Photo: Nick Coit/ABC6

Photo: Nick Coit/ABC6

 

The Saint Raphael Academy boys basketball team prevailed against Woonsocket at the 30th Annual Dennis M. Lynch Jr. Memorial Basketball Tournament with a final score of 64-45.  The tournament, held this past weekend at the Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket, invites city high school basketball teams to play in an opening tournament that has become the traditional kickoff to the regular high school basketball season. The SRA boys’ team has won the tournament 21 times over the years.

Initially a city-sponsored tournament in 1986, the event was renamed in memory of Dennis M. Lynch Jr., a Saint Raphael alum of the Class of 1974 and basketball coach who passed away in 1988. The Academy’s original gymnasium was named in his honor, and then again in the new Alumni Hall two years ago, when the former court became the Coutu Theater.

Read more about the team’s win in an article from the Pawtucket times (below). For a listing of the boys’ basketball schedule, click here.

 

 

From the December 14 edition of the Pawtucket Times

St. Raphael claims Lynch title

PAWTUCKET – St. Raphael Academy’s basketball philosophy really hasn’t changed much over the past 30 years. Even back in the days when the late Dennis M. Lynch Jr. ran the program, the Saints implemented their vaunted press to take control of games.

Lynch, who passed away in 1988 at the age of 33, had a tailor-made successor on his staff in Tom Sorrentine, who kept fiddling with that press, adding nuances over the years to fit his personnel. The program went on to capture four state Division I titles in the mid-1990s, combining talent and athleticism with a withering pressing defense.

The bad news for SRA opponents this season is that the Saints again are athletic and fly all over the court, pressing from start to finish. They are a team that Dennis Lynch Jr. would have enjoyed coaching.

SRA pressed from the start on Saturday night when the Saints rolled to a 64-45 victory over Woonsocket in the championship game of the 30th annual Dennis M. Lynch Jr. Memorial Tournament (which began as a city event in 1986 and was re-named in Lynch’s honor two years later.)

“We have speed and athleticism,” Sorrentine said after the game. “Our press is a little different this year. Each player on the floor has a separate responsibility. We want to trap the ball, deny the next pass and take away passing lanes. This group of players is really very coachable. We are not where we need to be yet but these kids have good court sense.”

The Saints fell behind 8-2 in the early going before scoring eight points in a row to take the lead on a put-back by smooth-shooting forward Huascar Beato, who finished with a game-high 20 points. Woonsocket took its last lead at 13-11 on a three-point field goal from Tim Cahill. Beato answered with a three of his own and the Novans could not keep pace, turning the ball over repeatedly against all that pressure.

SRA’s defense had been active early. Willie Washington and Trevante Jones blocked several layup bids by the Villa Novans, who could not finish in the lane.

“We’re not that tall but we can block shots,” Sorrentine said. “We have a few guys who are 6-2 or 6-3 and can jump. I think Trevante is 6-3 or 6-4. This team has a chance to play very good defense.”

All of this athleticism makes the Saints’ pressing defense a nightmare for opposing teams.

“We have a sophomore point guard (Ke’Vaughn Davis),” Woonsocket coach T.J. Ciolfi pointed out. “He could dribble through Central Falls’ press the other night but tonight he found that against a Division I team like St. Ray’s, you can’t dribble through a press. They are too fast and athletic. We need to pass the ball up the floor. Everyone has to help to beat the press. That’s something we will be working on in practice.”

The Saints held a 26-15 lead at halftime and then built a 35-24 advantage as Beato scored five points in a row. Woonsocket’s best player, Michael Colon, had struggled in the first half before hitting a three-pointer early in the second half. Colon, who finished with just seven points, had been guarded closely all night by Washington and Jones, even when he drifted 20 feet away from the basket. Frustration soon boiled over. Colon picked up his fourth foul when he tangled arms with Washington. An ensuing technical foul ended his night with 11:11 left in the game.

The Saints then scored 11 straight points to put this contest away. Beato and Peter Wilson hit threes to build a 55-28 advantage with four minutes left in the game.

Woonsocket was missing two players from its regular rotation. Davis led the Novans with 13 points, including a nice 8-for-10 effort at the free throw line. Cahill added 10 points.

When the game ended, several members of Dennis Lynch Jr.’s family, including his son Dylan, now a lawyer in New Orleans, gathered together around their mother, Peggy, and Dennis’s wife Laura, to watch the trophy presentation at mid-court. Brothers William and Patrick Lynch, both graying a bit up top, took in the scene. The family attends this tournament every year, paying their own tribute to a brother, husband and father whom they will never forget.

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