“We just tried to preach one game at a time. We told them we can’t get to .500 until we win one game. We lost a heart-breaker, up two against Triton and they hit a three at the buzzer,” Shea said. “We had to go one game at a time and we needed to put a streak together. We got kids back healthy and the kids never stopped believing in themselves. That and a couple sloe one-point wins gave us confidence.”
Just like Masco, Hamilton-Wenham seemed to gain confidence from close wins over Pentucket (58-54) and Rockport (48-45). Once 1-5, the Generals are now 8-6 and need only one more win to qualify for the tournament.
“We’ve come a long way and we’ve still got a ways to go, but certainly we’re different from when we started the year with one experienced player,” Hoak said. “We had some growing pains early on and now the kids are gaining confidence and experience. With experience comes confidence and with winning comes confidence.”
Hoak knew what he could expect from sophomore James Foye when the season started, but didn’t know who else would step up. Seniors Nick Fusco and Ben Kozlowski have found their roles with the team and junior Henry Eagar has become another go-to offensive player for H-W.
Sophomores Shawn Kotch and Nikos Lara have helped to add to the team’s depth. Kotch is a center for the Generals, while Lara is a swingman.
Hoak knows these other players have to step up because Foye and Eagar have been drawing a lot of defensive attention.
“I wouldn’t be surprised (if Masco played that way) because other teams are trying to do that,” Hoak said. “But that’s one thing that’s helped other kids start to come along and we’re getting a little more versatility.”