Lack of execution dooms St. Raphael in defeat
Coventry overcomes two-point halftime deficit to stop Saints
COVENTRY — With Coventry coach Jim Moretti out sick, assistant Rich Pendola was thrust into the role of head coach of the Coventry High School boys basketball team on Friday night with visiting St. Raphael Academy in town.
For one night, he is undefeated in that position.
In a game that lacked offensive rhythm for all of the first half and most of the second, Coventry managed to pull away late, prevailing by a 51-36 to improve to 3-3 on the year.
Troy Osterhout, who surpassed the 1,000-point mark in his career on Monday in a 59-44 loss on the road at Smithfield, was honored by the Oaker faithful in his first game back at C. Arthur Flori
Gymnasium since accomplishing the feat. The senior co-captain went on to have an uncharacteristically quiet night, totaling just 11 points, but still helped his team pick up their second win in a row, following a 51-44 win at South Kingstown on Wednesday.
Senior transfer Reece Bullock led the way for Coventry, scoring a game-high 15 points, while classmate Dionisio Cepeda also reached double digits in the scoring department with 12.
The Saints (0-5), coming off of a 75-67 loss to Cumberland on Monday, had all week to get set for the Oakers, but still left town in search of their first league win of the year with yet another aggravating defeat to add to their list.
“We just weren’t executing on offense,” head coach Tom Sorrentine said.
The Saints took a slim 23-21 lead with them into the break, but were unable to produce on the offensive end in the second half, netting just 13 total points.
“It was anybody’s game to win at halftime and they took charge in the second half,” Florentine said of the Oakers.
Sophomores Jayden Garces and Ameir Gomes led the way for the visitors, each with nine points in the losing effort.
Senior Matt West had six with classmate Avion Bloe adding five as did junior Devin O’Malley.
O’Malley opened up the second half scoring with a three-pointer, giving the Saints their largest lead at 26-21, but from there, the offense was hard to come by.
“We were getting stops, but we weren’t scoring at the other end and they just ended up taking the game from us,” Sorrentine said.
After the Oakers went on a 13-0 run, Neiko Ward drained a three for St. Ray’s, cutting the Oaker lead down to 34-29 with still over six minutes remaining, as the Saints refused to go quietly. With 3:35 to go, it was still just a fivepoint game at 40-35.
Unfortunately for SRA, there was not much left in the tank as far as points were concerned, with Coventry finally finding their groove and closing the game out on an 11-4 run to cap an overall successful week.
“We just didn’t get it done on offense,” Sorrentine said simply, citing the main reason for the defeat.
A technical foul on West with 49.5 seconds remaining and the Oakers up by ten at the time only added salt to the wound for the Saints, with the Coventry fans serenading him as he made his way over to the bench.
“We gotta keep plugging away,” Sorrentine said, looking ahead to next week.
Both teams return to action on Tuesday, with Coventry hosting Hope High School and St. Ray’s hosting Woonsocket.