When league unbeaten St. Raphael Academy takes the court Friday night at La Salle, the Saints will do so minus their star playmaker.
For the time being, senior point guard Charles Correa is out with a broken right hand. He’s presently sporting a cast, one that according to veteran head coach Tom “Saar” Sorrentine has a target removal date for the middle of the month. If everything checks out, Correa will then be fitted for a plastic splint that protects the ring and pinky finger.
“Realistically, the doctor said four to six weeks, but if you want to play (there are ways to get Correa back in a Saints’ uniform sooner rather than later),” said Sorrentine. “They’ll take the cast off and see if it’s healing. (If the tender spot is responsive to what’s been done up until that point), then we can splint it and see if he can play.”
The unfortunate setback occurred the night prior to SRA’s Dec. 23 non-league contest against Catholic (Mass.) Memorial at Holyoke Community College. Despite not having full usage of his right hand, Correa still went out against the Knights and played the entire game left-handed, swishing back-to-back 3-pointers as part of a 13-point effort – his second-lowest total on the season.
“He was a one-handed basketball player,” Sorrentine recalled. “He couldn’t go right.”
Correa underwent an X-ray less than 24 hours following the Catholic Memorial contest before visiting Dr. Robert M. Shalvoy, M.D. of University Orthopedics the day after Christmas.
A two-time, first-team All-State selection, Correa is averaging 22.4 ppg through SRA’s first seven games. He lit up PCD for a season-high 35 points during the championship game of the Dennis M. Lynch Memorial Tournament on Dec. 8 before shredding Mount Pleasant for 33 points on Dec. 21.
While losing Correa for the foreseeable future is a major blow – he represents St. Raphael’s lone battletested ballhander – the Saints have had adequate time to adjust to life without him. When they face the Rams, it will mark the team’s first game in 11 days. During that time, Sorrentine has been preparing the remaining players about the intense ball pressure that opposing teams figure to unleash.
“We’ve got to take care of the ball and find ways to score,” said a concerned Sorrentine. “Everyone is going to try and torment our point guard.”
To combat such tactics, expect Sorrentine to rely on seldom-used sophomore Alex Holloway and junior John Cooney, who will also have to shoulder some of the scoring burden in Correa’s absence. The good news for the Saints is that senior swingman Jordan Peguero is fully recovered from an ankle injury that hindered him prior to Christmas while 6-foot-2 sophomore Alex Zhoa is back after the exchange student spent the holiday break in his native China.
“Everyone’s got to contribute,” said Sorrentine, echoing a sentiment that will surely be repeated until Correa is deemed fit to return.
At 3-0, St. Raphael is the lone undefeated club in Division I-North. If the halfway point of the month represents the earliest Correa would be able to return, he will miss (in addition to Friday) Saturday’s non-leaguer against Connecticut’s New London at CCRI-Warwick, Jan. 7 at Cranston East, Jan. 9 vs. Classical, Jan. 11 at East Providence and Jan. 15 vs. Central.
RIM RATTLERS: Also on tap Friday is a Division II matchup involving the state’s leading scorer (Westerly’s Austin Cilley) and a Cumberland squad that’s yet to absorb a loss in nine tries. Opening tip is 7:30 p.m. at The Wellness Center. … In Division III, one game that jumps out is 3-1 Johnston at 4-0 North Smithfield. … Three local entries – Tolman, Central Falls and Davies Tech – enter the New Year in search of its first league win. All three are in action Friday with Davies hosting East Greenwich while Central Falls and Tolman welcome Chariho and Portsmouth, respectively. … The Bishop Hendricken-East Providence contest that was originally scheduled for Dec. 14 is on the docket for Jan. 14 at the Townies’ gym.