Hopkinton cruises past Gilford, remains perfect on the road

  • Hopkinton’s Kevin Newton-Delgado (32) takes off on Tuesday night in Gilford. Newton-Delgado finished with 18 points on Tuesday in the Hawks’ 62-47 win. The sophomore has given Hopkinton a needed post presence this season. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Gilford guard Korey Weston gets fouled by Hopkinton guard Michael Baer during the first half on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 in Gilford. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Hopkinton forward Kevin Newton-Delgado follows through on a shot after getting fouled by Gilford forward Greg Madore in the first half at Gilford on Tuesday. Newton-Delgado finished with a team-high 18 points and the Hawks claimed a 62-47 win to improve to 10-1. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

GILFORD – There’s something about playing on the road that fuels the Hopkinton boys’ basketball team. The Hawks are one of just three teams in Division III without a loss away from home and that trend continued against Gilford on Tuesday.

Sophomore forward Kevin Newton-Delgado poured in nine of his team-high 18 points in a first quarter dominated by the Hawks as they ran Gilford out of its own gym en route to a 62-47 victory.

“When we’re away, we’re not scared of anybody,” Newton-Delgado said after Hopkinton rattled off its 10th win of the season. “The crowd gives us energy. When they start talking trash to us or something, we just ignore them, show them what’s up and play our game.”

With Newton-Delgado providing the offensive punch early on and the Hopkinton defense swarming the floor, the Hawks took complete control from the opening tip.

The Hawks led 18-8 after the first quarter, added on to their advantage with an 18-point lead at halftime and pulled ahead by as many as 22 points in the early stages of the third quarter to hand Gilford (7-4) it’s second loss in three games after starting the season 6-2.

“We just made mistakes we haven’t made for quite some time and they made us pay. We didn’t bring the kind of game to compete from the very beginning,” Gilford coach Chip Veazey said. “When we play like that anybody can beat us, and against a good team, you’re just not going to beat a good team playing like that. … It was one of our poorest efforts of the year.”

It was the seventh road win of the season – and third straight – for the surging Hawks (10-1), who have picked themselves up after falling to a scrappy Conant team on Jan. 11.

“The team is becoming stronger. In the beginning of the year with our practices, we just thought basketball was basketball,” Newton-Delgado said. “But since the Conant game, we’ve stepped up, we play hard 24/7, we don’t take breaks and we go hard at each other.”

The growth of Newton-Delgado especially has been a big factor for Hopkinton’s success. The 6-foot-4 forward is only 15, but provides a style down low and inside the paint that meshes well with upperclassmen teammates Dustin Rose, Caleb Yianakopolos, Zach Signor and Kevin McGrath.

It showed against the Golden Eagles as Newton-Delgado bullied his way inside for bucket after bucket, forcing the defense away from the 3-point line and opening up shots for the rest of the Hawks. Signor and Yianakopolos took advantage with nine points apiece, as did McGrath and Rose, who each finished with eight.

“We’re starting to create a post presence that we didn’t have last year,” Hopkinton coach Steve Signor said.

“We would get the offensive rebounds and putbacks, but we never had a post player.

“(Newton-Delgado) is buying into the understanding of the things he can be successful at instead of trying to do all those other things that he isn’t successful at yet,” coach Signor added. “He’s still developing and he’s going to get better as he goes.”

The Golden Eagles, who were held to single-digit point totals in each of the first two quarters before outscoring the Hawks, 32-29, in the second half, never looked like themselves from the outset.

Junior Greg Madore led the way with nine points and both Logan Huges (eight points) and David Hart (seven) contributed with solid efforts, but Gilford wasn’t able to gain ground on Hopkinton until the reserves were in late in the contest.

“We were on our heels,” Veazey said.” We didn’t execute and then we did get a makeable shot, we missed some.”

Gilford won’t have to wait long to bounce back as it heads to Laconia for a rivalry game on Wednesday. After spending the last three on the road, Hopkinton returns home to face Newfound on Thursday.

(Jay McAree can be reached at 369-3371, jmcaree@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JayMcAree.)