WARWICK â€” As St. Raphael Academy found out on Saturday night, Kris Dunn is not an easy cover.
The New London (Ct.) High senior and Providence College-bound product put on quite the show at a jam-packed CCRI-Warwick field house, tossing in a game-high 32 points in his teamâ€™s 66-55 win over the Saints. Dunnâ€™s ability to penetrate proved to be too much for SRA to handle despite the myriad of different looks that veteran head coach Tom â€śSaarâ€ť Sorrentine attempted to throw at the multi-talented point guard.
â€śWe were trying to stay in front of him and double him, bring guys up â€¦ he was tough,â€ť Sorrentine explained. â€śAt the beginning of the game, we ended up picking him up full-court and when he came over half-court weâ€™d double him and play a zone behind that.
â€śIn the second half I put Davon (Robertson) at the high post to try and cut him off, but he just kept getting to the hoop,â€ť Sorrentine continued.
Dunn didnâ€™t knock down a single 3-pointer. He didnâ€™t need that part of his game thanks to his ultra-quickness, which in turn kept the Saints on their toes. When Dunn wasnâ€™t finishing at the tin, he was utilizing his lanky 6-foot-3 frame to collect offensive rebounds that resulted in either putbacks or trips to the foul line, where he made 16-of-18 opportunities.
â€śEverything was inside,â€ť Sorrentine noted. â€śHe wasnâ€™t trying to shoot jump shots. He was trying to get to the hoop.â€ť
Saturdayâ€™s game between the Whalers and Saints was a matchup of defending state champions and the final game as part of the CCRI High School Shootout. New London, which finished undefeated on its way to winning the Connecticut Class L championship, received 15 points from Keith Porter and 11 from Doug Henton, who was responsible for all three of teamâ€™s 3-pointers.
â€śThey picked up the pace and made the game fast,â€ť Sorrentine said.
Sorrentine noted that his team, which suffered its first loss of the winter, endured a rough night shooting the ball, both from the field and from the foul line, where the Saints 18-of-20 shots.
â€śThey made us work for everything we got,â€ť said Sorrentine. â€śThey played us man-to-man the whole time. Maybe they wore us down, which is why we didnâ€™t hit our foul shots.â€ť
Despite Dunn going off for 16 first-half points, the Saints were right there at halftime, trailing 36-30. SRA got to within four early in the second half before New London seized control for good. Senior Cesar Mejia led SRA with 19 points and eight rebounds while junior Charles Correa added 15 points. Kaseem Sams provided a spark off the bench with eight points and seven rebounds.
As much as Saturdayâ€™s game was a treat for local basketball enthusiasts, Sorrentine knows that how the Saints perform in league play â€“ the games that truly count â€“ will go a long way in revealing whether St. Raphael (9-1 overall, 5-0 Division I-East) is on the road to repeat as state champs or not. SRAâ€™s return to Division I action takes place Tuesday night against Central.
NEW LONDON (66): Doug Henton 4 0-1 11, Kris Dunn 8 16-18 32, Khaleed Fields 3 0-0 6, Sam Miranda 0 0-2 0, Keith Porter 6 3-3 15, Davonte Robinson 0 0-2 0, Voghens Larrieux 1 0-0 2. Totals: 22 19-26 66.
ST. RAPHAEL (55): Davon Robertson 3 1-2 7, Charles Correa 7 0-6 15, Jordan Peguero 1 0-0 2, Cesar Mejia 6 5-9 19, Abdou Bah 0 2-4 2, Nick Mays 0 0-1 0, Zach Mays 0 0-0 0, Malcolm Williams 0 0-0 0, Darshaun Vargas 0 0-2 0, Kaseem Sams 2 4-8 8. Totals: 19 12-30 55.
Halftime: NL 36-30.
Three-point field goals: NL 3 (Doug Henton 3); SRA 3 (Cesar Mejia 2, Charles Correa).