HODGSON 65 - POLYTECH 53
NEWARK, DE -- Delaware high school hoop fans are well aware of Hodgson’s talented trio of four year starting guards. But the Silver Eagles are much more than that. Two players in particular, sophomore forward Bilal Nichols and junior Nicholas Richards, proved just that. The pair provided the second half spark needed for the third ranked Silver Eagles’ 65-53 win over number four Polytech Saturday afternoon.
Nichols and Richards took turns collecting crucial rebounds, blocks and tough buckets down low. The lanky 6-3 Richards finished with 11 points off the bench to go with 4 blocks. Nichols, 6-4, finished with 9. Senior guard Anthony Bowers (left) scored a game high 17 points and was named Crown Trophy Player of the Game.
“I think we help our team by rebounding, blocking shots and controlling the paint,” Nichols said. “Our guards, we have faith in them. We know they’re going to do their job. We just gotta make sure we do ours.”
“We have three of the top guards in the state,“ Hodgson coach Ed Sobocinkski said. “When our post players contribute like that we’re a real tough team to beat.”
Polytech seemed to relish in the visiting team role early on. Starting four guards, Hodgson employed a 2-3 zone to combat the size advantage of the Panthers. Eric Laster (scored 10 of his 17 points in first half) used his 6-6 frame for easy face up shots and rebounding opportunities, helping his team build a 24-14 lead.
Toward the end of the first half, the unsung combination of Nichols and Richards foreshadowed what was to come in the second. After an and one lay in, Richards’ block on the other end led to an easy deuce from Tyaire Hudson. Richards ensued to show surprising range with an uncontested three, pulling Hodgson within two at the half.
Hodgson came out of the locker room with a renewed effort on the defensive end. Their pressure defense forced Polytech into multiple turnovers. A three pointer from Bowers followed by a driving floater from Richards guided Hodgson to a 49-39 lead at the end of the third period they would not relinquish.
“This is probably the worst shooting performance we’ve had all year,” Sobocinkski said. “Yet we were still able to beat a very good team because of our defense and contributions we got from other players.”
Enough couldn’t be said about Bowers’ defensive efforts on Laster. Bowers is listed at 5-11. Laster only netted 7 points in the second half.
“Let me tell you what, Anthony is a very special player,” said Sobocinkski. “We played Chester High and the 33rd ranked player in the nation (Rondae Jefferson) who is a NBA-type guy, Anthony held him to two fields goals. He’s very physical and he’s not scared of anything.”
The feeling in the Hodgson locker room was a consistent effort on defense could equal cutting down the nets in March.
“It was a great win. We didn’t shoot as good as we wanted in the first half, but our defense is what kept us in it,” Nichols said. “We prepared for him (Laster). We knew that he was gonna get his. We tried doubling him. That worked in the second half. Ant did a great job on him.”
Senior guard Justin Braddy scored 17 points and junior Antonio DePina chipped in with 8 for Polytech.
MILESTONE FOR HODGSON GUARD
Tyaire Hudson is one-third of Hodgson’s trio of Anthony Bowers and Parris Ridgeway-Higgs. The group has experienced memorable moments and added another. Hudson’s lay-up at the 6:42 mark in the first quarter gave him his 1,000th career point.