PAWTUCKET â€“ For St. Raphael Academy, Saturdayâ€™s game against Providence Country Day was merely a matter of surviving.
Playing for the third time in as many days, the Saints did just enough to squeeze out an 81-73 victory in the championship game of the Dennis M. Lynch Jr. Memorial Tournament.
Junior Charles Correa stole the show at the Pawtucket Boys & Girls Club on his way to earning tourney MVP honors, registering a game-high 30 points to go along with seven assists and five rebounds.
It was a game that tested the Saints in more ways than one. Coming off a frantic 80-74 non-league win against Central the previous night, which was preceded by a victory against Central Falls in the semifinals of the Lynch Tournament, St. Raphael was forced to dig deep and summon whatever energy that remained to fend off a determined PCD squad.
The Knights were able to stay within striking distance thanks to eight makes from 3-point territory and 9-of-10 shooting from the foul line. Thankfully for St. Raphael, Correaâ€™s motor was still running at a high level.
The game was close in the second half when Correa gave his team some badly-needed breathing room. First he drilled a three, one of three in the game. PCD then fouled him on the next trip with Correa making both shots.
The Saints were able to get stops down the stretch as veteran head coach Tom â€śSaarâ€ť Sorrentine wasnâ€™t able to exhale until the final horn sounded.
â€śWe had trouble stopping them which is why it was close all the way. PCD is a good team and played real well and gave us everything they had,â€ť Sorrentine said. â€śWe kind of gutted it out at the end.â€ť
Senior Cesar Mejia complimented Correa with 17 points while junior Jordan Peguero provided some scoring punch off the bench with 14 points.
Matt Davitt led PCD with 24 points.
In the consolation game, Central Falls made enough big plays down the stretch to get the better of Woonsocket, 62-57. The Villa Novans took a 30-28 lead into recess behind the red-hot shooting of Cody Lâ€™Hueruex, who nailed seven 3-pointers in the opening half on his way to scoring 25 points. Lâ€™Hueruex ended up with eight makes from downtown.
C.F. enjoyed a 58-54 advantage with 3:01 remaining. No matter what defense Woonsocket threw at head coach Brian Crookesâ€™ club, his Warriors responded with a series of clutch baskets led by Steven Vazquez (15 points), Cliff Johnson (14 points) and Ryan Murray (14 points).
â€śI thought the guys executed much, much better on both ends of the floor,â€ť Crookes said. â€śWe kept our composure and passed the ball, which is a big thing.â€ť
PCD (73): Matt Davitt 10 2-2 24, Marquis Harper 3 0-0 7, Steve Coccio 5 4-5 14, Tom Horvat 7 3-3 20, Sean Oâ€™Connor 3 0-0 6. Totals: 28 9-10 73.
ST. RAPHAEL (81): Charles Correa 12 3-3 30, Davon Roberton 3 2-4 8, Jordan Peguero 7 0-0 14, Cesar Mejia 5 6-7 17, Abdou Bah 2 1-1 5, Nick Mays 0 1-2 1, Malcolm Williams 0 4-4 4, Ben Duarte 1 0-0 2. Totals: 30 17-21 81.
Halftime: SRA 42-38.
Three-point field goals: PCD 8 (Tom Horvat 3, Matt Davitt 2, Steve Coccio 2, Marquis Harper); SRA 4 (Charles Correa 3, Cesar Mejia).
CENTRAL FALLS (62): Ebinezer Awoyera 3 0-0 6, Elser Colindres 3 0-0 6, Cliff Johnson 6 0-0 14, Ryan Murray 5 4-8 14, Julian Soares 2 0-0 5, Steven Vazquez 7 0-0 15. Totals: 26 4-8 62.
WOONSOCKET (57): Andreas Brackett 2 2-2 6, Nick Juszczysn 1 0-1 2, Cody L'Heureux 10 0-0 25, Khalil Oliver 1 2-6 5, Juwan Simpson 2 0-0 4, Kodie Spearman 0 0-0 0, Ehibel Bonilla 1 0-0 2. Totals: 17 4-9 57.
Halftime: W 30-28.
Three-point field goals: CF 4 (Cliff Johnson 2, Julian Soares, Steven Vazquez); W 8 (Cody Lâ€™Hueruex 7, Khalil Oliver).
Charles Correa (St. Raphael), Cesar Mejia (St. Raphael), Tom Horvat (PCD), Steven Vazquez (Central Falls), Cody L'Heureux (Woonsocket).
Charles Correa (St. Raphael)