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Division 3 boys basketball: Easthampton runs on Monument to claim first WMass title in 15 years

  • Easthampton senior forward Darnel Whitley (12) gets a hug from junior forward Damien Diluzio as the Eagles celebrate their 81-74 win over Monument Mountain to take the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament title at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. Joining them are senior guard Sopie Pek, left, and junior center Jack Bacis, right. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton head coach Brian Miller talks with senior forward Darnel Whitley following the Eagles' 81-74 win over Monument Mountain in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton’s Ronan Mottor, left, Ant Moynihan and Sopie Pek hoist the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship trophy at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst, Saturday. They are flanked by team water boy Trevor Moynihan, 9, left, and coach Brian Miller, right. GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton junior center Ronan Mottor, right, and his Eagles teammates celebrate after defeating Monument Mountain, 81-74, to win the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament title at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton players Ronan Mottor, back row top, and, in front row from left, Darnel Whitley, Ant Moynihan, Sopie Pek and Zade Jenkins, celebrate their Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament title after defeating Monument Mountain, 81-74, at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. Water boy Trevor Moynihan, 9, holds the trophy for a team photo. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • The Easthampton Eagles celebrate their Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament title after defeating Monument Mountain, 81-74, at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • The Easthampton Eagles celebrate their Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament title after defeating Monument Mountain, 81-74, at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton junior center Ronan Mottor, left, and senior guards Ant Moynihan and Sopie Pek hoist the Division III West Champions trophy after the Eagles defeated Monument Mountain, 81-74, at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton junior center Ronan Mottor jumps for joy after the Eagles defeated Monument Mountain, 81-74, to win the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament title at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. Joining him are seniors, from top left, forward Darnel Whitley and guards Sopie Pek and Zade Jenkins. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton junior center Ronan Mottor, right, blocks a shot by Monument Mountain center Noah Helmke in the first half of the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst, Saturday. GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton senior guard Ant Moynihan, right, lays in two points under defense by Noel Powell of Monument Mountain in the first half of the Eagles' 81-74 win over the Spartans in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton senior guard Sopie Pek, left, attempts a shot over Graham Herrick of Monument Mountain in the first half of the Western Massachusetts Division 3 title game. GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton junior center Ronan Mottor, left, attempts an under-the-basket layup past Noah Helmke of Monument Mountain in the second half of the Eagles' 81-74 win over the Spartans in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton junior forward Drew Caires, top, attempts a shot over Monument Mountain defenders Noah Helmke (41) and Tristan Alston (21) in the second half of the Eagles' 81-74 win over the Spartans in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton head coach Brian Miller calls to his team in the first half of the Eagles' 81-74 win over Monument Mountain in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton senior forward Darnel Whitley, right, reaches for an offensive rebound against Monument Mountain defenders, from left, Dion Brown Jr., Noel Powell and Noah Helmke, in background, in the second half of the Eagles' 81-74 win over the Spartans in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton junior center Ronan Mottor, right, bats away a shot by Monument Mountain center Noah Helmke in the first half of the Eagles' 81-74 win over the Spartans in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton senior guard Ant Moynihan, right, drives to the basket past Monument Mountain defenders, from left, Noah Helmke, Ty Higgins and Kevin Troiano in the second half of the Eagles' 81-74 win over the Spartans in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton head coach Brian Miller huddles with his team in the second half of the Eagles' 81-74 win over Monument Mountain in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton senior forward Darnel Whitley, center, puts pressure on an in-bound pass by Kevin Troiano, left, of Monument Mountain to Caleb Carlson, right, in the second half of the Eagles' 81-74 win over the Spartans in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton senior forward Darnel Whitley reaches over Graham Herrick of Monument Mountain for a loose ball in the second half of the Eagles' 81-74 win over the Spartans in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. At right are Eagle senior guards Sopie Pek and Ant Moynihan (13). —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton senior guards Ant Moynihan, left, and Sopie Pek, background, celebrate with junior center Ronan Mottor who sank a shot after being fouled by Caleb Carlson of Monument Mountain in the second half of the Eagles' 81-74 win over the Spartans in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton senior guard Zade Jenkins takes the fast break past Graham Herrick, left, and Caleb Carlson, right, of Monument Mountain in the first half of the Eagles' 81-74 win over the Spartans in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Easthampton head coach Brian Miller calls to his team in the first half of the Eagles' 81-74 win over Monument Mountain in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst on Saturday, March 10, 2018. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING



For the Gazette
Monday, March 12, 2018

AMHERST — With five minutes left in the third quarter, Ant Moynihan pulled up with his feet touching the UMass logo at Curry Hicks Cage, about 27 feet from the basket. He drilled the shot and gave Easthampton a seven-point lead in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament championship.

The Eagles never looked back and rode the momentum to an 81-74 victory over Monument Mountain, Saturday, for their first sectional title in 15 years.

“It feels amazing,” Moynihan said. “This is two years of work and I just want to go get a state (championship) now.”

Moynihan was 4-for-7 from behind the arc and led all scorers with 27 points.

A minute prior to that shot from Moynihan, the Spartans had amounted a comeback, cutting the Easthampton lead to 60-56.

Easthampton led by 13 at halftime, but Monument made adjustments in the third quarter that proved effective. The Spartans began to play more up-tempo and on several possessions in the third and early in the fourth quarter, Monument Mountain already had a player streaking down the court for an easy layup before the defense of Easthampton could set.

Kevin Troiano was getting isolation plays called for him and scored 11 of his team-high 23 points in the fourth for the Spartans.

“He was trouble,” Easthampton coach Brian Miller said. “We were trying to just back off a little bit, just make him prove himself from the outside but he would just close the distance and then go by us which doesn’t happen to us a lot.”

Easthampton point guard Sopie Pek finished with seven points, all in the fourth quarter, and eight assists.

“They just collapsed on me every time I was in the paint,” Pek said. “So I would just find the open guy and dish it off.”

Only four players scored for the Eagles in the first half, and the same four players — Moynihan, Zade Jenkins, Ronan Motter (19 points) and Darnel Whitley (18 points) — accounted for all but 10 of the Eagles’ total points in the game. Only two bench players saw floor time for Easthampton.

“We’re in incredible shape, these guys work hard,” Miller said of his team’s endurance.

“Really, we don’t need to (make substitutions) unless we get into foul trouble because they can run all day. Jack (Bacis) and Drew (Caires), coming off the bench, do a great job for us when they come in, but when you have this sort of skill and speed and athleticism out there we just want to run with that because it’s tough for other teams to matchup.”

Easthampton (18-5) will play Sutton (18-6), Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at American International College in the state semifinals.

That’s gives the Eagles a couple days to bask in its sectional crown.

“We’re just so ... shocked,” Whitley said.

Easthampton 81,
Monument Mountain 74

Easthampton (18-5)

Pek 2-3-7, Mottor 8-1-19, Caires 1-1-3, Whitley 8-2-18, Moynihan 10-3-27, Jenkins 3-0-7, Bacis 0-0-0. Totals: 32-10-81

Monument (19-4)

Higgins 1-0-3, Brown 1-0-2, Power 2-0-4, Alston 2-0-4, Carlson 1-2-4,Troiano 10-2-23, Brownson 1-0-2, Herrick 10-0-20, Helmke 4-3-12. Totals: 32-7-74

EHS

21

18

19

23

—81

MM

13

15

22

24

—49

3-Pointers—Easthampton 7 (Moynihan 4, Mottor 2, Jenkins) Monument 3 (Higgins, Troiano, Helmke)