The Bishop Hendricken basketball team cruised to an 80-60 win over visiting Cranston East last week, maintaining its undefeated record this season.
Despite taking a 17-15 lead into the second quarter, the Bolts were not able to keep up with the Hendricken offense in the final three periods, as the Hawks would get five different double-digit scorers and outpace East.
“That’s what we do well, we can play quick. Cranston East did a good job of slowing us down in the first half and our defense picked up, we were able to get some things going in transition and play the game at the speed that we wanted to play. I thought overall our defense was solid, I liked the intensity and the enthusiasm of our guys. We could end up seeing Cranston East two more times,” said Hendricken coach Jamal Gomes after the win.
Bobby Fiorito led Hendricken with a game-high 22 points, while Angel Sanchez chipped in 17, Andre De Los Santos 12, Tyriek Weeks 11 and Sebastian Thomas 10.
“Our offense was in full gear today. Any time that you have (five players in double figures) that’s a good thing. If we can get that balance and tighten up our defense, we’re going to be really tough. Our focus recently has been coming together and playing 14 as one. Working together, trusting each other, when we do that we are a very tough team,” said Gomes.
Nelvin Blanco led the Bolts with 20 points scored, while Maguire added 12 points and Aireus Raspberry 11. The Hawks won the first meeting between the two clubs in the season opener back in December. Both games were competitive, and Gomes was pleased with his team’s ability to handle the number of scorers that the talented East roster boasts.
“They have a dangerous team. With guys like Raspberry, Blanco, Maguire, they’re a very dangerous team. You have to pick your poison, you try to take out their engine and steering wheel but then you have to account for their peripheral players. It’s tough because they have four guys that can put the ball in the basket in different ways,” said Gomes.
Both games were also physical, with each team getting chippy in the paint and engaging in frequent trash talk up and down the court. Gomes was happy with his team’s toughness, and feels that it will help prepare the Hawks for the postseason next month.
“In the tournament, it’s a one and done season. If you aren’t clicking on all cylinders then your season is over. Any time in the regular season that you can have a tough, hard-fought game, it prepares you down the line. The guys handled it well today, it got chippy, but we like playing chippy. We have some guys that aren’t going to back down,” said Gomes.
The Hawks will travel to North Kingstown to take on the also-undefeated Skippers on their home court. Gomes expects a much different game than the one on Friday.
“You have to adjust your style to who you are facing,” said Gomes. “The North Kingstown game is going to be a gritty, defensive game. That’s how they like to play and that’s how we like to play … it will be a good test for us.”