WARWICK — Tolman head coach Mike Kayata didn’t mince words when asked about how Bishop Hendricken transformed a one-point halftime lead into a 63-42 final Saturday night. Simply put the Hawks were cooking with gas while the Tigers, who with the loss were eliminated from the open state tournament, were just trying to stay afloat.
“They exploited us,” Kayata deadpanned.
How was Hendricken able to get some separation between itself and Tolman? For starters, the Tigers went scoreless in opening four minutes of the second half, the doldrums extending to just two field goals in the first 13:20. By the time Tigers senior Justin Zetina went to the bench after picking up his fourth foul at the nine-minute mark, the Hawks were ahead by a dozen.
Kayata noted that Hendricken’s defense was determined to limit leading-scorer Juan Velez, who finished with 11 points – roughly nine points below his season average – on three 3-pointers.
“They put two guys on Velez and followed him everywhere he went,” said Kayata, also noting that Tolman didn’t help matters with a number of ill-advised turnovers.
In addition Hendricken’s inside-outside game got on a roll over the final 16 minutes. If center Nick Bourdeau (12 points) wasn’t going to work down low, then the Hawks were looking in the direction of Lee Messier, who knocked down three of his four 3-pointers following halftime on his way to registering a game-best 20 points.
“(Bourdeau) is the guy who killed us,” Kayata said.
Tolman started the game strong on its way to going up 19-12. A 15-7 lead enabled Hendricken to catch up and take a 27-26 lead into recess. Hendricken now faces Mt. Pleasant in the Round of 16, a game set for Wednesday at CCRI-Warwick.
Jonathan Percy paced Tolman with 14 points and eight rebounds. The Tigers were the 28th seed in the 30-team open state tournament after compiling a 9-9 record in Division II during the regular season. The Tigers closed the regular season with five wins in their final seven games after opening league play with a 4-7 mark.
TOLMAN (42): Mamour Samb 2 2-2 7, Justin Zetina 3 0-0 6, Juan Velez 4 0-0 11, Brandon Gagne 0 0-0 0, Seny Samb 1 0-0 2, Jonathan Percy 5 4-4 14, Napoleon Johnson 0 2-2 2. Totals: 15 8-9 42.
BISHOP HENDRICKEN (63): Thomas Stacom 1 0-0 3, Nick Bourdeau 5 2-4 12, Lee Messier 6 4-5 20, Kazre Cummings 2 2-2 6, Rilwan Ilumoka 0 0-0 0, Julian Mardenli 1 2-3 4, Corey Palumbo 1 0-0 3, Gerry Manning 3 3-3 9, Mike King 1 0-0 2, Ryan Hagerty 2 0-0 4. Totals: 22 13-17 63.
Halftime: BH 27-26.
Three-point field goals: T 4 (Juan Velez 3, Mamour Samb); BH 6 (Lee Messier 4, Thomas Stacom, Corey Palumbo).