2010-2011 Season Review: The Hilbert men’s basketball team took the court mid-October with excitement and anticipation for a turn-around season built off the bumps and bruises the squad took on the chin during the 2009-10 season. The “senior leadership” phrase missing one season earlier would now be termed as “seasoned-player leadership” since the Hawks would be led by returning sophomores and juniors still without a true fourth-year basketball player on the roster. Several first year players to the program complimented the veterans, propelling the Hawks to a 12-15 (8-10 conference) finish.
The season opened up with a one point loss on the road at Marywood University (63-62) before the Hawks returned to Hamburg to host their first annual Tip-Off Tournament. John Jay, Keuka and Morrisville State were participants with the championship trophy going to John Jay in a 93-77 win over Morrisville. The Hawks pulled a triple-overtime (85-83) home victory off against Oberlin just before Thanksgiving break only to return for a two-point loss at Alfred (78-76) the Saturday after the biggest feasting day of the year. Hilbert went 1-1 in their two other non-conference games; they were road victors at Waynesburg (80-72) and suffered a 69-54 loss before the semester break in December.
Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference play began the first week in December and in the three contests before Christmas, Hilbert went 0-3. La Roche gave the Hawks a 75-51 spanking on a Saturday, but the royal and white rebounded in a three-point loss to Penn State Behrend with a chance to tie the game at the buzzer and finally, Pitt-Greensburg took a 80-65 win at home.
Second semester, after roster changes shuffled the deck, Hilbert opened up 3-0 before they faced Mount Aloysius (95-85)in the first of three high-scoring games this season. That game, combined with the 98-95 overtime loss to Bradford and the second-round loss to La Roche (72-56) on a night they dedicated their home court to Scott Lang, drained the Hawks of their confidence and continuity. The Behrend loss was the last blow in January (70-51) before they pulled a 78-69 home win over Greensburg to finish January 4-4 in AMCC play.
Once the team settled into their rhythm, the Hawks went 4-2 in February. Hilbert lost to both the Western NY teams (83-54 Medaille and 75-69 D’Youville) then went 3-0 against schools from Pennsylvania and 1-0 over Franciscan in another triple-overtime game (91-84). The Hawks late season surge earned them an 8-10 overall conference record and the right to host a first round game as the 4th seed in the AMCC post-season tournament. Hilbert hosted Mount Aloysius again for the second time in ten days with the same result of breaking the century mark in a forty-two point win (102-60). Hilbert moved to the conference final four, faced La Roche College the number one seed and lost 86-69.
The personnel changes as well as shuffling the line-up were challenges the coaching staff dealt with all season long. Freshman point guard CJ Hodge (Rochester, NY/Gates Chili) was the only player to start every game for Hilbert and his play was valued by not only the team but the league as well. Hodge was named as the AMCC Newcomer of the Year in February after averaging almost thirty-three minutes a game and 8.9 ppg, 3.9 apg, 2.2 spg. Helping Hodge on the wing was sophomore Dan McFarland (Lancaster, NY/St. Mary’s). McFarland was named to the AMCC 2nd Team All-Conference while averaging thirty minutes a game, 16.6 ppg (49.1% FG), 2.4 apg. During the last month of the season, the lefty netted 30 points on three separate occasions helping to push the Hawks towards play-offs.
Click <here> to see the 2010-11 season snapshot.