Hoak, H-W Boys Crush Cathedral, 64-35; Advance to MIAA Division 4 Title Game Friday at WPI

The magic a timeout can create.

The undefeated Hamilton-Wenham Regionals boys basketball team put its 23-0 record on the line in the Eastern Mass. final Monday afternoon in TD Garden against a quick and athletic Cathedral team, and after 10 minutes it looked like the Cape Ann League champion Generals had met their match.

Cathedral owned a 16-9 lead 2:15 into the second quarter when Coach Doug Hoak called timeout.

“I told the kids to settle in, relax,” Hoak, the Massachusetts Hall of Fame baseball coach-turned hoops wizard, explained later. “We were missing shots we usually make and I said we’d start making those shots. I also said it was time to switch from man to our 2-3 zone defense; make it tougher for them to get open outside shots off.”

The timeout and its accompanying strategy worked wonders. The Generals outscored Cathedral 13-2 the rest of the quarter, keyed by three-pointers in the last half minute by Nick DiMarino and Max Zegarowski, took a 22-18 lead into intermission, then ran roughshod on their opponents.

The start of the third quarter was simply more of the same, so that after five-plus minutes H-W had bolted to a 30-5 spurt for a 39-21 lead. In the process the Generals held Cathedral (17-8) scoreless for more than eight minutes. In fact, Cathedral was limited to  nine points combined in the middle periods.

Max Zegarowski’s fraternal twin brother Marcus, as usual, sparked the Generals’ offense with 25 points, followed by Nolan Wilson’s 11 (and superb overall inside game at both ends).

An unforgettable season comes to a conclusion Friday night at WPI at 7:45 when H-W shoots for a 25-0 campaign in the state title game against the¬†winner of tonight’s matchup between Central Mass. rep Sutton and western Mass. standard bearer Hopkins, also at 7:45 at WPI.

What a finish it would be Friday if the Hall of Fame baseball coach could pitch a perfect basketball season (25-0). They are almost there.



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