Dr. William C. Hambleton, President of La Salle Academy

3/31/2011 – Providence, RI – Story courtesy of Rhode Island Catholic, written by Rick Snizek, Editor – It was down to the wire for the St. Raphael Academy basketball team, as they challenged Tiverton in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League championship on the court at the Ryan Center.

With two minutes left in the game, the rivals were separated by only one point.

While it could have been anyone’s game at that point, St. Ray’s six-foot-six power forward Trevor Vasey had no doubts that the championship trophy would be coming home with them to Pawtucket.

“I always felt we were in control of the game regardless of the score,” said Vasey, who first played football for St. Ray’s when he started there four years ago.

Although they were playing well, he found that his team was consistently missing layup shots. If that was the worst of their performance, he thought during the competition, the game was theirs as long as they wanted a win badly enough.

In the final two minutes, the Saints showed intense focus, sinking several foul shots to expand their lead over Tiverton. When the buzzer sounded, the Saints walked off the court with a 58-47 win to clinch the RIIL Championship on March 12.

Vasey said the victory was a nice way to cap off his career at St. Ray’s.

To the victors go the spoils, and the accolades began pouring in. The school honored the team in a special way with a rally at its Alumni Hall.

And a visit to the State House last week helped to make the win even more memorable for the entire team.

State Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist.15, Pawtucket), state Rep. Raymond H. Johnston Jr. (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket), and state Rep. Elaine A. Coderre (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) presented citations from the Senate and House of Representatives to each player, as well as to coach Saar Sorrentine, assistant coach Dana Smith, and Principal Maryann Donohue-Lynch.

Nesselbush, a former varsity basketball player who went on to Brown University, commended the students for their athleticism, while also encouraging them to strive to be scholar athletes.

“As valuable as your athleticism is, your scholarship will take you farther in life,” said Nesselbush, who admitted her heart “beamed” when the Saints earned the win.

Johnston, a graduate of St. Ray’s, said he was very proud of what the team accomplished this season. Coderre also expressed her admiration for the team.

After the presentations, the team was introduced to applause on both the Senate and House floors when both legislative bodies went into session last Wednesday.

St. Raphael Principal Maryann Donohue-Lynch said she admired the spirit with which both teams played in the championship.

“I’m very proud of our boys and our coaches,” said Donohue-Lynch. “It was a very competitive game.”

“But most importantly, they did it in a manner that reflects the best of young men today. They did it with determination, with pride, with class and with good sportsmanship.”

Coach Sorrentine is certainly no stranger to the attention that comes with winning the big game. This year’s win gives him six championship victories in his career at St. Ray’s, the last one was in 2002.

“We probably played our best defense all year,” said Sorrentine.

While he enjoyed watching his players enjoy the attention they received at the State House, he’ll always remember the energy present during the rally, when the student body paid tribute to the Saints’ victory.

“You could feel the electricity in Alumni Hall,” the coach said.

Sophomore Charles Correa will also not soon forget the way the season ended for the team. He was selected as the Most Valuable Player for his achievements as the leading scorer in both the semi-finals and the finals.

“It’s a lot of attention,” Correa said, adding that MVP honors usually are bestowed on a senior.

“It makes me feel like I graduated. I win it and I have to come back.”

Prior to attending St. Raphael, Correa played for the St. Teresa Parish team, winning two out of three championships with them.


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