CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – This week’s Honda Athlete of the Week is shared between two Robert C. Byrd basketball players Tommy Hawkins and Bryson Lucas after a big win in their final regular season game over Fairmont Senior.
The past two seasons show that Bill Bennett and the RCB boys basketball team know how to win.
This year, they sit on a 12-1 record heading into sectional play and Byrd’s most recent win over the Polar Bears kept their No. 1 rank in Class Triple-A.
Playing good defense was an obvious strategy for Byrd.
“Defense. That’s all that was going through my mind was if I can play good defense then the offense will take care of itself. I just have to make sure that I can play good defense for the rest of my teammates,” Hawkins said.
“Just go out there and play good defense. That defense translates to offense every single game for us so go out there and have a good defensive game and we’ll see what the end score would be,” Lucas said.
Lucas and Hawkins stood out in their own ways in the win over Fairmont Senior.
Hawkins battled through an injury during the game and pushed through it in the fourth quarter to secure the win for his team.
” I tore my ACL. I just got the MRI back today and it was a torn ACL. I don’t want to miss any opportunity to go to war with my guys. That’s my teammates, I’ve known them since and we’ve been together since we were little. So it was an easy answer for me am I going to go back out or am I going to sit, easy going back out,” Hawkins said.
Head coach Bill Bennett gave credit to Hawkins when 12 Sports spoke with him after the game on April 9 and said he thought Hawkins would be sidelined due to the injury.
“Tommy, I cant say enough about the heart that he shows. I mean he left the floor, his step dad is a physical therapist, he’s back there working on him ad got him back out there, I wasn’t going to start him in the second half, I thought he was done. And he said just let me go, I’ll see if I can go for a couple minutes and he’s just a tough hard-nosed kid and he wants to get out there and make a difference and he does,” Hawkins said.
Bryson Lucas put on another typical Bryson Lucas performance. The All-State forward led Byrd with 21 points and provided the style points as well.
Lucas credits his teammates for his success in this game and during the season.
“It was just really easier for me to establish my game from the offensive end, getting rebounds, to getting assists and all that, I love getting assists. That was just an easy part of my game, was to just elevate because of the people surrounding me,” Lucas said.
Just from watching and talking to these players one thing is clear- the unselfishness of this RCB team.
They want to win and they’ll to anything to do it.
“I love seeing my teammates score. I love it. I love when I can help my teammates score in any type of way possible, if that’s setting a back screen to get open on the other side, anything. I just love seeing my teammates succeed,” Hawkins said.
“I can get the rebound and look up the court and find anybody already down there for a transition layup. It’s easy things like that that get my name on the stat sheet so it’s fairly easy when you have guys like this guy Gavin Kennedy leaking out and stuff,” Lucas said.
Hawkins, Lucas and the Byrd gang return to the court next week for sectional play where they first will see the winner of Liberty and Lewis County.