Block Island boys fight the good fight

Thu, 02/18/2021 - 5:30pm

A vacation-depleted Hurricanes varsity boys basketball team traveled off-island again Saturday, Feb. 13, in yet again, bitter 8:00 a.m. frigid temps and matched up against the Rocky Hill Prep School Mariners in a barn-burner of a game that came down to the last few seconds.

The Hurricanes led almost the entire game before foul troubles seated center John Hopf in the final 6 minutes allowing the Mariners to creep back into the hard fought, physical contest.

Rocky Hill used their girth, size, and deep bench to muscle out a come-from-behind victory, winning by just three points - 48 to 45. The last two minutes offered end-to-end action and above-the-rim defense, with many shots on both ends contested and the refs sitting back and letting both teams play-on in exciting fashion.

The Hurricanes were difficult to match up with four players scoring the ball selflessly throughout the game. All scored in double digits, keeping the Mariners unsure of who to pressure on any given possession. Danny Cullen slashed into the collapsing Rocky Hill zone all afternoon, often getting plastered to the floor while netting yet another, double-double with rebounds and scoring.

If “downtown” Auggie Lambert wasn’t repeatedly shooting daggers from three point territory, Justin Cullen was working the lane, repeatedly scoring cagey left-handed buckets and put backs against the bigger, physical Mariner’s, while senior Seamus Hemingway distributed the ball evenly and even drew up strategy during time-outs, building on his experience.

Despite a considerable size difference, fleet-footed and defensive specialist Caleb Butcher replaced the fouled out Hopf and repeatedly stole the ball from the bigger Mariners, leading to fast breaks. Freshman Wyatt Hall also came off the bench to provide valuable minutes while fighting for tough rebounds against the much taller and physical Rocky Hill front line.

The ever gregarious Hopf, despite early foul troubles, scored on a number of acrobatic shots throughout the first half that left Rocky Hill fans, in attendance on senior night, shaking their heads in bewilderment.

The Hurricanes had a scheduled break over the past week before returning to potential home games against annual national prep powerhouse, St. Andrews, and a rematch with Rocky Hill.