January 4, 2023 – Story and photos by Joshua Ross
It may have taken Hingham boys basketball coach Bob Kniffen I little longer than he would have liked this season, but he finally got his 200th career win on Tuesday night as his Harbormen beat an undefeated Plymouth South squad. Entering the season, he only needed three wins to accomplish this milestone and after a win in the season opener, we all expected he could get the 200th out of the way the first week.
Things haven’t gone precisely as planned for his team this year so far as they dropped three straight after their initial win. Last week they had a good win against Westwood in their annual winter tournament, but lost to Needham in the finals. So as the fourth week of the season kicked off Tuesday in front of many former players, who are still home from college on winter break, Hingham faced a seemingly tough challenge in the 4-0 Panthers.
The first half was lowest scored on both sides and Hingham took a 18-15 lead into the half. But the Harbormen settled in, found their rhythm and put up 27 in the third quarter, led by senior captain Liam McBride with 11 points and senior captain Nick Dubois with 3 three-pointers. They carried a 19 point lead into the fourth quarter and never looked back. As much as Hingham needed the big win early on in the season, it was nice to have Coach Kniffen celebrate this win at home.
What does the milestone mean to Kniffen?
“It means I’ve been here a long time,” he says jokingly. “It was awesome to see the guys from the past here. We had chance to get a lot them together over vacation for the alumni game. That’s the best part of it. This is a great group of kids and it was special.”
Kniffen, who’s booming voice you hear as the public address announcer for Harbormen football games, is pretty low key on the court and would much rather talk about the team’s win than his personal accomplishments.
“It was one we needed and needed now,” he quickly went on to say about the win. “We haven’t gotten off to the start we hope, or expected to, but it’s a long season and hopefully it starts tonight for us.”
When asked about the third quarter turn around, Kniffen gave all the credit to the players.
“That’s them 100%,” he went on to say. “That’s nothing on us. They started to play together. If you watch some of the best possessions, the ball didn’t hit the ground – pass, pass, pass, lay-up. That’s the type of basketball we need to play win the games. To beat the good teams. It was good to see glimmers of that tonight.”
While the offense took a half to get going, it was their defense that kept them in the game.
“That’s been an emphasis at practice – defense,” Kniffen went on to say. “Hopefully tonight’s a start in the right direction. We’ve given up 70 points in two games and that’s not going to win games against anybody that we play. So it’s good to see the guys dig in and take some pride in that when the spotlight was on them.”
The consensus after that game was relief that they finally put together a quarter that they’ve been working to accomplish all season.
“We were up by 20 by the end of the (third) quarter,” Dubois explains. “We really haven’t done that in a Patriot League game this year so it was really nice to get it done. McBride hit a could of shots. (Chase) Mello hit a couple of shots. It was nice to go on a streak and play together.”
The boys will look to build on this win on Friday down in Whitman-Hanson as they face a tough Panthers team.