Since the early going of the season, everyone knew that the boys basketball Division I race would come down to Bishop Hendricken and North Kingstown. The two teams have squared off the last two seasons in the Division I Final with the Skippers emerging
Since the early going of the season, everyone knew that the boys basketball Division I race would come down to Bishop Hendricken and North Kingstown.
The two teams have squared off the last two seasons in the Division I Final with the Skippers emerging as victorious last year, both teams were the best clubs in the state this year, and they had an epic contest earlier in the winter in which the Hawks squeaked out the win.
Once again, the Hawks-Skippers rivalry delivered in the Division I Finals on Sunday at CCRI, and the Hawks managed to come from behind in the final minutes to get the job done and secure the top seed of this week’s open state tournament.
Sebastian Thomas came through with 31 points, 22 coming in the second half including the game-winning 3-pointer with 50 seconds left. The rest of the Hawks played scrappy defense, solid situational basketball, and that is what it took to compete with NK, which also played a hell of a game.
These two have been on a collision course all season long and I fully expect them to cross paths in the state championship in two weeks. They have really separated themselves from the rest of the pack, and I don’t envision another early state exit for Hendricken this time around.
This is becoming one of the best rivalries in the state across all sports. Of course, each team has been toward the top for awhile, but over the past two or three years this rivalry has reached another level and is sure to carry on for another few years.
Both teams have found systems that work and have strong nuclei leading them. Both schools have the numbers and coaching to keep churning out winners, so don’t expect them to go away any time soon.
Hendricken-La Salle in football, now Hendricken-NK in basketball. It’s a great time to be a fan of the Hawks. This budding rivalry is one that looks poised to stay for years to come.
Speaking of rivalries, the Pilgrim hockey team is currently tied 1-1 with West Warwick in the Division III Final, which will be resolved this afternoon.
What I want to touch on here is the zamboni fiasco on Saturday night.
For those of you who have not heard, Game 2 of the series was postponed because the Boss Arena had issues with its zamboni before the game. Spectators were left hanging for about an hour waiting for the game to start, but it never did as the game was pushed to Sunday afternoon.
There was question as to whether or not the league would offer refunds or free admission to the newly-scheduled game. I was watching intently waiting to pounce if the league chose not to offer any sort of compensation.
I was happy to see that the league did, however, allow fans to redeem their tickets for free admission to the game or get a straight up refund if they could not attend.
Although it is a shame that it played out that way, I felt that the RIIL did a good job of handling the situation. Some people were still perturbed that it was rescheduled the following day when kids already had plans for work, or had conflicts with worship, etc., but I feel pretty strongly that the league did a good job.
Could the game have been postponed further to allow fans to make better arrangements? Sure, but how far out could you expect the series to be moved? The original Game 3 date was Monday, but now it was pushed to Tuesday. To keep pushing would not have been ideal either.
It was a lousy situation, for sure, and fans have every right to be frustrated. However, considering the circumstances, the RIIL should not be taking any additional heat.
Lastly, I applaud the Pilgrim girls basketball team and the run that it went on. The Lady Pats dropped a tough loss to Woonsocket in the Division III Semis on Thursday night at Ponaganset which ended their season.
Pilgrim had a rocky start to its season and struggled to break .500 until the later portion of its schedule.
However, the Pats turned it up a notch down the stretch, won their final four regular season games, then won back to back playoff games and had a chance to win a third last week.
Although Pilgrim was expected to be in this position heading into the year, and although the Pats did not surprise anyone with how far they advanced, they deserve a lot of credit for how hard they fought and how well they performed.
Division III had some quality teams toward the top this season and was a tick better than last year. Pilgrim was one of the top teams, but based on strictly talent, the Pats were probably closer to the middle of the pack.
This is a team that is built on defense and toughness. This isn’t a high-flying team, it doesn’t have a superstar, but it has a whole lot of toughness.
People see the wins and look at the success and tend to forget what this team is made of and its DNA. It’s easy to look at the standings and to say “Pilgrim is great,” but this team’s success goes far beyond the wins and losses.
Pilgrim is set to graduate a large senior core, so it will be interesting to see if and how it will look next winter. One thing is for sure, though … this senior group has been a blast to watch the last two seasons.