January 22, 2020

Sparked by Vessey’s Brilliant Outside Shooting, Hun Boys’ Hoops Cruises Past Lawrenceville 

DAN THE MAN: Hun School boys’ basketball player Daniel Vessey, right, covers a foe in recent action. Last week, sophomore guard Vessey exploded for 30 points to help Hun defeat Lawrenceville 85-58. The Raiders, who improved to 6-10 with a 57-48 win over Hackensack last Monday in the Public vs. Private School Showcase in Teaneck, play at Peddie on January 22, host the Blue Ridge School (Va.) on January 24, and then play at Marist High on January 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary as Daniel Vessey went through his normal pregame shooting routine before the Hun School boys’ basketball team hosted Lawrenceville last week.

“I warmed up before we  got here for the game,” said sophomore guard Vessey. “I didn’t feel anything in particular.”

But once the game started, Vessey produced an extraordinary shooting display, hitting nine-of-10 3-pointers in the first half on his way to 30 points as he outscored Lawrenceville on his own with Hun leading 50-26 at intermission.

Reflecting on his outburst, Vessey wasn’t aware of the numbers he was piling up with his torrid shooting.

“I didn’t really know to be honest with you,” said Vessey. “I had no clue. I was just feeling good, feeling loose.”

It felt good for Vessey to help Hun snap a five-game losing streak as it cruised to a 85-58 win over the Big Red.

“I was in the here and now,” said the 6’2 Vessey, who didn’t score in the second half as the Raiders spread the wealth offensively. 

“I was in the moment, just playing for my teammates, not playing for anything else. I was just looking to help my team win games.”

The victory was a confidence builder for a Raider squad that has been on the wrong end of a number of close games this winter.

“We were definitely hungry coming off that loss up at Mercersburg (60-49 on January 11) where we had a lead in the first half and we gave it away in the second half,” said Vessey.

“We really wanted to come back strong. We were up in the first half tonight and we really closed it out in the second half.”

Vessey is hungry to make himself a stronger offensive player. “In the offseason, I have really worked just developing my ball handling, developing my shooting,” said Vessey.

“I really tried to become that elite shooter and I have worked on getting to the basket.”

That work includes getting to the gym during the school day. “When I was here in eighth grade I never really had free periods,” said Vessey.

“I got them in ninth grade and I really took advantage of those. I come down here, I use the gun [shooting machine] a lot. I figured out how to set it up by myself and I just go to work.”

Hun head coach Jon Stone wasn’t surprised by Vessey’s offensive outburst.

“He is just continuing to develop and grow,” said Stone of Vessey. “He has a great sense and feel for the game and great poise. You can’t leave him open. He was open tonight and he was shooting. He is that good.”

Vessey’s shooting was contagious as a number of Raiders had big games against the Big Red.

“We have a ton of great shooters and we finally shot the ball,” said Stone, who got 19 points from senior Liam Gunnarsson in the win with senior Dylan Knight adding 13 and sophomore Jack Scott chipping in 12.

“We haven’t shot the ball well in a lot of games. It is good to be at home; we got guys good looks and they made them.”

With Hun playing at Peddie on January 22, hosting the Blue Ridge School (Va.) on January 24, and then playing at Marist High on January 26, Stone is hoping that the performance against Lawrenceville will get the Raiders on the winning track.

“We didn’t come out so well in the start of the second half,” said Stone, whose team improved to 6-10 with a 57-48 win over Hackensack in the Public vs. Private School Showcase in Teaneck last Monday.

“We settled in and got some good shots and got things going again. It is good, it is important for us. We needed this one. We have to build on it and keep the momentum going.”

Vessey, for his part, believes that Hun can get things going down the stretch.

“Lawrenceville is a great crosstown rival and it was really important to come out here and close it out,” said Vessey.

“Beating them by 30 was a big statement for us. Now we have to go do it against teams like Hill and Peddie.”