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Division 4 boys basketball: Pioneer Regional ends Hopkins Academy’s reign

  • Hopkins' Justin Ciaglo (12) attempts a three-pointer in the second quarter against Pioneer, on Saturday, Mar. 26, 2018 at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Hopkins Academy guard John Earle, center, shots over Pioneer defenders Jordan Loughman, left, and Ryan Underwood in the second quarter, Saturday. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Hopkins' Jonathan Morrison (25) goes in for a layup in the second quarter against Pioneer, on Saturday, Mar. 26, 2018 at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Hopkins' Jonathan Morrison (25) hits a three-pointer in the second quarter against Pioneer, on Saturday, Mar. 26, 2018 at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Hopkins' Nathan Kelley (14) puts up a jumper in the second quarter against Pioneer, on Saturday, Mar. 26, 2018 at Curry Hicks Cage in Amherst. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Hopkins Academy seniors Jon Morrison, from left, Nathan Kelley and Butterfield receive the Western Massachusetts Division 4 finalist trophy after losing to Pioneer Regional in the championship game, Saturday at Curry Hicks Cage. Coach Angelo Thomas looks on. Recorder Staff/Dan Little



For the Gazette
Sunday, March 11, 2018

AMHERST — The three-time defending champion and No. 1 seed Hopkins Academy boys basketball team fell, 59-53, to No. 3 Pioneer Regional in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 Tournament championship, Saturday afternoon at Curry Hicks Cage.

The contest was the third time these teams met this season. The Golden Hawks won both previous games 60-46 on Dec. 29 and 71-44 on Feb. 5.

“Pioneer brought it and we didn’t,” Hopkins coach Angelo Thomas said. “That’s what it comes down to.”

The Panthers doubled up the Golden Hawks in the opening eight minutes, 18-9, putting Hopkins on its heels for the rest of the game. Pioneer was anchored by its second-chance opportunities and fast-break points.

“Not really much you can say, just got to bring it and we didn’t bring it from the get-go,” Thomas said. “You can only talk about that stuff for so long, until you’re blue in the face; it’s got to be them that has to perform.”

Seniors Justin Ciaglo, John Earle, Nathan Kelley, Justin Butterfield and Jon Morrison played their final game for Hopkins.

Morrison led Hopkins with 24 points, including nine in the third quarter as the Golden Hawks attempted to rally. Earle chipped in with 13 while Ciaglo added nine.

With 3 minutes, 4 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the ball found its way to a posted Caleb Graves, who banked in a basket to give Hopkins its first lead, 46-45, since early in the first quarter.

Then Garrett Cote sank back-to-back 3-pointers to retake the lead for Pioneer, 51-46, with just over 2 minutes left. The junior hit a game-winning 3-pointer in Pioneers’ 69-68 semifinal victory over Drury on Monday night.

“He had zero points at halftime,” Thomas said. “Until about four minutes to go in the game, and then he hits three 3’s and he ends up with 14. He’s still riding high from the other night. Big players make big plays.”

Earle found himself at the foul line for a one-and-one opportunity, where he added one to bring Hopkins within four. Cote hit another long 3-pointer before Morrison answered with a 10-foot jumper to make it 54-49.

The Golden Hawks, racing to stop the clock, sent Cote to the line for a one-and-one.

He hit the first and missed the second. Ciaglo added a free throw on the next possession to make it 55-50 with 40.6 remaining.

The Panthers added a layup before Ciaglo threw up a 3-pointer with 33.8 seconds left to inch closer, 57-53. Hopkins called for a timeout and came out fouling.

Two last-second free throws from Pioneer finished off the contest. The Panthers went 5-for-16 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, but the deficit was too much for the Golden Hawks to overcome.

Cote led Pioneer with 14 points while senior Jordan Loughman chipped in 12. Karl Wheeler and Brendan Emond each added 11.

“Playing catch-up is tough. Hats off to Pioneer; they brought it,” Thomas said. “These are all life lessons that they learn with this. When you don’t bring it from the get-go, in anything in life, you got an opportunity to lose.”​​​​​​

Pioneer Regional 59,
Hopkins Academy 53

Pioneer Regional (19-5)

T. Emond 0-2-2, Cote 5-1-14, Wheeler 4-2-11, Loughman 6-0-12, Hubbard 2-0-4, B. Emond 4-3-11, Menard 2-0-5. Totals 23-8-59

Hopkins Academy (20-3)

J. Ciaglo 2-3-9, Earle 3-6-13, Kelley 0-0-0, Butterfield 0-0-0, A. Ciaglo 0-0-0, Morrison 10-2-24, Graves 3-0-6, Tudryn 0-1-1. Totals 18-12-53.

Pioneer Regional

18

11

16

14

—59

Hopkins Academy

9

14

15

15

—53

3-Pointers—3-pointers: Pioneer 5 (Cote 3, Wheeler, Menard), Hopkins 5 (J. Ciaglo 2, Earle, Morrison 2)