The Bishop Hendricken basketball team clipped visiting St. Raphael Academy 78-54 at its senior night game last week and later topped Woonsocket 88-76 to wrap up the season with a record of 21-1, claiming the top seed in Division I heading into the postseason.
The Hawks started an all-senior lineup against St. Rays, and was led by Andre De Los Santos with 16 points, while Sebastian Thomas added 14, Bobby Fiorito 12 and Angel Sanchez 10 in the lopsided win.
“It means a lot to us, our program is about family and brotherhood. We love to honor our seniors for their commitment to our program, to their teammates and to the school in general. Senior night is a big deal for us and we try to promote that brotherhood. It was a good game for us, obviously winning is what’s important, but it was great to see the seniors start the game and finish the game and get the win,” said Hendricken coach Jamal Gomes, who has appreciated the senior’s impact both on and off the court during their time in the program. “It’s about character. It’s about the effort and the relationships that are built throughout their career. Building relationships, establishing a culture of doing things the right way is what’s important. These seniors are strong in character and have built strong relationships with each other and that spills out onto the basketball court.”
The Hawks then traveled to Woonsocket for their season finale on Tuesday, and would get another handful of big performances to propel them to the win. Thomas led the way with 23 points while De Los Santos added 21, Fiorito 19 and Tyriek Weeks 11.
Although the Hawks were expected to be among the top teams in the state heading into the 2018-19 campaign, a 21-1 overall record was good enough to exceed their expectations heading into the playoffs.
“It’s right around this time that we want to start playing our best basketball. I don’t think we’re quite there yet, there are some areas that we need to improve on, but when you look back from the beginning of the year, this has been a special season. I look back on the 19 seasons that I’ve been here, and looking at our record in the regular season and non-league games, this has been our best season in nearly 20 years. If you told me that the team would be (21-1) I would have taken that in a heartbeat,” said Gomes.
Hendricken is considered the favorite to win the D1 title, which would be its fourth-straight state championship. Gomes believes that it will take even more than just hard work and talent to get the job done as the tournament approaches.
“These guys have come in focused and have worked hard. I always know what I’m going to get from them every day and that’s their best effort. They’re always going to play hard, but moving forward, we need to continue to improve and we need to play as intelligent basketball as we can,” said Gomes. “To be champions, it takes a lot more than effort … it takes intelligence, teamwork, execution, attention to detail. Our goal isn’t regular season championships.”