January 30, 2023 – Story and photos by Joshua Ross
In Hingham’s second game of the season, senior captain Liam McBride missed a game ending 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have won the game versus Brockton. A month and half later, McBride and the Harbormen got another chance at what’s becoming a very good non-conference rivalry on Sunday afternoon at home. For the second year in a row, the two teams have faced each other twice and each game has been a competitive, hard fought nail biter that seems to come down to the last shot. Yesterday’s game was no different.
Hingham came out firing with two quick three’s from McBride and junior Chase Mello. The lead got to as high as seven points in the first quarter, but in what would be a precursor later events, Brockton settled down and closed the gap to three at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter was a competitive back and forth contest that saw each team score 12 points.
The Harbormen, specifically McBride, opened the third quarter making shots from all over floor and didn’t slow down all quarter. McBride ended up with 16 of Hingham’s 21 third quarter points extending Hingham’s lead to as much as 15. The Boxer’s started to lock it down on defense late in the quarter and started the fourth down by 11. The suffocating Brockton defense gave Hingham trouble in the last frame. Turnovers and challenged shots led to quick and easy buckets and before you knew it, the Hingham lead was cut to two. When it was all said and down, ball movement and offensive adjustments worked enough for the Harbormen to hold as the game ended as it started, with timely 3-pointers from Mello and McBride, who ended that game with six 3-pointers and a career high 35 points in the 56-54 win. Mello had 17 points and senior Connor McCann, Hingham’s only other scorer, added four points.
“Tonight we found the hot hand in the third quarter,” said coach Bob Kniffen after the game. “Liam’s obviously a prolific scorer and he’s shown that over the course of his career. Looking back, it’s been a good week for us. It’s been different guys on different nights. Liam’s obviously consistent in there, but for us to be competitive, we need more than just three scorers. But we got it done tonight and I’m proud of how the guys played.”
Having a hot shooter almost didn’t overcome the outstanding defense Brockton put on late in the game.
“We knew they were going to bring that and it’s hard to replicate that in practice,” Kniffen responding to their defense. “Having the opportunity to play these guys twice in the course of a season I think makes us better in the end. The idea is that we are going to compete and hopefully put us in a position to prepare for the tournament. That’s four games in two seasons and every single game has been one position games. Unfortunately we were on the losing end of the first three but that’s a huge win for our team and our program tonight.”
While McBride lit up the score sheet, he credits everyone on the floor with the win.
“I thought our ball movement was really well against their 2-3 (defense),” he said after the game. “All five players on the court at all times contributed to this win, not only on the offensive end, but the defensive end as well. They like to speed us up, but we had to try and play at our own pace, which I thought we did a good job doing. At times they did speed us up, but when we slowed back down we were getting good looks.”
The Harbormen have extended their winning streak to three games and have almost played themselves back into the tournament with a 7-8 record. This win against a strong opponent will improve their rankings, but a winning record will secure them a spot in the post season. But Coach Kniffen is only focused on the next game.
“I honestly couldn’t tell you and I’m not sure any of these guys could as well,” when asked about the team’s record. “We’re taking it one game at a time. That’s the position we are in. We are worried about Plymouth North on Tuesday and preparing to practice tomorrow. That’s been our M.O. and continue to be the rest of the season.”