After a dominant regular season, the 2018-2019 Bishop Hendricken basketball team stumbled. The Hawks fell to North Kingstown in the Division I Finals, then dropped a shocking loss to Cumberland in the first round of the Open State Tournament.
Heading into 2019-2020, the hungry Hawks have a new-look roster that is determined to get back to the postseason and reclaim the throne that it had for three straight seasons.
“We are trying to remember how last year ended and to use it as fuel, but we also don’t want to think back on it too much. It’s definitely in the back of our minds, though,” said senior Angel Sanchez. “I’m still pretty good friends with (last year’s seniors) and they tell me to remember last year. I’ve been telling these new guys that we let them go off on a bad note, but now we’ve got to come back and get a championship.”
“If you don’t learn from the past, you’re doomed to make the same mistakes again. I remind them of that a lot, they get reminded of that daily. It’s definitely fuel for us,” added Hednricken coach Jamal Gomes, who has liked what he has seen in the early going. “This group has potential. We have a strong program, our JV and freshman teams each won titles last year. These guys are hungry, they know how to win, and we’ve got great leaders in Angel Sanchez, Sebastian Basilio and Helio Sousa. We’re hoping that their experience will lead us this season.”
Meshing with the young players will be key this season, according to Sousa.
“The seniors last year left us with some pretty big shoes to fill. We just came off of a football championship though, so we know what it takes to win. We just want to teach the young guys how to listen and come together as a team,” said Sousa.
Gomes echoed those sentiments, and has also preached the importance of sticking to the fundamentals as well.
“(Last year’s loss) was a culmination of about a month and a half of us not playing well together. We just weren’t playing well together and I told that group, ‘if we don’t get this together, then it’s going to bite us in the worst way.’ The foundation is there, you need to play defense, make layups, make free throws, that’s never going to change,” said Gomes. “It’s going to always come down to the fundamentals, playing together and having love for one another.”
Basilio agreed with his coach and feels that it will also be crucial for the Hawks to come out of the gate firing on all cylinders.
“It’s fuel for us but that was last year, we need to move forward. We need to push early this season,” said Basilio. “It’s going to be about the love we have for each other. We just need to come out and play well early, and if we play for each other then that’s going to bring us to the championship.”