— Jack Andrade (@RealJackAndrade) March 23, 2014
It never gets old.
As any successful coach will always say, each team has its own distinct personality. One team's sins of one season should never be passed on to its successor, and the same goes for its successes. Here at Bishop Hendricken, we have have learned those lessons well, in that our coaches and athletes have a pretty good track record of never taking success for granted and approaching each new season as just that - a blank slate, on which the story has yet to be written.
The story for this basketball season began with cautious high hopes, but truth be told, Coach Gomes probably didn't know what to expect. Yes, his young team of the year before had begun to jell toward the end of the season and make a nice playoff run, but they were far from a complete picture. With another year of experience and players who were willing to improve with each game, those cautious high hopes were the starting point back on December 1st.
To be sure, there were bumps along the way, bumps that all teams encounter along the road of a long season. Perhaps the biggest bump - one that truly tested the mettle of which these kids were made - was the shellacking that they took at the hands of our archrival, LaSalle, in the semi-final game of the Division I tournament. There was no doubt - it was time for them to look in the mirror and decide both who they were and who they were going to be.
This morning we know - our guys are the champions of the Rhode Island basketball world.
Coach Gomes reacted to the win in the locker room after the game:
After surviving a scare from the tough, determined East Greenwich Avengers in the opening round at CCRI, the Hawks took their play to another whole level and carved a path straight to the title. While there were contributions from seemingly every player, it's hard to argue that it was seniors Garfield Coustard and Will Parmlee who put the team on their back and refused to fall short of anything but the final goal. Garfield, was, in fact, named Hendricken's Player of the Game. He was straight to the point during the celebration:
Some of their highlights can be seen here: Will's dunk that got things going for the Hawks in the first half...
...and Garfield and Justin Mazzulla working the lane.
In addition to getting the interviews after the game, The Network's Max Zweiner was high above courtside taking care of highlight action. All those highlights can be seen HERE.
In fact, although The Network was unable to carry the game live, we were there in force...Cam Brennan and Stone Freeman did the pre-game and halftime gig live in the Ryan Center.
The halftime show can be seen at the top of the page, and the entire pre-game show can be seen here:
Video streaming by Ustream
The Providence Journal's slideshow from the game can be seen HERE.
Over the course of the second and third games of the tournament - the quarterfinal win over Mount Hope and the semi-final win over LaSalle - the Hawks showed that while they are a defensive-minded team first and foremost, their offensive capabilities should never be underestimated. After struggling to score points against East Greenwich, it was apparent that Coach Gomes and his staff saw the need to step up the offensive game. Last night, however, our guys went back to their foundation - stifling defense. Over the course of 11 minutes of the 32-minute contest, Central was held scoreless - a six-minute span early in the first half and a five-minute span early in the second. With only 21 remaining minutes of play to generate some scoring, then, it's no surprise that the Knights only tallied 35 points for the game.
Despite the Hawks' engaging the defensive clamps once again, they still had their moments of free-flowing offense. Case in point is EJ Nygren, who completed his fantastic senior senior season by continuing to rain threes from far and away:
And, finally, the venerable Mr. Yeamen, long a mainstay on the Hawks' bench, offered these words of wisdom on yet another banner being raised to the rafters:
So ends the winter sports season, folks. All our teams did us proud. The indoor track, hockey, and swimming teams were right there to the very end but fell just short, so there's certainly no reason for anyone to hang his head....just a reason to pick up and to move forward. The wrestling and basketball teams both put two more banners on the Pepin Gym walls, and it's a good bet that the spring sports season will produce a couple more as well.
Onto the spring...and The Network will be there. Count on it.