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Hampshire loses big lead as Greenfield rallies for Hoophall Classic win

  • Greenfield’s Smantha Smith takes the ball up over Hampshire Regional’s Katelyn Pickunka, left, and Caitlyn Pellegrini in the first quarter, Friday Springfield College’s Blake Arena. Greenfield defeated Hampshire 70-62 at the Hoophall Classic. J. ANTHONY ROBERTS



@kylegrbwsk
Saturday, January 13, 2018

SPRINGFIELD — Hampshire Regional thrived in the chaos.

The Raiders’ press staked them an 18-point lead over the Greenfield girls basketball team, Friday at Springfield College’s Blake Arena.

The Green Wave committed 22 turnovers in the first half that led to 13 Hampshire points.

“We love running, we love being that chaotic, creating that energy, tiring out the other team,” Hampshire senior Katelyn Pickunka said. “That’s a huge part of our game.”

The chaos betrayed them in the second half. Greenfield erased a 22-point deficit to beat Hampshire, 70-62, at the Hoophall Classic.

It started with a 7-0 Greenfield run to open the second half.

“I’m really proud they didn’t give up,” Greenfield coach John Hickey said. “They could have tanked it at halftime.”

The Green Wave (8-1) chipped away throughout the second half. They outscored Hampshire 17-7 in the third. Raegan Hickey, who led Greenfield with 19 points, cut the deficit to single digits with an and-1 layup with 18 seconds remaining. It was the first time Hampshire led by single digits since there was 2:25 left in the first quarter.

“I think we got tired, then our offense got very stagnant,” Hampshire coach Amy Cyr said. “It’s a roller-coaster game. If we kept the intensity on, we’d be having a different conversation.”

Even when the offense got stagnant, Pickunka carried it. She scored 34 points, her second consecutive 30-point game and third time over 30 this season.

But Greenfield kept coming. Katie Haselton cut Hampshire’s lead to one possession with a layup with 5:14 remaining.

Samantha Smith tied the game at 50 with a tip-in 40 seconds later. She finished with 12 points and 20 rebounds. It was the game’s first tie since 4-4.

“They just sucked it up mentally and came back,” John Hickey said. “They started to believe in themselves.”

Greenfield took its first lead 58-56 when Raegan Hickey made a layup after breaking the press with 2:45 left.

Pickunka tied the game on three straight possessions after that as Greenfield tried to pull ahead.

“Katelyn had a monster game, she played so well around the rim,” Cyr said. “But we need to win as a team. The more and more we can get others to step up and contribute, the better.”

Caroline O’Connor and Maddie Pond each scored 12 for the Raiders (8-1). Hampshire’s only other scorer was Lila Labrie with four points.

Greenfield went ahead for good with 1:20 left. Hickey penetrated to draw the defense and found Elizabeth Howland for a wide-open layup and a 64-62 lead.

“In tough situations like that you just have to stay calm and focus on what’s really important,” Raegan Hickey said.

O’Connor fouled out on the next possession diving for a loose ball. When the foul was called, she pointed at herself and asked, “Me?” in disbelief.

Hampshire struggled to rebound after that. Hickey made a jumper with 54 seconds left to push Greenfield’s lead to four points, and the Green Wave hit four free throws down the stretch to end the game on an 8-0 run.

It was Hampshire’s first loss of the season.

“Ultimately we’ll be able to watch this film and grow,” Cyr said. “I wouldn’t change anything about being here and having this experience.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com.