It was business as usual for the men’s basketball team this past week, as they rounded out the regular season with two wins against Centennial Conference opponents Washington College and Haverford College.
These two wins were indicative of the Jays’ play over the last month, with solid three-point shooting carrying the team to victory. With wins in these past two matchups, the squad moved their regular season win streak to 11 games, the third longest total in program history.
In their matchup with the Washington College Shoremen, the action started off tight, with Hopkins taking an early 8-7 advantage within the first five minutes of the game. The opposition made it apparent that they would not go down easily in this pivotal late-season matchup.
As quickly as the Blue Jays hopped out to the slim lead, the Shoremen came back with a 7-0 run to put them up by six after seven minutes had gone by. The Blue Jays knew that they would have to display the resilience and toughness that they showed all season. Freshman guard Conner Delaney elaborated on what the team is doing well.
“The best qualities about our team have been our togetherness, toughness and our hard work,” Delaney said.
Thanks to these traits and a barrage of three-pointers, the Jays were able to grab a 47-34 lead by the half. Junior guard Michael Gardner and senior forward Kyle Doran helped them take this advantage with 11 and 12-point halves, respectively.
The Jays did not look back after the half. By the midway point of the half, they were leading by 20 after an eight-point run that was kick-started by a drained three by junior guard Noah Ralby, one of the Jays’ 15 three-point buckets on the night.
With less than two minutes left, the Jays put the final nail in the coffin by way of another three from junior forward Kabir Suri, pushing their lead to a game-high 24 points. With this wide of a margin, a comeback for Washington was insurmountable, and the Jays closed with a final score of 81-63.
Delaney, who finished with 10 points and recorded his 100th assist of the season, points to the team’s constant hard work as the reason for this win.
“In practice, we push each other to get better every day, and that has gotten us to where we are today,” Delaney said.
In the regular season finale against Haverford, it seemed as though the Jays made it a point to come out strong, jumping out to an early 17-0 lead in the first four minutes. They built this lead by way of three-pointers (naturally), hitting five of them during the early run.
Four of these threes were hit by freshman guard Joey Kern, who broke the program record for three-pointers by a freshman, formerly held by Luke Busby at 51. It took the Fords nearly four minutes to make their way onto the scoreboard due to the Jays’ stifling defense.
While Haverford attempted to mount a comeback at multiple times throughout the game, the Jays were able to keep them at bay with a frequent number of runs to increase the margin.
In the first half, after Haverford was able to make it an 11-point game, the Jays broke off a 7-0 run spearheaded by junior forward Daniel Vila and Ralby, increasing their lead to 18 at the midway point of the first half.
The Hopkins offense then took charge the rest of the game, led by Kern’s 15 points on five-of-eight shooting. They kept Haverford down and won the matchup by a score of 70-52. This win gave the Jays a share of the Centennial regular season title, their first since the 2014-2015 season. The team plans to ride the momentum of their recent success into a strong showing in the postseason.
“We’re going to continue to keep doing what we’ve been doing all season,” Delaney said.
The Jays hope to continue this trend against No. 3 seed Franklin & Marshall this Friday at Swarthmore.