top playmaker to become the first player in tournament history to cop three straight MVP honors. Correa further enhanced his worthy selection with 11 assists, five rebounds and four steals.
While Correaâ€™s performance was the talk of the Pawtucket Boys & Girls Club, it wasnâ€™t the only noteworthy development for Tom â€śSaarâ€ť Sorrentineâ€™s squad.
The yeomanâ€™s work turned in by senior Jordan Peguero was just as instrumental in paving the way for St. Raphael to capture Lynch supremacy for the third consecutive year and 19th time overall.
What Peguero did, was rise to the challenge of taking the oppositionâ€™s top perimeter scoring threat head-on and made him feel uncomfortable. In this case, Peguero held PCDâ€™s Tom Horvat to a mere 14 points â€“ four coming in the first half while much of his final total was the result of baskets scored when the contest was well in SRAâ€™s favor.
Clearly mindful of Horvatâ€™s ability, Sorrentine assigned the wiry Peguero the man-to-man defensive responsibilities as part of the box-and-one scheme the veteran mentor unleashed. Not just a disruptive force, Peguero popped for 11 points on his way to earning a spot on the all-tournament team.
In short, Peguero delivered the type of scrappy/get-after-it performance that Sorrentine hopes will become the norm moving forward.
â€śJordan was the key guy on defense,â€ť stated Sorrentine. â€śHe hustles like crazy every game. Heâ€™s our hardest worker offensively and defensively.â€ť
Peguero finds himself caught in the middle between Correaâ€™s star power and a group of unproven Saints that figure to improve the more they become acclimated to their roles. With the season just getting underway, the need for Peguero for influence the game on both ends is even more imperative as Sorrentine is still in the process of aligning the stars.
Alex Zhoa, a SRA exchange student from China, pulled down 11 rebounds while adding six points. Nick Mays and Chris Luciano, who netted 12 and 10 points, respectively, also buoyed the Saints. In addition, Luciano secured 11 boards.
â€śIf those guys (meaning Zhoa and Luciano) can give us 11 rebounds a game, thatâ€™s good,â€ť said Sorrentine. â€śMays came off the bench and played real well.â€ť
PCD ended up placing four players in double figures with Ricky Pacia and all-tourney pick Marquis Harper each netting 13 points.
In the consolation game, Woonsocket held on for a 57-55 triumph against Central Falls. What worked in the Villa Novansâ€™ favor was that they were able to get to the foul line 29 times, making 19. On the flip side, the Warriors had 12 tries from the charity stripe in the entire game.
Gare Lyles led Woonsocket with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the line while C.F.â€™s Brandon Canuto poured in a game-best 21 points. Both players were all-tournament recipients.