Call & Times

Saints smash Wheeler

- By BRENDAN McGAIR bmcgair@pawtuckett­

PAWTUCKET – Team don’t actively seek wakeup calls. They just sort of happen.

Take what happened at Alumni Hall Tuesday night. A St. Raphael girls basketball team that had many reasons to feel good based on what has transpired lately was snapped back to reality courtesy of a Wheeler School outfit that supplied a seismic jolt during the early stages.

When it was over, the Saints celebrated a 70-50 win that officially clinched double digits in league wins for the fourth straight season. Yet it was hardly a walk in the park.

SRA (16-2 overall, 10-2 Division I-C) didn’t record its first field goal until six minutes had gone by and trailed by as many as seven (16-9) with 7:35 remaining. The visiting Warriors (5-6 Division I-A) jumped out to a 5-0 lead and didn’t seem at all intimidate­d at facing a St. Raphael outfit that last week went to South Kingstown and came away with a victory.

Eventually, the Saints found their groove behind senior captain Paige O’Brien, who was instrument­al during her team’s 18-3 run that saw SRA go from down seven to up 2719. O’Brien finished at the rim and had it going from the outside as she ended up a gamehigh 20 points on four 3-pointers.

“We came out with low intensity and knew we had to regroup and fix it,” said O’Brien. “It was tough because (Wheeler) was hitting shots, but that forced us to go the extra mile.

“Just because we won one big game doesn’t mean we can stop working,” O’Brien added.

Wheeler was led by the 1-2 punch of sophomore Mia Mancini (18 points) and junior Kate Keenan (16 points). St. Raphael head coach Tammy Drape knew the Warriors wouldn’t be a pushover and Wheeler certainly made her look good in that regard.

“We had a great week last week, but it’s teams like Wheeler that you have to be concerned about,” said Drape. “They came in with a plan and executed it.”

It was a 27-24 lead for St. Raphael when junior Chloe Rayko stepped into a threepoint shot that came with a minute left in the opening half and helped give the home team a 31-24 lead at halftime. Baskets from Rayko, O’Brien, and junior Amaya Dowdy helped the Saints string together the first nine points of the latter half and open things up at 40-24.

The lead for the Saints peaked at 22 points before the Warriors made a push that made it a 10-point game after Mancini made two free throws with 3:37 remaining. On backto-back possession­s, the Saints got threepoint plays from juniors Elizabeth Bruno and Tatum Forbes that helped to restore order at 63-47 with 2:41 remaining.

Bruno (15 points) and Forbes (10 points, six rebounds) were especially effective during the second half while Dowdy overcame a slow start to finish with 12 points and nine rebounds.

“That’s exactly what we need from Bruno,” said Drape. “She brings so much on the defensive end and we want her to attack the rim.”

Drape didn’t want to hear that SRA’s next opponent (East Providence) has only one Division I win next to its name. The Saints host the Townies Friday at 7 p.m.

“I’ve watched them and they’re very athletic,” said Drape. “We’re not looking at records.”



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WHEELER (50): Mia Mancini 5 4-8 18, Kate Keenan 5 4-5 16, Ada Bruno 2 0-0 4, Lily Routhier 0 0-0 0, Jacqueline Faulise 2 4-6 10, Iris Cephas 0 0-0 0, Alex Mirrer 1 0-0 2. Totals: 14 12-19 50.

ST. RAPHAEL (70): Elizabeth Bruno 4 6-9 15, Tatum Forbes 3 4-6 10, Chloe Rayko 3 0-1 8, Paige O’Brien 7 2-4 20, Tatyana Vicente 2 0-0 5, Malyse Vieira 0 0-0 0, Victoria Adegboyega 0 0-2 0, Amaya Dowdy 4 4-6 12. Totals: 22 16-26 70.

Halftime: SRA 31-24

Three-point field goals: W 8 (Mia Mancini 4, Kate Keenan 2, Jacqueline Faulise 2); SRA 8 (Paige O’Brien 4, Chloe Rayko 2, Elizabeth Bruno, Tatyana Vicente).

 ?? File photo ?? Elizabeth Bruno (2) and the St. Raphael girls basketball team battled back to defeat Wheeler, 70-50, Tuesday night.
File photo Elizabeth Bruno (2) and the St. Raphael girls basketball team battled back to defeat Wheeler, 70-50, Tuesday night.

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