Holyoke Catholic eliminates game Eagles

HOLYOKE — The No. 14 Franklin County Technical School girls’ basketball team had one goal this season: make the postseason. And while the Eagles accomplished that, it all came to an end in the first found of the Western Massachusetts Division IV Tournament, dropping a 36-24 decision Monday night to No. 3 Holyoke Catholic at Holyoke Community College.

“Considering, what we were up against, they did a fabulous job. I couldn’t be happier,” first-year coach Matt Llewelyn said. “Our goal was 10-10, we accomplished that goal plus one, which was awesome.”

Franklin (11-11) held the Gaels (16-5) to their third-lowest point total all season in the loss. Most of that effort was thanks to the man-to-man defense played on Holyoke Catholic leading scorer Krya Robins.

“To hold Robins to 12 points, including 6 free throws, all three girls that guarded her did a great job, and as a team,” Llewelyn said.

Brooke Meuse led the Eagles’ offense with 10 points and Brittany Andrews followed with 7.

“They have scored 80 percent of our points anyway, so they have to touch the ball, they have to shoot,” Llewelyn said. “That’s our game plan. All the girls know the roles, so it’s not like anyone gets jealous. Overall, they are a great team and I had a lot of fun doing it.”

The Eagles had to shake off some pregame jitters despite their coach telling them no such thing was allowed; however, playing the No. 3 seed got the best of them in the locker room.

“They were nervous, a few breathing techniques helped,” Llewelyn said. “I told them, if I’m not nervous, they aren’t allowed to be because they have to play.”

Alyssa Andrews scored the first bucket of the game at 6:36 in the first after the Gaels missed multiple opening attempts.

Robins and the rest of the Holyoke Catholic offense woke up, scoring the next eight points before Meuse earned a trip to the line, sinking the first of two to make it 8-3 with 2:32 to play. She later closed the quarter on a layup to keep the deficit in the single-digits, 12-5.

In the second quarter, the Eagles didn’t get a field goal to drop as they scored all five points from the line. Julia Hiney had 8 of her 11 points in the quarter to take a 22-10 lead into halftime.

Andrews hit a 3 to open the third and lead the Eagles to outscoring the Gaels in the quarter. She made the first of a 1-and-1 with 9.8 seconds left to cut the lead to 25-17. Holyoke Catholic’s Danielle Easton hit a buzzer-beater to close the third, 27-17.

“Being up 2-0, being down by 12 at halftime, beating them in the third quarter, I’m very happy with our performance,” Llewely said.

A 3 by Hiney pushed the Gaels lead out to 30-18 at 7:11 in the fourth quarter. The two sides traded buckets and foul shots until a layup by Robins made it 35-21 with 3:18 to play.

After a trip to the line by each side, Alexis Barrette had the game’s last bucket for the Eagles, draining a floater with 19.1 seconds left in regulation for the final.

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