To a man, if any of the Hawks' basketball coaches had been asked back in late November what they thought of this year's team, they undoubtedly may have shrugged their shoulders.
Was there talent?
How about experience?
That may have been another matter.
Consequently, the team's 9-9 regular season record may have seemed about right, as the record may have been a testament to growing pains.
Much of that, however, changed as the Hawks moved into the latter part of their schedule and then into the playoffs. Of the team's final four losses, three of them - a regular-season home thriller to LaSalle, Classical in the Division 1 semi-finals, and Hope (the Division 1 champion) in the state quarterfinals - were by one point each. The other was a five-point loss to a tough Coventry team in their gym.
There's no question that as the season entered its last weeks, this year's edition of the Hawks emerged and found its identity as a tough, lock-down defensive team that found ways to make the baskets when they needed them most. Their will to win and their heart was what we come to expect of all our guys, in all our sports.
Seniors Ryan Hagerty, Will Tavares, and Kazre Cummings carried the young Hawks all season and left everything on the floor in yesterday's disappointing 48-47 loss to Hope. Trailing by as many as nine points with about four minutes to go, the Hawks fought back and actually took the lead with just under a minute left. In the end, however, they fell just short, As Kazre's 3-point attempt with about three seconds left rimmed out, and Hags's turnaround at the buzzer came a split second too late, despite the fact that it was good.
Nothing to cry about there. Losing hurts, but our guys more than acquitted themselves.
The young Hawks hit their stride late into the season, and with players like Matt Duffie, Jason Rosario, and Ira Lough here for two more entire seasons, the future for Coach Gomes's squad looks bright indeed.