By ALEX SPONSELLER The Bishop Hendricken boys basketball team is set to make another run at a title this season, and is ready to finish the job for last year's seniors that could not see the season through due to the coronavirus. After being shocked by
By ALEX SPONSELLER The Bishop Hendricken boys basketball team is set to make another run at a title this season, and is ready to finish the job for last year’s seniors that could not see the season through due to the coronavirus.
After being shocked by Cumberland in the opening round of the state tournament the season prior, last year’s Hawks team was also determined to reverse its fortunes and was on track to do just that, winning the Division I crown then advancing to the Elite Eight. However, their run was cut short, which leads us to this year’s group.
“We were definitely happy to win all that we could win but we wanted to do more for our seniors. This year, our goal is to honor those guys and to play for them. We had a meeting last year and we made a promise to bust our butts for them and win them a championship,” said senior Cam Hughes.
“We were grateful that we got a season in at all last year, but we were disappointed. We were getting ready for the Elite Eight of the state tournament but things got shut down. We were preparing for Cranston West, and right before practice I got the phone call and had to tell them. We told our seniors that if we have a season next year, we would be playing for you guys. This group knows the promise we made to those guys,” added Hendricken coach Jamal Gomes.
Not only did the team lose last year’s seniors to graduation, but it also lost guard Sebastian Thomas who transferred to prep school. Thomas was set to be the team’s top option, but now it will have to look elsewhere to replace the production.
With a handful of senior returners as well as a talented group of underclassmen, the Hawks are confident in their roster and the older players have embraced the challenge of leading the way.
“We have really emphasized being leaders and teaching these young guys how it goes here. Showing them the Hendricken way and how to get things done. We had roster turnover, but we’re not focused on that,” said senior Jason Onye, who feels that the team will also be prepared to face the unusual circumstances. “We can only control what we can control, how fast we run, defense, most people can’t match us when playing in these conditions, so we actually think it plays in our favor.”
Junior David Lynch is also excited to get the ball rolling with the new-look club.
“We have a good core and we have some returning young players that really want to play basketball. They have been playing very well for us the past couple years so we are excited to have that camaraderie,” said Lynch.
Although the Hawks are itching to hit the court and prove themselves once again, Gomes has made sure to keep his players in the correct mindset as it heads into what will be another season of uncertainty.
“Nothing is a given, but everyday is an opportunity. They understand it, they get it, we have a good group of boys with a lot of new faces this year. They understand the culture and what we have been doing. We’ve got talent, but they all know that you need a lot more than talent to be successful. We’ll see how it goes,” said Gomes.
For now, the team is going to zero in on the basics and roll with the punches once things tip off in the coming weeks.
“It’s going to be about staying healthy and the guys keeping their focus tight. Considering the schedule, we’re going to have to accelerate things since we won’t have the normal timeframe,” said Gomes. “What we normally teach in a month is going to be squeezed into a week, so we’ll have to choose the things that are most important and focus on those. Defense, fast break, pressing and offensive execution.”