Senior Day for Block Island Hurricanes
High School basketball “senior day” was missing the usual loud, Block Island house-crowd that the Hurricanes have come to relish, but it did not effect their “game” one iota in the island’s re-match with prep power Rocky Hill School, winning by nearly 20 points.
Captured live on TV for the entire island to watch (much thanks to Athletic Director Rob Closter), this tight-knit team led from the opening tap to deliver a knock-out performance of thrilling acrobatic drives, clutch three-point daggers, and a tight, relentless, zone-defense that kept the Rocky Hill Mariners confused and frustrated the entire game.
With valuable senior contributor Cole McGinnes having to sit out, fellow seniors Seamus Hemingway and Dan Cullen orchestrated a Cirque du Soleil-like highlight reel of passing, scoring and intimidating defense that had their parents grinning and whooping it up all four quarters as the Hurricanes neared 70 points for the game.
Danny Cullen led all scorers in as dominating a performance as you’ll see with 25 points and endless rim-high rebounds. On a rare miss, freshman brother Justin repeatedly fought off the much beefier Mariners for rebounds and put-backs in a gutsy 14-point effort that just hinted at his future potential.
Sophomore point guard Carter Brown, ever the cagey, unflappable director of the team, took advantage of every Mariner defensive lapse, oh-so-quietly scoring 16 and assisting on many more.
John Hopf, Auggie Lambert, and Wyatt Hall also contributed valuable minutes on both ends of the court with Hopf using his physicality to grab several critical rebounds.
But the highlight of the day was halftime, when former Block Island scoring machine and first year coach, Richie Conant, organized a seniors-only moment at half-court to recognize the players, and their parents, for their commitment to the school. Rocky Hill, ever the good sportsmen, joined in along with their boisterous girls team in loudly congratulating the seniors.
While lacking the usual packed gym, the moment provided a terrific Block Island snapshot of camaraderie and genuineness that is unique to this group of kids and island, their many Hurricane contributions book-ended by a Covid-plagued 12 months of uncertainty.