Hoak, Hamilton-Wenham State Title-Bound After Burying St. Clement’s, 73-44

I hadn’t seen the unbeaten Hamilton-Wenham Generals since an early-season rout at Masconomet. But what I saw Friday night in the Division 4 North final at Tewksbury High was just what I expected of the now 23-0 locals: an easy triumph, 73-44, over the defending champion St. Clement’s Anchormen.

The first perfect season in H-W boys’ hoop history will be on the line — and from this observer’s perspective is all but guaranteed — when the Generals face 17-7 Cathedral, a 74-59 winner Friday night over Southeastern Regional, in the Eastern Mass. Division 4 final Monday at TD Garden at 4 p.m.

The Generals will have one more step to take if they win  Monday. They will face for the state championship Friday at 7:45 at WPI the winner of the Sutton-Hopkins game that pits the Central and West winners.

H-W coach Doug Hoak has an absolute monster on his hands; a nine-player-deep roster of solid players, led by the two Zegaraowski sophomore twins, guard Marcus (21) and forward Max (18). They never gave St. Clement’s, grossly overmatched, a chance last night. It was only respectable after one quarter, 17-8. But  by halftime, at 46-16, the blow-out was complete. The second half was routine.

It was like the varsity against the jayvees (or maybe the freshmen). H-W was a Division 4 team playing like a Division 2 team that could give next-door neighbor Danvers (24-0 heading into its Division 2 North final today at Lowell against 24-1 Arlington) a run for its money.

The second quarter said it all. The Generals made their first three shots, all three-pointers, made three more treys by the half and Hoak, recently inducted into the Massachusetts High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, is now on the verge of a state title in baskets. He’s already got one from his years guiding the H-W diamond dandies. That would be a first, I believe, in the modern era of North Shore coaching.

So it will come down to Monday’s 4 p.m. showdown; I believe H-W’s second  foray ever into the Garden (new or old version). The first came in 1971.

And, I will be shocked if the Generals, unquestionably one of the best squads in Massachusetts Division 4 history, doesn’t win by at least 15 points.

It couldn’t happen to a nicer — or more qualified — coach/gentleman than Doug Hoak.

Sadly, it may be the next to last game for the Zegarowski twins in H-W uniforms. Rumors are rampant that they will be heading off to private school for their final two years of high school in hopes of securing college basketball scholarships. Marcus is dead-on for a scholarship. Max needs some work but has the tools to be a scholarship player as well.

On an aside, if Danvers cooperates today and beats Arlington, next-door neighbors will be battling for bigger rewards in the Garden, H-W Monday, Danvers Tuesday at 7:30. Maybe the two communities could hold a joint celebration if their teams win out.





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