The Bishop Hendricken basketball team wasn’t always the most aesthetically pleasing group to watch this season, as defense and hustle ruled the day instead of a dynamic offense.
But with the personnel the Hawks had, that was the way they had to play. With a natural leader in Kazre Cummings to set the tone, the whole team embraced that mindset.
Hendricken wasn’t going to score in the 60’s most of the time, but neither were you.
Cummings made sure of it.
The 6-foot-3 swingman played some of the toughest defense in the state, and was one of Hendricken’s top offensive options as well, averaging 10.6 points per game.
“On the defensive end, I took it very personal,” Cummings said. “For me, not being able to have that offensive firepower that a lot of teams have, I wanted to find different ways to showcase what type of team we were. Defensively, it was who we were, and we embraced it.”
The season was up and down, as the Hawks lost a number of tight games throughout the middle portion, then had to scramble late to qualify for the Division I tournament and the state tournament.
Once they got there, though, they made their presence felt.
First, they made it to the semifinals of the D-I tourney before falling just short against Classical.
Then, in the state tournament, the No. 15 seeded Hawks upset No. 2 seeded La Salle in the Round of 16 behind 15 points from Cummings.
In the quarterfinals, Hendricken took on Hope and used its defensive energy to keep it close. Eventually, the Blue Wave pulled out a 48-47 victory, but the Hawks were a shot away from being in the Final Four. Cummings scored 18 points in that game.
‘He played his best basketball when we needed it the most,” Hendricken head coach Jamal Gomes said. “Down the stretch at the end of the season, come playoff time, and we needed to win to stay alive, he performed at his best. With Kazre, his effort was tremendous.”
Cummings will play basketball next season at Central Maine Community College in Auburn, Maine, something that validates the hard work he’s put in over the past few years.
“I’ve been wanting to play college basketball since I was 6-years-old,” Cummings said. “This is really a dream come true to me.”
And his coach thinks that he’ll be successful, in basketball and beyond.
“His three years with me, he was a joy and a pleasure to coach,” Jamal Gomes said. “He really was. He’s a good young man, who I know is going to make it far in life.”