PAWTUCKET – Living on the edge finally caught up with St. Raphael Academy on Friday night.
A deep and determined La Salle squad became the first Rhode Island-based squad to knock off SRA this season as the Rams grinded out a 74-69 double-overtime triumph before an enthusiastic throng of followers at Alumni Hall. Two of La Salle’s primary catalysts were reserves Michael Clark and Dexter Thompson, the pair combining to score all but three of the 15 points the visitors managed between the two extra sessions.
Clark, a point guard, swished all four of his free throw attempts in the second OT on his way to collecting 14 points. Thompson proved to be too much a load for SRA’s frontline to contain, the sophomore compiling 21 points with 10 coming on second-chance opportunities.
Charles Correa led all scorers with 34 points on a night that saw the St. Raphael junior net his 1,000th career point, the special moment unfolding with 3:48 remaining after swishing a free throw. Davon Robertson amassed 15 points and 13 rebounds while Cesar Mejia collected 12 points before fouling out with 14 seconds gone by in the first extra session.
The Saints (13-1, 10-1, Division I-East) struggled mightily from the floor all night long, shooting just of 7-of-31 in the first half to trail 24-23 at halftime. The team’s 1-2 dynamic scoring punch of Correa and Mejia combined to shoot 12-for-47, though Correa was able to make 13 of his 16 free throws.
“We just shot the ball terrible,” SRA head coach Tom “Saar” Sorrentine said.
The Saints have made a living out of winning a number of tightly contested games this season and were seeking to add to the collection against a La Salle team that sat in first place in Division I-North. The Rams (9-2) certainly didn’t make it easy on their hosts, not after leading scorer Tommy Hunt swished two free throws for a 54-47 lead with 2:46 left in regulation.
La Salle’s was 58-53 with 43.2 seconds left when Correa found the range from outside. A three from the corner make it a two-point game with Clark hitting 1-of-2 from the line to make it 59-56 with 22.7 seconds left.
Taking matters into his own hands, Correa pulled up from beyond the arc, splashing in fifth 3-pointer of the game to even things with 17 seconds left.
The Rams had a chance to win it but Hunt saw his bid denied at the buzzer by junior Jordan Peguero, who fueled SRA’s comeback in the closing stages with two free throws and a layup.
Playing without Mejia, the Saints took a 62-61 lead after Correa hit Robertson with 40 seconds left in the first extra stanza. A La Salle turnover gave SRA the ball back with Robertson making a free throw to put St. Raphael up 63-61 with 21.4 seconds left.
La Salle forced an additional four-minute session as Thompson skied for a layup with eight seconds remaining. The Saints continued to miss Mejia as the second session got off to a rough start. Two SRA turnovers led to two La Salle baskets as Jared Thompson knocked down a three for a 68-63 lead. A follow by Abdou Bah brought the Saints to within four (70-66) but without Mejia to take off some of the scoring pressure, Correa was forced to go it alone. The Saints were just 2-of-9 from the floor in the second overtime.
"We couldn't survive two overtimes without Cesar," said Sorrentine.
LA SALLE (74): Josh McCourt 4 0-0 11, Keon Wilson 1 0-0 2, Michael Clark 3 8-10 14, Dexter Thompson 9 3-10 21, Tommy Hunt 2 5-6 11, Jonathan Lapolla 1 2-4 4, Anthony Johnson 1 0-0 2, Jared Thompson 2 2-2 8. Totals: 23 20-32 74.
ST. RAPHAEL (69): Charles Correa 8 13-16 34, Cesar Mejia 4 3-4 12, Davon Robertson 5 4-7 15, Jordan Peguero 1 2-2 4, Abdou Bah 2 0-0 4, Malcolm Williams 0 0-0 0, Kaseem Sams 0 0-0 0, Zach Mays 0 0-0 0, Dan Finn 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 22-29 69.
Halftime: L 24-23.
End of Regulation: 59-59.
End of 1st Overtime: 63-63.
Three-point field goals: L 7 (Josh McCourt 3, Tommy Hunt 2, Jared Thompson 2); SRA 7 (Charles Correa 5, Davon Robertson, Cesar Mejia).