Tournament Preview: Boys Basketball at Hingham

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Walpole’s center scores over a Wellesley defender.

Peter Hoegler

Walpole guard plays defense against Newton North.
Walpole guard plays defense against Newton North.

 

Boys Basketball has drawn Hingham in the first round of the MIAA Division 2 State Tournament. After winning the Walpole Hoop Classic for the first time in five years, the Rebels have solidified themselves as a solid contender in the tournament and have been awarded a nine seed. Their first round opponent, the Hingham Harbormen, have received an eight seed and a much-coveted home game in this year’s playoffs. The game will be played on Thursday, February 28 at 7:00 at Hingham High School.

This season, the Hingham Boys Basketball team won its first Patriot League Championship ever, finishing with a 14-7 and a remarkable 9-1 record at home. The Harbormen average nearly 62 points per game and give up only 51 points per game—which is first in the Patriot League and better than any team in the Bay State Conference.

Walpole and Hingham shared two opponents in the 2012-2013 campaign: Milton and Stoughton. Against Milton—one of the Rebels’ Herget foes—the Harbormen faired dreadfully, losing their first battle by a score of 45-41 and falling 60-48 in the third-to-last game of the season. Early on in the year, Boys Basketball was stunned at Milton, losing 62-53 after defeating Wellesley by 20 points only days before.  However, at WHS, the Rebels destroyed the Wildcats 63-46—which is a much better representation as Walpole played exceptionally better in the second half of the season. Both Walpole and Hingham defeated Stoughton this year.

The Harbormen are led by senior guard Pat Kelly whose outstanding season has been highlighted by multiple double-double performances and even a buzzer-beater shot to defeat North Quincy. But after going up against experienced, proficient guards night-in and night-out in the BSL, it seems as though senior Captain Johnny Adams and junior Ryan Fogarty will have no trouble containing Kelly on Thursday. “The Bay State League is very tough and has gotten us ready for the tournament this year,” said Adams. “Kelly will be hard to guard, but I think Fogarty and I can do it.”

Walpole is heading into the State Tournament with all the momentum in the world: winners of eight of nine and even a pre-tourney, Walpole Hoop Classic trophy. The Rebels expect to start the normal five of Adams, Fogarty, Arsenault, Young, and Quinlan. However, only one players—Adams —has ever played in a tournament game, so Hingham will have the upper-hand in experience.

In all retrospect, this has been an extraordinary season for Coach St. Martin’s basketball team. After failing to make the tournament and finishing with a 3-17 record last year, no one had any expectations for this squad. But after ending this 2012-2013 regular season with a 13-7 record, Walpole has gained not only recognition, but also respect from writers and teams throughout the state. A run in the State Tournament would only augment this remarkable turnaround.

The rest of the Division 2 State Tournament bracket can be found HERE.