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Wave derails host Rams, 46-36

  • Above, Greenfield’s Samantha Smith pushes the ball up the court as Granby’s Kaeleigh Croteau gives chase Thursday night in Granby. Below, Greenfield’s Raegan Hickey launches a jump shot from the top of the key between two Granby defenders. for the recorder/J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

  • Greenfield’s Samantha Smith squares up for a jump shot in the key Thursday night in Granby. for the recorder/j. anthony roberts

  • Greenfield’s Elizabeth Howland launches up a jumper in the lane sandwiched by Granby’s Nora Young (22) and Kayla McCreary (12) Thursday night in Granby. for the recorder/J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

  • Greenfield’s Raegan Hickey launches a jump shot from the top of the key between two Granby defenders Thursday night in Granby. for the recorder/J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

  • Greenfield’s Katie Haselton (4) powers the ball down the lane to the hoop between Granby’s Nora Young (22) and Madison Sexton (10) Thursday night in Granby. for the recorder/J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

  • Greenfield’s Elizabeth Howland (24) is fouled by Granby’s Julia Frappier (3) as she launches a jumper in the lane Thursday night in Granby. for the recorder/J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

  • Greenfield’s Elizabeth Howland (24) launches up a jumper in the lane over Granby’s Nora Young (22) Thursday night in Granby. for the recorder/J. ANTHONY ROBERTS



Recorder Staff
Thursday, March 01, 2018

GRANBY — Greenfield High School’s pursuit of its first appearance at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst has never been easy, but after two straight years of coming up short, the Green Wave finally has cause to celebrate.

The fifth-seeded Green Wave overcame a tumultuous fourth quarter to finish strong and advance past a scrappy Granby High School squad with a 46-36 victory Thursday night in the Western Massachusetts Division III Girls’ Basketball Tournament quarterfinals.

The Green Wave (21-1) blew a 10-point second-half lead to the fourth-seeded Rams (15-6) as Granby star Nora Young almost single-handily willed her team back to take a lead with 3 minutes, 48 seconds to play in the game. The momentum swung back to the Wave 15 seconds later when Wave star Raegan Hickey hit her lone 3-pointer of the game (with 3:33 to play coincidentally) that gave the Wave a 35-33 lead it would not relinquish.

It was then time for Greenfield freshman Katie Haselton to take over, as she went hard to the hoop on back-to-back drives, earning an and-one and then a layup to quickly build the lead up to 40-33. Granby continued to attack, but the Wave defense, which had played well all game, stepped up. A basket by Kirsten Ward with 1:01 left pushed the lead to 9, and Samantha Smith then blocked Young on the following possession to all but end any threat of a comeback.

“I told Katie Haselton in the middle of the third quarter to take over the game,” Greenfield coach John Hickey said. “She’s the X-factor for us. When they’re focusing on Raegan and Sam, she’s the third one, but she’s a big third one.”

Greenfield will now face top-seeded Hampshire Regional High School (19-2) in the semifinals at the historic Cage next week. The game is scheduled for Wednesday at 6 p.m. It is also believed to be the first time the Green Wave girls have advanced to the Cage in the history of the program.

“This is something the entire team has wanted. Now we can finally taste it,” Greenfield senior forward Lizzy Howland exclaimed.

It certainly did not come easy, thanks to a relentless Rams’ defense and the offensive prowess of Young, who was impossible to defend at times with the homecourt fans behind her. Young scored every point for the Rams in the first half other than a basket by Kayla McCreary with 14 seconds to play before halftime that pulled Granby back to within one point, 16-15. Young went on to score another 12 points in the second half, accounting for 26 of Granby’s 36 points on the night.

“She’s good,” Hickey said of Young. “She’s very in control, good in the post, can shoot the 3, she can dribble, she’s going to have a bright future.”

One thing that helped the Wave remain in front in the first half despite its offensive struggles was the play of the defense, especially that of Kirsten Ward, who took over as the man-defender on Young and held her in check despite the Rams perpetually running the offense through their star player. Hickey said that two years ago when the Green Wave went to Drury High School and lost in the quarterfinals, Ward was playing at 60 percent with an injured ankle. Then last season, when Greenfield lost at home to Mahar Regional School in the quarters, Ward was on the bench with an injury.

“This year she’s healthy and on Senior Night, (in the first-round win over) Drury and tonight she played unbelievable defense and did all the little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet,” he said.

The Green Wave, which led for the majority of the first half, began to open up a lead early in the third quarter as its press began to get to the Rams. Greenfield opened the second half on a 10-1 run and led 26-16, but Granby began to figure things out and when the Rams started breaking the press, it led to some easy looks, and the lead was cut down to 28-24 heading into the fourth quarter.

That momentum carried over into the final 8 minutes, as Granby opened on a 4-0 run to tie the game. The teams then traded the lead over the next three minutes until the Hickey 3-pointer put the Wave up for good. Howland said that she was proud of the way her team responded to the adversity, especially since it had struggled to win in the tournament the past few years and could very well have fizzled late on Thursday.

“We could have fallen apart,” she said. “We’ve struggled with the pressure in the past, but we’ve matured as a team. Coach brought us in the locker room at halftime and said, ‘This is our game to lose.’ He believed in us and we all believed in each other and that’s what carried us.”

Hickey finished with 14 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in the win. Haselton added 13 points and 6 boards. Smith notched 11 points and 10 rebounds.