WARWICK - Super Tuesday was anything but for the Coventry boys basketball team, courtesy of the top overall seed in the Division I tournament. Behind a game-high 24 points from Sebastian Townes, coupled with 16 from Angel Sanchez, the No. 1 Bishop Hendricken Hawks (17-1) handed the No. 9 Oakers (7-11) a season-ending defeat by a resounding 64-37 final.
“I’m proud of the guys. They worked hard,” Coventry head coach Jim Moretti said, despite the disappointing outcome.
In a bizarre sequence of events, the venue of the game was moved across the hallway from the original location of Pepin Gym to McNally after a member of the Hawks inadvertently shattered the backboard during warmups, resulting in a delay that lasted close to 45 minutes.
It proved to be nothing more than a minor inconvenience for Hendricken, as they managed to win running away, outscoring Coventry, 28-11 in the second half, following a competitive first half that saw the two sides separated by just 10 points at the break.
“Their experience in the second half, their defense wore us down and we just couldn’t execute,” Moretti said. “You’re not going to win with 11 points in the second half.”
Coventry, having entered the night on the heels of a 55-52 upset over Classical in the preliminary round, is now done with play for the 2019/20 season, as they will begin to turn their focus to next year in the days and weeks to come.
Hendricken advances to the semifinals where they will take on No. 5 East Providence after the Townies posted an overtime upset against La Salle in their own quarterfinal.
The game got off to a close start, with the underdog Oakers doing all they could to get under the skin of their heavily favored counterparts, at times exchanging not so subtle pleasantries with those in green and white.
“I’m proud of the guys. They fought hard in the first half,” their coach said.
Coventry led 11-10 before falling behind 23-11 only to cut the gap back down to 10 at 36-26.
“They made a run in the first half, got it up to 16, we got it (down) to 10, so we were still in the ballgame, but hey, Hendricken’s number one for a reason,” said Moretti.
The Hawks defense dominated play after the break, while their offense maintain its consistency, steadily increasing their lead over the course of play to the point where a Coventry comeback was no longer viable.
All of Coventry’s players were held to single digit point totals, with Aaron Smith leading the way with nine, while Nick Fuentes had six and Jeff Rosa, five.
The overall depth of the Hawks was simply too much to overcome, which Moretti touched on after the game.
“More options and you know, they’re athletic and we struggled to get good shots off in the second half, but the first half, I thought we executed pretty well,” he said.
Follow Nick Cantor on Twitter @cantornick