After losing the top seven scorers from a team that recorded the best season in program history, there was a lot of uncertainty for Sewanhaka as it entered the 2018-19 season. The Indians were inexperienced all over the floor and their top returning scorer averaged fewer than two points per game.
But, this is Sewanhaka basketball. Rather than allow the memory of a crushing defeat in last year’s county semifinals to bring them down or to fall back on the excuse of maybe not having the talent of the 2017-18 team, the Indians are proving their merit each time they take the floor.
With last Friday’s 62-39 rout of Great Neck North, Sewanhaka improved to 10-4 overall, 7-2 in Conference A-II. Joe Hicks scored 18 points in just over two quarters of play, and junior Preston Harts and freshman Devin Grant each scored 10 to lead the Indians to the their third consecutive victory.
Head coach Jay Allen isn’t surprised by his team’s success. “These kids came into the season with their own level of expectations,” Allen said. “They feel like it’s up to them hold up their end in building an elite program. They grew up in the program watching the guys before them. Now, it’s their turn. I’m happy with where we are.”
While Allen wasn’t certain which players would emerge as go-to guys on the offensive end, he knew he had players who could wreak havoc on defense. And, that’s exactly what they’ve done. The Indians have yielded just 41.3 points per contests in their 10 victories, and have held opponents under 40 points on six occasions.
Hicks has been sensational. The senior guard scored a career-high 28 points, and added five assists and five steals in a 63-55 victory at Jericho. Hicks, who scored a total of 25 points as a junior, is leading the team with a 15.7 points per game average.
“Joe has been very good in all aspects,” Allen said. “He’s one of the few players who can create his own shot. He scores, rebounds, finds open teammates, and his leadership has been very important.”
Guard Adam Rodriguez is averaging 12.6 points per game and has reached double figures in 10 of the team’s games, but his impact on the floor goes way beyond scoring. The senior guard brings a tremendous motor and boundless passion to the court, and it rubs off on his teammates.
Grant, who was called up from the junior varsity after seven games, has been a solid addition. He scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Indians to a 70-52 win at Kennedy. The Indians outscored Kennedy 27-9 in the fourth quarter to earn the victory.
“A lot of credit goes to the senior leaders,” Allen said. “They’ve taken a management role of this team. They understand what it takes to be successful, and want to be a big part of the program’s growth.”
Sewanhaka welcomes in first-place Elmont this Saturday at noon.