Despite trailing at halftime, the Bishop Hendricken basketball team would cruise in the second half to pick up a 58-44 win over Cranston East in a heavyweight battle to kick off its season.
The Hawks were in control for the majority of the first half, but the Bolts would go on a 6-0 run in the final two minutes to pull ahead 25-24 at halftime. East’s Paul MaGuire put the exclamation point on the opening period, hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer with just 8 seconds remaining.
However, the Hawks would open the second half with a 17-8 run and never looked back as they closed out the win in dominant fashion.
“This was our first game out other than one scrimmage, so I was excited to see how we would come out and our effort, and (the effort) was there all night. In the locker room at halftime we thought that we played too fast, we had 12 turnovers in the first half and our goal was nine for the game. We were playing a little too fast for ourselves. We talked about playing fast, but playing disciplined, quick and disciplined. I thought in the second half we were able to do that,” said Hendricken coach Jamal Gomes after the win. “We were quick, disciplined, hitting our layups. I’m proud of the effort, but we need to be more disciplined which will come in time.”
Tyriek Weeks led the Hawks with 13 points, including three 3-pointers. Bobby Fiorito also added 12 points while Sebastian Thomas scored 10. Angel Sanchez and Andre De Los Santos chipped in eight.
Cranston East was led by MaGuire, who led the team with 18 points scored. Andrew Khvang would also score 10 points, while Nelvin Blanco added eight.
“Cranston East is a great team and they will be in the mix all year long. They’re going to be a top-4 team coming down the stretch in the regular season,” said Gomes. “They’re no slouch, you make a mistake and they’ll make you pay. Our goal defensively was to prevent them from getting the fast breaks that they’re used to getting, because they’ve got some big guards and once they get it they’re off.”
Gomes was also to see some of the younger Hawks step up in the win.
“There are some areas that we need to work on, but in terms of the energy, the enthusiasm and the effort, I was very proud of that. We have a lot of young guys that played a lot of minutes today and we need to get better. I told them, win or lose, we need to get better,” said Gomes.
The Hawks improve to 1-0 on the year and will take on East Providence in tonight’s home opener.
Gomes was proud of his team’s start, and feels that it has the pieces to once again compete for a state championship. Finding a way to win with talent as well as smarts simultaneously will be the key moving forward, according to Gomes.
“I think physicality and athletically, we’re up there with anyone in the state. I would like us to be more disciplined on our rebounds instead of trying to jump everywhere, and to use our bodies to box out. That’s discipline, and that will come in time. I told them at halftime that we’ve won 17 state titles because we are a disciplined program, we’re fundamentally sound, we’ve got to get back to that,” said Gomes. “We can’t rely on our athleticism for everything. We’ve got to rely on our minds, and once this team gets that I think we’ll be firing on all cylinders.”