School Hoops: Tourney-bound Eagles shock McCann, 59-55

Recorder Staff
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The end-of-the-season schedule-makers were not kind to the Franklin County Technical School boys’ basketball team.

Needing two wins in their final four games to qualify for the WMass Tournament, the Eagles were tasked with four games against the top teams in the Tri-County League North.

Turns out, Franklin Tech was more than up to the task.

The visiting Eagles picked up a rare road victory at McCann Technical School Tuesday night. Tech didn’t take its first lead until there were three minutes left in the fourth quarter, but a 19-9 edge in the final stanza was enough to lift it to a 59-55 win in a TCL North contest. The win qualified the Eagles for the postseason with two games left to spare.

“Our league is the best it’s ever been this year, so looking on paper at our schedule, we knew every night that it was going to be a battle,” Franklin Tech head coach Matt Llewelyn said. “We really didn’t know where we were going to end up before the year, but with all the adversity these kids have faced, getting that 10th win with two games left is awesome.”

Franklin Tech (10-8, 4-4) trailed 46-40 entering the fourth quarter. But the Eagles battled back, and a 3-pointer from Jared Vielmetti-Perusse with three minutes remaining gave the visitors their first lead of the night.

Down the stretch, Jared Bergmann grabbed a key rebound and made a free throw to give the Eagles a two-possession lead. They closed things out with a strong defensive effort to pick up the win.

“It was a bit like stealing one tonight,” Llewelyn said. “Going on the road to McCann, that’s one of the toughest places to play on our schedule. Some way, somehow, we found a way to get a great team win.”

Bergmann and Seth Aldrich led the way for Tech with 17 points each. Garrett Cole joined them in double figures with 10 points, and Sim Maniatty tossed in 9 points.

McCann (9-7, 3-4) was led by Lukas Zelazo’s 14 points.

Franklin Tech heads on the road to play Baystate Academy Thursday night.

Girls’ games

Mohawk 47, Pope Francis 44 — The postseason pursuit stayed alive for Mohawk Trail Regional High School Tuesday night.

The Warriors moved into a first-place tie in the Franklin County League West Division thanks to a 47-44 win over Pope Francis High School in a game played in Chicopee.

“We played well, saw the floor really well tonight,” Mohawk head coach Larissa Miner lauded.

Emma Poplawski had a monster outing for Mohawk (7-12, 5-2), which can clinch a postseason berth with a win in its final game Friday night at home against McCann Tech (8-11, 5-2). That would earn the Warriors a top-two finish in the West. Poplawski totaled 16 points and pulled down 19 rebounds for a big double-double.

Grace Poplawski joined her sister in double figures with 11 points. Ashley Walker and Emmarae Reid added 8 each.

Mohawk trailed 36-36 entering the fourth quarter but Emma Poplawski came up with six key points in the final stanza to lift the Warriors to the much-needed victory.

Greenfield 71, Hopkins 47 — After shaking off a slow first quarter, Greenfield High School ran past Hopkins Academy for a solid FCL North victory Tuesday night.

Raegan Hickey scored 21 points and Samantha Smith added 19 to lead the Green Wave to a 71-47 win on First Responders Appreciation Night at Nichols Gymnasium in Greenfield.

Hopkins (7-11, 1-6) got off to a strong start on the road, and the Golden Hawks led 20-18 after one quarter before Greenfield (17-1, 6-0) settled down defensively.

The Green Wave took control in the second period, taking a 38-29 halftime advantage before pushing things into double digits quickly in the third.

Hickey added 8 assists and 7 rebounds in the win, while Smith pulled down 14 rebounds to go with her 19 points. Katie Haselton added 16 points, while Racquel Provost, Lizzy Howland and Bryanna Rivera all tossed in 4.

Newly-minted 1,000-point scorer Samantha Jenks led Hopkins with 18 points in the loss. Allison Kowal-Saffron hit four 3-pointers and finished with 16.

Greenfield can lock up sole possession of the North with a win Friday night. The Wave travel to Mahar Regional School.

Putnam 61, Pioneer 33 — Pioneer Valley Regional School couldn’t keep pace with host Putnam Vocational Technical Academy as the Panthers fell 61-33 in a Franklin South battle Tuesday night in Springfield.

Junior Olivia Rowe led the scoring for the Panthers with 14 points while senior Liz Lambert had 8.

Putnam senior Brianna Metellus led the scoring for the Beavers with 23 points, including a game-opening 3-pointer.

Both teams return to action Friday when Pioneer hosts Turners Falls in their final league game of the season, while Putnam travels to Southwick.

FC Tech 42, Smith Voke 16 — On the strength of a defensive effort that held visiting Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School scoreless in both the second and fourth quarters, Franklin County Technical School picked up a convincing 42-16 independent girls’ basketball game Tuesday night in Turners Falls.

Smith Voke (6-12) actually jumped out to a 10-5 lead after one quarter, but the Eagles (12-6) got their footing in the second and outscored the Vikings by a 16-0 margin to take a 21-10 lead at intermission.

“Smith Voke came out of the gates ready to play and my team started a bit slowly,” Franklin Tech coach Sean Knightly said. “It took a little over a quarter to get going but they buckled down on defense and that was the key.”

The Eagles led 32-16 after three quarters, and again held Smith off the board in the fourth en route to the 42-16 final.

Amber Merritt’s 10 points led all scorers for Tech. Jocelyn Crowningshield added 9 points while Jordan Hurlbert (7 points), Hailey Jackson (5) and Brooke Adams (5) all contributed offensively.

Franklin Tech has an interesting matchup Friday night when it hosts Duggan Academy. The two teams played an overtime game earlier this season with the Eagles coming out on top.