Skippers top Hawks for D1 crown

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The Bishop Hendricken basketball team fell to North Kingstown 64-60 in the Division I Championship on Sunday evening in a packed house at the Community College of Rhode Island.

Despite falling behind by nine points on two separate occasions, the Hawks would pull themselves out of the hole and get within arms reach of winning the game down the stretch. However, the Skippers would hit key 3-pointers and free throws in the final minutes to wrap up the title.

The two clubs faced each other earlier in the regular season, and the Hawks would take home the double-overtime win. Hendricken coach Jamal Gomes expected the rematch to be no different, and felt that the Skippers’ sharp shooting was the difference.

“Every time that we face North Kingstown it’s a battle. (North Kingstown) has some great guys that really stepped up. The 3-ball was the difference in this game, they are a great 3-point shooting team, they made some big 3-pointers at key times during the game. They outplayed us, that was all North Kingstown. It was a good lesson for our guys,” said Gomes.

NK would jump ahead 9-0 to begin the contest, but the Hawks would surge to eventually knot the score at 11-11 midway through the first half. The Skippers would get hot once again and piece together an 11-2 run that would put them up 22-13. However, Hendricken battled back and would end up taking a 29-25 lead into the break.

The two clubs traded blows throughout the second half, which included five lead changes in the 16-minute frame. After falling behind late in the period, the Hawks pulled within a point at 58-57 with less than two minutes remaining. The Skippers would sink six points in the final minutes though, including four free throws, and wrap up the win.

“For us, it would have been nice to win this game, but we learned a lot about ourselves here. This is all preparation for the state tournament, so regardless of whether we win or lose, this will help us figure out what we have to hone in on to make sure that come the open state tournament, we’re clicking on all cylinders,” said Gomes, who was disappointed in his team’s mentality. “The thing that I didn’t like about my team today, I didn’t like their body language. We didn’t have good body language, we weren’t coming together during timeouts, every timeout all I talked about was body language. Positive thoughts equal positive results, our guys couldn’t get out of their own heads today.”

Angel Sanchez led the Hawks with 15 points while Bobby Fiorito and Tyriek Weeks added 14 each. Sebastian Thomas also chipped in nine points in the loss.

Despite the loss, the Hawks will enter the open state tournament as the No. 1 seed. Gomes hopes that the Hawks will learn from the defeat moving forward.

“Sometimes you get punched in the mouth, and today we got punched in the mouth. When that happens, you need to reassess things and see where you have to go from there. I’m happy that it happened now so then hopefully it doesn’t happen next week. It’s a lesson, we lost last year against Mt. Pleasant, regrouped and put it together,” said Gomes. “(NK) had a good balance. Hitting 3’s, getting rebounds and put backs. When a team has that type of balance, it’s tough to beat. They played a great game and deserved to win, our guys didn’t.”

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