St. Raphaelâs Malcolm Williams, right, jumps up to block a pass by Central Fallsâ Cliff Johnson during first-half action Thursday night at the Pawtucket Boys & Girls Club. The Saints defeated the Warriors, 72-38, in the opening round of the Dennis M. Lynch Jr. Memorial Tournament. PCD knocked off Woonsocket in the other semifinal. Photo by BUTCH ADAMS.
PAWTUCKET â Defending state champion St. Raphael Academy toyed with Central Falls in the opening game of the Dennis M. Lynch Memorial Tournament on Thursday night, rolling to a 72-38 victory as the Saintsâ 1-2 punch of Cesar Mejia (22 points) and Charles Correa (16 points) equaled the Warriorsâ final scoring total all by themselves.
âWe have a lot of kinks to work out,â SRA coach Tom Sorrentine admitted after the game ended. âBut we do have our 1-2 punch back. Davon Robertson is our third returning starter. We have to fill in the other spots.â
Thatâs what preseason tournaments like the Lynch event are all about âŠ for both teams. Central Falls is a talented team athletically that needs to refine its shooting skills in order to contend in Division II.
âWe got a lot of shots tonight,â C.F. coach Brian Crookes said. âWe just didnât make many of them. We got about every look we wanted while running our offense. I think we probably made around 20 percent of our shots from the field.â
The Warriors hit just two of their first 12 free throws before finished 10-for-26 from the free throw line. Steven Vasquez and Julian Soares led C.F. with 11 points apiece.
The Saints jumped out to an early 17-7 lead in an up-tempo contest that saw both teams pushing the ball down the court. Correa and Mejia teamed together for several fast-break baskets. The timing between those two veterans has been built over the past two seasons of ball together and they seemed in mid-season form on certain plays.
Correa drained a three-point field goal for a 23-12 lead. The Saints led 36-19 at halftime and extended their margin to 59-26 on a breakaway dunk by Mejia before Sorrentine emptied his bench with seven minutes left in the game.
The Saints got a solid effort from junior forward Abdou Bah, a 6-foot-5 lefthander with a solid build who can pound the boards down low alongside the 6-foot-4 Robertson.
âWe lost (Trevor) Vasey,â Sorrentine said, speaking of a 6-foot-6 center who graduated last June. âAbdou might be able to fill his shoes.â
Central Falls has a talented center in wide-bodied Ryan Murray, who held his own against the Saintsâ front line but failed to convert his shots in close to the basket. Murray will be a force in Division II along with the speedy Vasquez and Ebinezer Awoyera, who hits the boards at full speed and shows no fear.
The Saints will play Providence Country Day in Saturday nightâs 7:30 title game at the Pawtucket Boys & Girls Clubâs School Street campus. Central Falls meets Woonsocket at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
CENTRAL FALLS (38) â Cliff Johnson 1 0-0 3, Steve Vasquez 4 3-5 11, Ryan Murray 1 1-5 3, Elser Colinores 0 0-4 0, Ebinezer Awoyera 2 1-4 5, Jose Toledo 1 1-2 3, Julian Soares 3 4-6 11, Brandon Canuto 0 0-0 0, Christian Brandon 1 0-0 2, Josh Brandon 0 0-0 0; totals 13 10-26 38.
ST. RAPHAEL (72) â Abdou Bah 1 3-4 5, Charles Correa 5 3-5 16, Benjamin Duarte 2 0-0 4, Christopher Luciano 0 0-0 0, Nicholas Mays 2 1-2 5, Cesar Mejia 7 6-8 22, Jordan Peguero 2 1-2 5, Davon Robertson 1 3-4 5, Kaseem Sams 2 0-0 4, Malcolm Williams 1 1-2 3; totals 24 18-27 71.
Halftime: SRA, 36-19.
Three-point field goals: SRA -- Correa 3, Mays 1, Mejia 2. C.F. â Johnson 1, Soares 1.
Novans fall to PCD
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PAWTUCKET â Woonsocket managed just 11 points in the first half en route to a 43-35 loss to Providence Country Day in Thursdayâs nightcap at the Dennis M. Lynch Jr. Memorial Tournament.
Tom Horvat led the winners with 24 points, including 15 in the first half when the Knights moved out to a 24-11 advantage.
Kory Lawrence led the Villa Novans with 11 points. Cody LâHereux added 10 for Woonsocket, which will face Central Falls at 6 p.m. on Saturday night in the third-place game.
PCD (43) â Matt Davitt 6 1-1 13, Tom Horvat 8 4-4 24, Nick DiBiaso 1 2-2 4, Rick Pacia 1 0-0 2, Alfredo DeSantos 0 0-0 0, Steve Coccio 0 0-0 0; totals 16 7-7 43.
WOONSOCKET (35) â Andreas Brackett 3 1-1 7, Kory Lawrence 5 0-0 11, Kodie Spearman 0 1-2 1, Khalil Oliver 0 0-0 0, Cody LâHereux 4 0-0 10, Brandon Rainville 1 0-0 2, Demetri Lewis 2 0-1 4, Juwan Simpson 0 0-0 0; totals 15 2-4 35.
Halftime: PCD, 24-11.
Three-point field goals: Woonsocket â Lawrence 1, LâHereux 2. PCD â Horvat 4.