Division 4 boys basketball: Hopkins Academy returns to postseason, beats Smith Vocational 81-55

Last modified: Saturday, March 01, 2014
HADLEY — The Hopkins Academy boys basketball team defeated McCann Tech 81-55 on Tuesday and will advance to the second round of the Western Massachusetts Division 4 Tournament.

For the sixth-seeded Golden Hawks (13-8), tempo was the key. They applied constant pressure, trapped the Hornets each possession and clogged passing lanes. This defense turned into offense as they ran past the 11th-seeded Hornets (13-8).

Sophomore guard Brett Morrison led the fast-paced Hopkins attack and finished with 19 points. He was the catalyst of the offense, beating the McCann defense down the floor all night.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised with Brett all year. He just brings it. He works and works,” Hopkins coach Angelo Thomas said. “He’s a really good defender, and has one of the sweetest shots I’ve seen in a long time. Plus, he’s only gonna get better.”

The tournament win represented a tremendous turnaround from last year’s 3-16 season. The Golden Hawks, who had not played in the postseason since 2004, were 0-20 two season ago.

Now, the Golden Hawks will play at No. 3 Granby (17-4) at 7 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinals. Granby beat Smith Vocational 97-40 to advance. Thomas said a victory would require an even stronger effort than Tuesday.

“We have to play our absolute A-plus game. It’s going to take defensive pressure, knowing who can score, and grabbing a lot of rebounds,” he said. “Our rotations need to be a bit quicker, our traps need to be harder. If we want to get to the (Curry Hicks) Cage everything needs to be harder Friday night.”

On Tuesday, the Golden Hawks’ offense was extremely balanced, and used quick passes to throw the Hornets defense out of position. Zach Kelly and Alex Curran each finished with 11 points, while Spencer Butterfield tallied 13.

Hopkins jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead to start the game and led 41-18 at halftime. McCann fought back with a strong third quarter, outscoring the Eagles 18-16.

“Well, I told them after the third quarter, they scored 18 points and I wasn’t too happy with that,” Thomas said. “I said, ‘We’re gonna keep our foot on the pedal ’till I say to take it off.’ They take what I say to heart.”

The Golden Hawks responded with a 24-point fourth quarter, including a dominate 18-3 run that gave Hopkins a 76-39 lead with 4:30 left in the game.

Shane Fuller had 17 points, while Rahmer Vincent had 16 points for McCann.