The Hornets made a convincing go at an upset bid in the first half of a Division I high school boys’ basketball playdown against Rice Memorial last Tuesday. But after ending the half tied at 16, the third-seeded Green Knights (17-4) used a strong third quarter to pull away from No. 14 Essex on their way to a 54-38 win.
Senior captain Eniz Camdzic led the Hornets (7-14) with 14 points, while senior Bradley Snow tossed in 11.
“The (playdown) is a good indication of what we’re capable of. We held one of the best teams in the state to 16-16 in the first half,” reflected Essex head coach Jeff Goodrich. “We caved under pressure in the second half, but we showed grit and played with heart and passion, which is indicative of how the season went overall.
“We didn’t win as many games we would’ve liked, but we were competitive almost every night,” he added. “We play a tough schedule and competition is pretty fierce right now, so there were bound to be challenges. But we did not back down to them and I’m proud of that, I’m proud of how we played. We had a great run.”
The team will loose five seniors to graduation this spring: Camdzic, Snow, Joseph Aiken (captain), Mason Yandow and Jeffrey Kent (captain), as well as four-year manger Jared Vaughan.
“We had outstanding senior leadership,” Goodrich noted. “Our three captains provided us with strong guidance and got our team to work extraordinarily hard this season. They are great young men, a lot of fun to be around and a lot of fun to work with.”
Goodrich said he is “feeling optimistic about the future” of the team given the prospects coming up and that the Hornets will work hard to get better for next season.