PAWTUCKET --â€“ This may be hard to fathom, but the regular season in boysâ€™ basketball ends exactly one month from today.
For teams like St. Raphael Academy, itâ€™s simply a matter of full speed ahead. Veteran head coach Tom â€śSaarâ€ť Sorrentine has concerns that are generally viewed as normal for this time of year. Yet with the finish line in sight and playoffs â€“ both divisional and the experimental Sweet 16 â€“ knocking on the doorstep, the onus is on clubs to get everything in order before the truly important games arrive.
Yes, St. Raphael has demonstrated thereâ€™s plenty potential on this yearâ€™s edition, the latest example coming Monday in a 69-42 demolishing of winless Classical at The Wellness Center. Despite the easy night at the office, Sorrentine afterwards voiced plenty of concern about his club â€“ no doubt doing so with an eye towards the future.
â€śWeâ€™re not clicking right now. We need to be firing on all cylinders in a month and we have a ways to go,â€ť said Sorrentine after his Saints upped their Division I-East mark to 5-2. â€śWeâ€™re still trying to get to where we want to be.â€ť
The question is whether thatâ€™s obtainable, especially with practice time being cut in favor of three-game weeks, a move designed in order for the regular season to finish in enough time so that the playoffs can begin without interruption. Monday saw SRA kick off its second straight mult-game week with dates with Mount Pleasant (Wednesday, providing it doesnâ€™t snow) and Smithfield (Saturday) looming.
â€śWeâ€™re still seeing the best things we can do offensively and defensively. Weâ€™re still experimenting,â€ť said Sorrentine. â€śThere are certain things you need to work on every day just to keep them sharp, and then you have get other stuff in â€¦ itâ€™s tough to do everything you want to do.â€ť
St. Raphael made quick work of Classical (0-7 Div. I-West, 0-10 overall) thanks to taking advantage of the Purpleâ€™s lack of height in the post. The result was a 40-15 halftime lead for the home team that was mainly due to the play of junior Cesar Mejia (14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals) and sophomore Charles Correa (9 points, 4 assists).
Sorrentine opted to pull his starters with eight minutes remaining, which offered the coach a chance to evaluate the second group in a game setting. Classicalâ€™s Ismael Batista led all scorers with 19 points. For SRA seniors Trevor Vasey and Ben Pillsbury each netted 10 points.
â€śWeâ€™ve got pieces,â€ť said Sorrentine. â€śWeâ€™ve just got to click and do so in a hurry.â€ť
CLASSICAL (42): Dominic Gomes 1 2-2 4, Ismael Batista 6 5-5 19, Toe Terrill 4 3-7 12, Ariel Batista 1 0-0 3, Jose Leon 1 2-2 4. Totals: 12 12-16 42.
ST. RAPHAEL (69): Zach Mays 2 0-0 5, Jordan Peguero 3 0-0 6, Cesar Mejia 7 0-0 14, Trevor Vasey 5 0-0 10, Franklin Batista 2 4-4 8, Ben Pillsbury 5 0-0 10, Davon Robertson 1 0-1 2, Terrence Manning 1 0-0 2. Totals: 31 6-9 69.
Halftime: SRA 40-15.
Three-point field goals: C 3 (Ismael Batista 2, Toe Terrill, Ariel Batista); SRA 1 (Zach Mays).
JV: SRA 39-36.