Girls basketball: Second-half dominance leads Greenfield over Hopkins

Staff Writer
Published: 12/23/2019 9:52:27 PM
Modified: 12/23/2019 10:37:42 PM

GREENFIELD — It’s hard to call a pre-Christmas basketball game a must-win, but for the Greenfield High school girls basketball team, Monday’s tilt against Hopkins Academy was a perfect opportunity to get a sour taste out of their mouths.

Following a weekend in which the Green Wave dropped their 2019 WMass championship rematch against Hoosac Valley then lost at the buzzer to South Hadley, who they had beaten in the WMass semifinals last year, Greenfield wanted to prove itself against the defending Western Mass Div. 4 champion Golden Hawks before heading into the holiday break. 

At the half, things weren’t looking great for the Wave, which trailed 26-22. In the final 16 minutes of play, however, Greenfield looked like a completely different team, playing relentless defense and getting easy buckets in transition while holding Hopkins to just three second-half points en route to a 52-29 Franklin County League North victory at Nichols Gymnasium. 

“We didn’t play with great energy in the first half,” Green Wave coach John Hickey said. “We were a step slow on defense, we weren’t really aggressive. In the second half, we picked up our defensive intensity and our energy and it became a factor.”

Greenfield (2-2, 2-0 FCL North) mixed between man-to-man and zone defenses in the first half, but the Golden Hawks were able to push the ball before getting into their offensive sets. That led to easy looks at the rim.

In the second half, the Wave played straight man-to-man, picking up full court and not allowing Hopkins to get into any sort of rhythm offensively. The Hawks made just one field goal in the third quarter and a single free throw in the fourth quarter. 

“The first half, we did a lot of different things because our man wasn’t working so well and our energy was low,” Hickey said. “In the second half, we committed to playing straight man-to-man. If they weren’t going to work, they weren’t going to play. They decided to turn it up a couple notches and it worked.” 

The second half charge by Greenfield was led by Katie Haselton.

The junior was all over the place, scoring 14 of her game-high 20 points in the final two quarters while also coming up with 14 rebounds, dishing out four assists and grabbing five steals. 

Haselton brought the energy on the defensive end, hounding whichever Hopkins player she was guarding and getting on the floor to come up with multiple loose balls.

“She’s unbelievable,” Hickey said. “She has a motor that doesn’t quit. She leads us in rebounding, steals, scoring and I wouldn’t doubt if she leads us in assists. She’s an all-around player. She’s tough. We’ll go as far as she can take us.”

Bryanna Rivera joined Haselton in double-figures with 11 points. Racquel Provost scored seven points and Tess Rancourt added three points and pulled down seven rebounds for the Wave.

Sara Beauchamp led the Golden Hawks (4-1, 1-1) with eight points, all in the first half. 

Hopkins looked like it had the early advantage, jumping out to a 15-6 lead after the opening quarter. A 16-point second quarter by Greenfield got the hosts back in the game, with five players scoring baskets to make the game more competitive. 

Following a season in which the Wave knew they could step into just about any gym in Western Mass. and be one of the more talented teams on the court, Hickey said he wants this year’s squad to understand it has to compete for 32 minutes to earn victories. 

“I told the girls before the game not to take anyone lightly,” Hickey said. “We aren’t the team we were last year. We have to come in and scrap and fight every game. In the second half they did that.”

While the Greenfield defense was smothering the Hawks on defense, the offense kept the rhythm it had to end the first half, outscoring Hopkins 15-2 in the third quarter to go ahead 37-28. The Wave put up another 15 points as Hopkins couldn’t keep pace with their attack, giving Greenfield confidence and a blueprint on how to win moving forward the rest of the season. 

“It’s psychological,” Hickey said. “We gave that South Hadley game up. It was a mental breakdown on offense, then on defense. Young teams are going to do that. Getting a win tonight was just huge for our psyche was huge in my opinion. It was a good Christmas gift.”

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