Hopedale Basketball In The Clark University Tournament Final
By Christopher Tremblay Staff Sports Writer
Having won its fair share of Dual Valley Conference Championships over the years, Hopedale is looking to add yet another title to its resume.
At the time of this writing, the Blue Raiders were 16-4 overall and 8-2 within the DVC, giving them another League Championship.
Although Hopedale had encountered a few injuries throughout the season, the Blue Raiders were still able to come out on top of the DVC.
Playing in a tough league, Hopedale Coach Tony Cordani thought that the year was going to be a really competitive one, but to come out winning the league again he was really pleased with his team’s performance, especially after the team lost senior Charlie Dietrich to a season-ending concussion.
With Dietrich sitting on the bench, Hopedale relied on its other four seniors to take the reins and lead this team into the post-season. Senior co-captains Andrew Deppe (forward) and Cody Dicken (point guard) put the team on their backs willing the team to success. Center David manning and forward and former sixth man Ryan Reynolds also aiding in the cause. Sophomore off guard Patrick Madden along with the four seniors made up the starting Hopedale rotation.
Also contributing to the Blue Raiders success this season have been senior guard Troy Hobson, junior forward Cam Parker, junior Hudson Terando, guard Lucas Lavesseur and sophomore guard Robbie Manning.
Offensively Deppe and Madden are averaging close to 15 points per game, while Dicken is knocking down around nine points. Deppe is currently second in the league in scoring while Madden s right behind him in third place.
Being a senior laden team Hopedale has found their rhythm throughout the season, especially down the stretch.
“We lost Andrew for a couple of games that lead to our two league losses. It was a little bump in the road, but we recovered,” Cordani said. “Then we lost Charlie, most likely for the remainder of the year.”
While Hopedale waits for the Division 5 State Tournament to beginv, the squad was selected to play in the Clark University Tournament in Worcester after a two-year hiatus. 2020 was the last time the tournament took place but Covid put a stop to it over the last two seasons.
The Clark Tournament is a prestigious tournament in which 43 schools are eligible to take part in, but only 16 teams (8 large and 8 small schools) are granted invitations based on their power rankings. Hopedale found its way into the 80-year-old Central Mass Tournament through the small division.
“We’ve been lucky enough to have been a part of this tournament a number of times through the years since I’ve been associated with Hopedale (24 years),” the Blue Raider Coach said. “It’s great to get back into it; it’s a huge goal to get an invite.”
Entering the prestigious tournament Hopedale was awarded the number three seed in the small division. The Blue Raiders defeated Oxford in the first round and then took out the number two seed in Maynard. Hopedale will next go up against the number one seed David Prouty in the Championship game of the tournament.
“Making the finals is a great honor in such a prestigious tournament,” Cordani said. “It would bring great satisfaction to win it all; it would be a nice feather in our hat.”
Following the Clark Tournament Hopedale will begin to get ready for the State Tournament, where they are hoping to get as many home games as they can along the way.
“Once there I think we’ll be very competitive if we continue o play good basketball like we have over the last few weeks,” Cordani said. “This is a great group of kids that are looking to make a deep run. If we can play our style of defense and rebound to our capability we’ll be in every game.”
In the boys small school division of the Clark Tournament Finals, Hopedale gave number one seed David Prouty all they could handle going to double overtime before falling 51-49. Participating in the Division 5 State Tournament the Blue Raiders defeated Millis 61-47 in the first round and then lost to Holbrook 60-46 in the Round of 16.