PAWTUCKET --– This may be hard to fathom, but the regular season in boys’ basketball ends exactly one month from today.
For teams like St. Raphael Academy, it’s simply a matter of full speed ahead. Veteran head coach Tom “Saar” Sorrentine has concerns that are generally viewed as normal for this time of year. Yet with the finish line in sight and playoffs – both divisional and the experimental Sweet 16 – 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 there’s plenty potential on this year’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 – no doubt doing so with an eye towards the future.
“We’re not clicking right now. We need to be firing on all cylinders in a month and we have a ways to go,” said Sorrentine after his Saints upped their Division I-East mark to 5-2. “We’re still trying to get to where we want to be.”
The question is whether that’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 doesn’t snow) and Smithfield (Saturday) looming.
“We’re still seeing the best things we can do offensively and defensively. We’re still experimenting,” said Sorrentine. “There are certain things you need to work on every day just to keep them sharp, and then you have get other stuff in … it’s tough to do everything you want to do.”
St. Raphael made quick work of Classical (0-7 Div. I-West, 0-10 overall) thanks to taking advantage of the Purple’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. Classical’s Ismael Batista led all scorers with 19 points. For SRA seniors Trevor Vasey and Ben Pillsbury each netted 10 points.
“We’ve got pieces,” said Sorrentine. “We’ve just got to click and do so in a hurry.”
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.