BEAR – The Hodgson boys basketball team is backed by a raucous student section known as the Zoo Crew.
The state tournament atmosphere helped turn the Silver Eagles’ home gym into a jungle and Hodgson came out of it alive, beating top-ranked Mount Pleasant 55-51 Tuesday night. With the win, Hodgson handed the Green Knights their first loss to a Delaware team this season.
“One of the things we wanted to do when we came back this year was to bring the energy back,” returning Silver Eagles head coach Ed Sobocinski said. “The Zoo Crew was fantastic tonight and we feed off of what they bring to us every night.”
“We preach loyalty throughout the school,” said senior forward Dawson Grinnage, who led all scorers with 17 points. “Whatever sport we have, we go to their games, so they showed the love in return. We came together as a family tonight and the crowd was crazy.”
No. 5 Hodgson (12-2) got six third-quarter points from senior guard L.J. Stansbury (15 overall) to take a 32-29 lead into the fourth quarter. From there, it was Grinnage who scored 11 fourth-quarter points, including five in the first 90 seconds to help Hodgson open their biggest lead of the game (37-30).
“I know when we run our offense that I can score and I have my teammates’ confidence and the coaches’ trust to make plays,” Grinnage explained. “I’m just able to relax, knowing that I can create for myself and for others.”
Mount Pleasant (14-2) rallied behind sophomore center KVonn Cramer (the Green Knights’ leading scorer with 15 points), scoring the 20 of the Green Knights’ final 22 points, including a spinning lay-up by Fah’Mir Ali with 23 seconds left to close the gap to 53-51.
After a wild scramble for the ball near halfcourt, Keenan Williams recovered the ball for Hodgson and got it to Grinnage, who made two free throws with 10.5 seconds left for the final margin.
Hodgson went 24 for 28 from the free-throw line, including five late free throws from senior guard Greg Tucker to keep Mount Pleasant at arm’s length.
“I knew we were going to regardless,” said Tucker. “I just told the guys ‘we got this, we just have to keep our heads up.’”
“We know as seniors, it’s up to us to lead,” Stansbury added. “We just had to show the young guys how to close it out.”
As for the coach, he’s pleased with the big win, but not surprised.
“We expect to win these games,” Sobocinski said. “Mount Pleasant’s a talented team and Lisa [Sullivan] does a great job with them, so we feel good that we won this game. It’s preparing us for the tournament.”