×

Hopkins Academy reaches WMass D-4 final

  • Gabrielle Palmisano, top right, of Hopkins Academy, tries to win a rebound against Shelby Tweedie, of Ware, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4, at Curry Hicks Cage. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Samantha Jenks, center, of Hopkins Academy, splits Ware defenders Audrey LaValley, from left, Jessica Burke and Andrea Bell during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4 at Curry Hicks Cage. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Gabrielle Palmisano, right, of Hopkins Academy, reaches for a rebound against Audrey LaValley, of Ware, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4, 2019 at Curry Hicks Cage. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Arya-Jane Mitchell, top, of Hopkins Academy, shoots against Chelsea Orszulak, of Ware, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4, 2019 at Curry Hicks Cage. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Arya-Jane Mitchell, right, of Hopkins Academy, reaches for a pass against a Ware defender during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4, 2019 at Curry Hicks Cage. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Thea Hanscom, left, of Hopkins Academy, shoots against Audrey LaValley, of Ware, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4, 2019 at Curry Hicks Cage. Arya-Jane Mitchell looks on. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hopkins Academy fans cheer for their team during their win against Ware in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4, 2019 at Curry Hicks Cage. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Arya-Jane Mitchell, top, of Hopkins Academy, shoots against Audrey LaValley, of Ware, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4, 2019 at Curry Hicks Cage. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Thea Hanscom, front left, of Hopkins Academy, shoots and draws a foul from Shelby Tweedie, of Ware, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4, 2019 at Curry Hicks Cage. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Sara Beauchamp, front right, of Hopkins Academy, drives past Ware defenders Audrey LaValley, left, and Olivia Vadnais, Monday at Curry Hicks Cage. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Hopkins Academy players Sara Beauchamp, second from left, Samantha Jenks, top, Arya-Jane Mitchell and Thea Hanscom celebrate after defeating Ware in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4, 2019 at Curry Hicks Cage. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Sara Beauchamp, right, of Hopkins Academy, shoots against Audrey LaValley, of Ware, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4, 2019 at Curry Hicks Cage. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ayra-Jane Mitchell, front left, of Hopkins Academy, moves the ball against Audrey LaValley, of Ware, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4, 2019 at Curry Hicks Cage. Samantha Jenks, top left, looks on while defended by Olivia Vadnais. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Samantha Jenks, right, of Hopkins Academy, shoots against Audrey LaValley, of Ware, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4, 2019 at Curry Hicks Cage. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Allison Kowal-Safron, center, of Hopkins Academy, moves the ball against Ware defenders Lexi Orszulak, left, and Audrey LaValley, during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4, 2019 at Curry Hicks Cage. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The Hopkins Academy bench cheers for their team during the final minutes of their win against Ware in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4, 2019 at Curry Hicks Cage. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The Hopkins Academy team celebrates their win against Ware in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semifinal, Monday, March 4, 2019 at Curry Hicks Cage. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS



For the Gazette
Friday, March 08, 2019

AMHERST — The Hopkins Academy girls basketball team is in pursuit of history.

The third-seeded Golden Hawks advanced to the Western Massachusetts Division 4 Tournament championship for the first time since 2015 and could become the first girls team to win the title after Monday’s 41-29 semifinal win over No. 2 Ware.

“It’s awesome,” Hopkins coach Mike Prattico said. “This is such a great group of girls, they get along so well, they make everyday fun. Just to have this opportunity says so much about these girls, they deserve all the credit.”

After a slow start, Hopkins trailed 12-8 at the end of the first quarter. Then the Golden Hawks adjusted their defense, holding the Indians scoreless in the second quarter and going on a 6-0 run to take a 14-12 halftime lead.

“We switched our defense because the defense that we usually play they prepared for,” senior Samantha Jenks said. “They had a play, they knew what to do, and they were breaking it easy. We switched our defense to man and they didn’t know what to do.”

Part of the familiarity between the teams stemmed from their two matchups during the regular season. Hopkins Academy won both, 54-46 on the road and 73-50 in Hadley. Even in defeat, Ware gained valuable experience for the semifinal matchup and their preparation showed.

“We knew even though we beat them twice it’s difficult to beat a team three times,” Prattico said. “We knew they were going to have some strategy to try to take away some of our primary scorers and I think they did a good job of that.”

In the second half, Ware deployed full-court pressure that momentarily slowed the Golden Hawks down. Eventually, with some patience, Hopkins started to break the press and pull away by playing to the advantages it exploited in the first two matchups.

“It definitely helped having two wins already,” Thea Hanscom said. “We already knew what we needed to work on and what we had an advantage on.”

The game was tied at 14 a couple of minutes into the third quarter. That’s when Sara Beauchamp banked in a 3-pointer to spark a 9-0 Golden Hawks run. Beauchamp added two more baskets for seven points in the quarter, giving Hopkins a 28-22 advantage after three quarters.

“I was shook,” Beauchamp said. “I did not expect them to go in, but they did and then it got everyone else scoring.”

The team’s 14 points in the quarter matched its halftime total and propelled the Golden Hawks to a strong fourth quarter.

“(Beauchamp) had the huge 3 and then coach called a timeout,” senior A.J. Mitchell said. “I think it kept us together and set us up as a whole to come out in the fourth quarter.”

Hopkins finished the job in the fourth quarter behind a Jenks 3-pointer and Hanscom’s two baskets, battling at the rim, to extend the lead to double digits.

Jenks led the way with 11 points while Hanscom added nine. Beauchamp finished with eight points while Mitchell’s presence down low and Allison Kowal-Safron’s perimeter shooting contributed seven and six points, respectively.

Now, it’s on to the Division 4 finals at 10:30 a.m. Saturday back at the Cage where the players know what’s at stake. The Golden Hawks will play No. 4 Mount Everett (16-7). The Eagles beat No. 1 Monson, 61-50.

“History,” Jenks said. “At our school the girls have never won a Western Mass. title. This would not only be making history but would just be huge for us.”

“Especially for our seniors,” Beauchamp, a sophomore, added, wrapping her arms around Jenks and Mitchell, as Mitchell imagined the feeling of what a win on Saturday would be like.

“Yeah, it’d be a good way to go out,” Mitchell said. “Hanging a banner up there.”

Hopkins Academy 41, Ware 29

Hopkins Academy (17-6)

Hanscom 4-1-9, A. Kowal-Safron 2-0-6, Jenks 2-5-11, Mitchell 3-1-7, Beauchamp 3-1-8. Totals 14-8-41

Ware (18-5)

Vadnais 2-0-4, Welsh 2-0-5, L. Orszulak 1-1-3, LaValley 0-8-8, Tweedie 2-2-6, Burke 0-1-1, C. Orszulak 1-0-2. Totals 8-12-29

Hopkins

8

6

14

13

—41

Ware

12

0

10

7

—29

3-Pointers—Hopkins 5 (Jenks 2, A. Kowal-Safron 2, Beauchamp), Ware 1 (Welsh)