PAWTUCKET — No. 11 West Warwick was determined to not let St. Raphael junior forward Trevante Jones end their season Saturday afternoon.

When the two teams met during the regular season, Jones had a double-double and led the Saints to a nine-point victory over the undersized Wizards.

Saturday, the Saints earned another nine-point win in a Division I preliminary-round contest, but it wasn’t Jones who burnt the Wizards. Junior wing Peter Wilson knocked down six 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 32 points to outduel Wizard senior point guard Kevin Paygai in the No. 6 Saints’ 66-57 victory.

“I just had to do whatever the team needed to win,” Wilson said. “I was hitting open shots from 3 early in the game and I got hot. It just kept going and I had to keep shooting. The coaches started telling me in the second half when Tre got four fouls that I had to step up and take over. They encouraged me to help the team.”

“He’s athletic and he’s a player and he can shoot it,” St. Raphael coach Tom Sorrentine said of Wilson. “They were in that zone and they were pressing us, so he was wide open on the wing and he was shooting the ball well.”

If the Wizards had found a way to overcome the Saints, the story of the game would’ve been the play of the talented Paygai, who missed all of last season with a broken leg he suffered during his junior football season. The senior point guard knocked down two 3-pointers and finished with 28 points, 16 of which came in the first half.

The Saints attempted to slow him down with sophomore Jay-Juan Hayes, but Paygai used his low center of gravity and his speed to break down the St. Raphael defense. Paygai scored the game’s first seven points to help the Wizards on their way.

“Kevin did a great job,” West Warwick coach Richard Grenier said. “In the second half when St. Ray’s was clogging it up, he did a great job finding open guys and we just didn’t shoot the 3-pointer as consistently as I like. Charlie (Tashjian) and Brogan (Guilmette) came up big for us.”

The Wizards trailed 45-37 after a Wilson 3-pointer finished off a 12-0 run by the hosts. It looked like the Wizards were going to see their Division I playoff run end quickly, but then

See WIZARDS, Page B-2

Paygai countered with seven points and Guilmette hit a 3-pointer to close the gap to two.

After Jones picked up his fourth foul, West Warwick senior Matt Grenier scored his first points of the game on a 25-foot 3-pointer to cut the Wizards’ deficit to just one with 3:05 remaining.

And then sophomore guard Zaheer Santiago, who hadn’t made a shot all afternoon, delivered the shot that changed the game. The wing knocked down a 3-pointer to start a 9-0 run which also featured a three-point play by Wilson and a Husacar Beato 3-pointer to stretch the lead out to 10. Beato supplemented Wilson with 19 points.

“He can shoot and we want him to shoot it,” Sorrentine said. “He had a big 3-pointer and so did Husacar.”

“(Santiago) took a shot that we didn’t mind him taking,” Grenier said. “I think he was 28 feet and I think the entire St. Ray’s bench was yelling no when he shot it and it hit the bottom of the net. I think if we could’ve got a step there and got into transition, you never know what could’ve happened.”

Grenier hit a 3-pointer to stop the 9-0 run, but Jones, who finished the evening with seven points and 15 rebounds, knocked down a pair of free throws and scored a basket in transition to put the game away.

While the Saints move on to the quarterfinals and the Open state tournament, the Wizards say goodbye to Paygai, Grenier, Brian Moretti, Matt Hopper and Corey Raymond. The quintet was a part of a Division II regular season title in 2014 and helped lead Deering to the RIPCOA state title in 2012.

“We’ve been undersized all year and to come in here against a team that could make a big run in this tournament and the Open tournament, I’m really proud of the guys,” Grenier said. “If a couple more shots fell or we took a couple more shots maybe this game could’ve been different.”

Follow Branden Mello on Twitter @Branden-Mello

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