Coming off last year's strong finish in both the division and state playoffs with a relatively young team, this year's edition of the Hawks has every reason to expect to be in contention down the road. With returning juniors and sophomores such as Matt Duffie, Ira Lough, and Kyle Henseler returning from last year's squad and joined by the likes of junior transfer big man Andrew Ciacciarelli and talented freshman Justin Mazzulla, Coach Gomes most likely finds himself and his team in one of those 'tweener' years - a team with the chance to be very good, but how far they go will depend on how hard they're willing to work and how much they learn from their game-by-game learning experiences.
Having seniors such as Garfield Coustard, Will Parmlee,and Chris O'Brien to help lead the way doesn't hurt any, either.
Last night, in a game once again broadcast live right here on The Network, the Hawks continued the early-season signs of promising success with a 60-41 win over the Smithfield Sentinels. After starting somewhat slowly during the game's opening minutes, the Hawks effectively took control of the game about halfway through the first half and never looked back.
Viewers can still watch the entire game here on the site, as the first half is available in the central UStream viewer at the top of the page, and all of the second half action can be accessed by scrolling down and clicking on our UStream link at the bottom.
The Hawks were largely led by the play of Matt Duffie (17 points), and other high scorers were Garfield Coustard (11) and EJ Nygren (10), who hit two big back-to-back three-pointers to open the Hawks' lead to 48-34 early in the second half. As usual, though, it was the quiet, efficient work of Duffie that continued to play an integral role in the success of the Hawks' overall game. Several of Matt's highlights can be seen here:
One of the take-aways from the loss in the second game of the BABC over the weekend was that the Hawks gave up too many offensive rebounds to Windsor, most likely a combination of a lack of agressiveness and not having junior big man Andrew Ciacciarelli available. Last night, however, Ira Lough - one of the bigger guys on the court - made his presence felt inside on the boards all night as well as showing that he can be quick in transition:
Along with an improved performance both at the free-throw stripe (75%) and on the glass, in addition to the other outstanding performances of Coustard and Nygren, it was a fairly well-balanced Hawks' attack.
Up next for the Hawks is a trip to Academy Avenue, this Friday night at 7pm.
We all know what that means.
The Network will be there, broadcasting live.
Let's travel well, support our guys, and help them get continue to come out of the early-season gate fast.