December 15, 2021

With Vessey Displaying Shooting Prowess, Hun Boys’ Hoops Goes 2-1 at Peddie Tournament

SHARPSHOOTER: Hun School boys’ basketball player Dan Vessey goes up for the shot in recent action. Last weekend, senior guard Vessey starred as Hun took fifth place at the Peddie School Invitational Tournament (PSIT). On Saturday, he scored 19 points to help the Raiders defeat Lawrenceville 72-59 in a consolation round contest. A day later, he again scored 19 points as Hun defeated Peddie 76-68 in the PSIT fifth place game. The Raiders, now 4-4, host Academy of New Church (Pa.) on December 16 and then play Hudson Catholic on December 18 in the Hoop Group Tournament at Elizabeth. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After falling 64-58 to the Phelps School (Pa.) in the opening round of the Peddie School Invitational Tournament (PSIT) last Friday, Dan Vessey and his teammates on the Hun School boys’ basketball team were determined to bounce back when they faced Lawrenceville in the consolation round.

“It is important after a tough loss to come back and get a win, especially this early in the season,” said Hun senior guard Vessey.

With Vessey tallying 19 points, Hun pulled away to a 72-59 win over the Big Red last Saturday.

“Beating Lawrenceville is a good win, we love it,” said Vessey.

“Lawrenceville is a good team, they always have been. Doug Davis (former Hun and Princeton University star) is their coach and that Lawrenceville team is much better than the Lawrenceville team we played two years ago. They have made a lot of steps in the right direction, we will play them again.”

Befitting a rivalry matchup, the contest was tight and with Hun clinging to a 50-44 lead late in the second half, Vessey drained a long three-pointer to give the Raiders some breathing room.

“That is always important, getting that big time shot when you are only up six or seven,” said Vessey.

“That puts you nine, 10 points ahead and you are in the driver’s seat.”

On Sunday, Vessey hit some more shots, scoring 19 points for a second straight day as Hun defeated Peddie 76-68 in the PSIT fifth place game.

“It is early in the season so finding that stroke is important, getting it going from now on,” said Vessey.

“In the first couple of games, I felt good against St. Benedict’s and Haverford. It is a zone so you have to make shots.”

Looking to play college basketball at the Division I level, Vessey has been diversifying his game.

“I have really been working on my playmaking lately trying to make the right play, trying to make the right read,” said Vessey.

“That has been important to me, especially getting ready for next year.”

Having put in a lot of work during his Hun career, Vessey is primed for a big final year with the Raiders.

“It has been a long but fun four years; it has been really interesting,” said Vessey.

“As a sophomore, I really got a chance to come out and do my thing. Coach [Jon Stone] trusted me and the other sophomores. You can see how that group has grown up together. I think that is really cool.”

Over the years, Vessey has grown close to his classmate and backcourt partner Jack Scott.

“Me and Jack spend a lot of time together, off the court and in school,” said Vessey.

“I think that shows on the court; good chemistry is what it comes down to.”

Hun head coach Stone credits the combination of Vessey and Scott with bringing a lot to the table for his squad.

“We are always looking for Dan to make shots and he always seems to make them,” said Stone.

“Jack is so steady for us, he gives it to us all around with some offensive rebounds and his defense is always so good. He just does a lot of things that people don’t even notice and tends to fill a stat sheet as well. He is really valuable to us.”

In the win over Lawrenceville, another senior, forward Toby Thornburg, proved to be valuable, scoring 19 points and dominating in the paint.

“We were able to make some shots against the zone and we were all able to get a lot of offensive rebounds,” said Stone.

“Toby gave us some great energy in that department, I think it really made a difference.”

With Hun, now 4-4, hosting Academy of New Church (Pa.) on December 16 and then playing Hudson Catholic on December 18 in the Hoop Group Tournament at Elizabeth before its holiday break, Stone is looking for his squad to build on its play in the PSIT.

“Our energy has been good all year; when you play in tournaments like this you have always got to bounce back,” said Stone.

“I think we did a decent job of that, the guys came and played hard. The good news is that we are not playing our best basketball yet, which you never want to at this time of year. We are continuing to grow and improve. As we do that, we are going to make a lot of progress. We just want to take every game and try and win. It is always nice getting a couple of wins before the break.”

Vessey, for his part, believes the Raiders are headed in the right direction.

“We are trying to get some momentum going into winter break,” said Vessey.

“If we come out of here at 6-4, I think that is a really good look for our team.”