By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
Early Friday evening, FP SPORTS closed the Fall 2 season out with a great 🏀 game, between two of the best players Western Mass. has seen in awhile: Tre Hodge and Colby Duggan.
There were a handful of great 🏈 games on Friday but 🏀 is like “food and beverage” for FP SPORTS 🎰, per se.
The night started with a thoughtful presentation by Sabis and HC Pat Ochoa to the three Sabis Seniors: Tre Hodge, Jared Denson and Alex Williams.
Ochoa encapsulated his time with three players that have definitely impacted him as a coach and Sabis as a school. They have won 2 Western Mass. Championships but their bond is deeper. They all have fun being together. They didn’t take the Fall 2 season for granted. Sabis’ Board of Directors decided the Bulldogs couldn’t play in the shortened regular season. Hodge called that decision “heart-breaking”. The Fall 2 season gave the Bulldogs a chance to play.
That’s all most people from Western Mass. want: a legitimate chance to achieve greatness.
This was the second matchup between AAU teammates Colby Duggan and Tre Hodge. It was also the last matchup between the two: Hodge is a Senior; Duggan is reclassifying and attending the Phillips Academy in Andover, MA.
When the game started, Monson came out firing 💥. They got an early lead on Sabis. Duggan was aggressive early and got shots for himself and his teammates. Sabis got into game by working their offense and playing team 🏀.
Monson led after one quarter 12-10.
In the second quarter, Sabis’ offense came on stronger. Jared Denson was active on the offensive end, along with Hodge and Williams. Monson hit a dry spell in the second. They weren’t getting easy shots and the shots they took weren’t falling.
The first half ended 30-21.
For the third straight game, Sabis blew by their opponent in the 3rd quarter. They applied their full-court press and Monson didn’t have an answer.
Monson had trouble getting the 🏀 over half-court. When they did, a Sabis defender, or two, was there to continue the pressure.
Duggan ended his Monson career with a dunk and another 30+ point game. He was the only player to score for Monson in the third quarter.
Hodge’s last bucket was a layup after he shook up another defender 🌬.
Sabis and the Seniors ended their season successfully 79-51.
After the game ended, the families of Hodge, Williams and Denson celebrated on the court and took some photos to memorialize the moment.
For the 3rd straight game, representatives from Springfield College were at the game to watch Hodge. On Friday, one person from Western New England University was at the game also. I assume he was there to watch Hodge also.
Each school needs to sacrifice whatever money necessary to keep a player like Hodge in Springfield. He is a leader on and off the court. He will help the program he joins.
Scorers for Sabis:
Tre Hodge - 20 points
Jay’Len Lovejoy - 10 points
Rob Scoville & Alex Williams - 9 points each
Matt Considine - 7 points each
Jared Denson & Jacon Mueller - 6 points each
Jacon Evans - 5 points
Josh Colon - 3 points
Kenny Rogers & London Denson - 2 points each
Scorers for Monson:
Colby Duggan - 34 points
Danny Fiester - 9 points
Richard Ingrassia - 4 points
Luke Hedspeth & Colin Beaupre - 2 points each
After the game I spoke with Monson HC Dennis Vacon, Sabis HC Pat Ochoa and Sabis Senior Alex Williams.
🔵Monson HC Dennis Vacon⚪️
What did you think of the Fall 2 🏀 season?
“It was an interesting one. Definitely some things you would never encounter and hopefully never encounter again, ‘knock on wood’. We competed all year and thats all you can ask for at the end of the day”.
Are you coming back next season?
“That’s a good question. That is something that needs to be decided - soon. Hopefully, I’m back but if not I wish [them] all the best”.
🔴Sabis HC Pat Ochoa and Sabis Senior Alex Williams⚪️
Alex, how has your time in the 🏀 program been?
“Its been fantastic. You have to really work for everything you get and I think all three of us really did. The results prove it. We won 2 Western Mass Championships; went to the State Semis twice. Its been really great all the support from the coaches, my teammates, we have each other’s back. Day in and day out, every practice, every game, we go hard. We win, we lose but we are still together at the end day”.
Pat, this is the last time you get to see Alex play and coach him from the sidelines. How do you feel right now?
“It’s bittersweet man, it’s really bittersweet. You are happy for him ‘cause he has had a hell of a career and now he will have the opportunity to go on and do bigger and better things once he graduates. The bitter part is, this is it, right? It’s the end....It’s been a pleasure to have him in my program. Alex is an incredible person and incredible player. He is gonna be missed...”.
Alex, do you plan on pursuing 🏀 after HS?
“Definitely a possibility. I do see a future in other sports and other things besides athletics”.
Pat, once again, you turned up the press in the second half. Why does it give teams so much trouble?
“Credit goes to our guys. They are athletic; they are fast. They work hard. The biggest piece is understanding the positioning, understanding where to be. Understand to take away the middle. Understanding their rotations. When they execute that, that is when that press becomes so good”.
I’m already excited for next season, which should start in early December
Fall 2 🎤 ⬇️