The Bishop Hendricken Hawks went to Classical High School on Friday night and edged the Purple 62-60 during a thrilling Division I Boys Basketball slugfest.
The score was close all night, with the largest gap coming midway through the second half where the Hawks held a brief 8-point advantage over the Purple.
“That was everything we expected going into the game,” Hendricken head coach Jamal Gomes said. “Every game Classical has played at home, they’ve played tough. They’ve played North Kingstown to a 2-point game and Mount Pleasant to a 3-or-4 point game, so we knew coming in here, it was going to be a battle. So, we were not surprised.”
Sebastian Thomas, a junior, led the Hawks with 21 points, while Helio Sousa, a senior, chipped in 18, and David Lynch, a sophomore, 11.
Junior Stanley Urey topped the Purple with 20 points and Marquis Buchanan, a sophomore, finished with 13.
The first half of the contest featured seven lead changes before Hendricken brought a 24-23 lead into halftime.
Four minutes into the second frame, Hendricken expanded its buffer to 37-29 after Thomas made four free throws, and then Sousa, a 3-ball, and Cam Hughes, a layup.
However, with 5:52 remaining, Classical would even the score at 46.
After that, the Hawks drew some separation when Thomas scored eight points on two treys, and two free throws, which earned the Hawks a 54-48 margin with 3:26 left.
Next, Classical’s Anthony Mendez buried a 3-pointer, and then Hendricken’s Thomas answered with another 3-ball of his own, and that had the Hawks grasping a 57-51 lead with 2:52 remaining.
Twenty-three seconds later, Lynch knocked down a trey for Hendricken and expanded the Hawks cushion to 60-53.
With a minute left, Classical’s Andrew Reyes responded with a trey, and five seconds later, Khalil Screen hit a free throw and pulled the Purple within three.
Then, with 15 seconds remaining, Classical’s Screen made a baseline layup and pulled the Purple within one, at 60-59.
Next, Classical intentionally fouled Sousa following an inbound pass, and the point guard made one of two shots from the charity stripe and that upped the Hawks edge to two.
With four seconds left, Hendricken’s Angel Sanchez fouled Classical’s Shadrach Walker during a jump shot attempt. There, Walker made one of the two free throws and inched Classical within 61-60, but that’s as close as the Purple would get.
Down the other end of the court, Hendricken’s Lynch was fouled after grabbing an offensive rebound, and he secured the win for the Hawks with a free throw, giving the Hawks the 62-60 victory.
“Classical’s a good team,” Gomes said. “They’ve very athletic. When they play together and make shots, they’re really tough. And that’s what they did tonight. And not only that, but they played pretty well on defense.”
“But I’m proud of our guys, because sometimes when you come on the road in a hostile environment - an exciting environment, you’ve got to find a way to win,” Gomes concluded. “And you only have to win by one point. That’s it. And we did that. It wasn’t our best game, but we survived. And that is a skill that might have to happen when it comes playoff time. We’re not going to come in and blow everybody out of the water. You’ve got to win by one point, and sometimes in the most hostile of environments. So, I’m proud of our guys for sticking it out, and battling, and fighting until the end. Even though it wasn’t one of our stronger games.”
Hendricken improves to 14-1 in D-I with the win, while Classical drops to 5-8.
The Hawks host Cumberland (6-9) next on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.