Division 4 boys basketball: three-time champ Hopkins Academy crushes Ware to reach championship

For the Gazette
Monday, March 05, 2018

AMHERST — The Hopkins Academy boys basketball team blew past Ware, 86-54, to advance to the Western Massachusetts Division 4 Tournament championship, Monday night at the Curry Hicks Cage.

Hopkins improves to 21-2 while Ware ends its season 16-7.

The top-seeded Golden Hawks (20-2) will face No. 3 Pioneer Regional (17-5), which knocked off No. 2 Drury (17-5) with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, 68-67, prior to Hopkins’ win.

Hopkins and Pioneer will meet for a third time this season, Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at the Cage.

“I thought in spurts we did very well, we paid attention to what we were supposed to do. We really didn’t lose focus all that much tonight,” Hopkins coach Angelo Thomas said. “Ware is a really good team. But I’m glad that we’re going to be back here on Saturday.”

Hopkins was led by Jon Morrison, who had 27 points while going 6-for-8 from the foul line. John Earle chipped in with 21 points, including three first-half 3-pointers that contributed to the early lead.

Despite not scoring in the fourth quarter, Justin Ciaglo added 18 points and went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.

“I saw a lot of smiles out there and those three are very tough to guard,” Thomas said. “When we have our role players doing what they’re supposed to do we’re a tough team to beat.”

An 11-0 run in the middle of the first quarter left the Indians panicked as Hopkins entered the second quarter with a 28-11 lead. Ciaglo hit his second 3-pointer just as the opening quarter ended.

The Indians went 11-for-20 from the foul line through the first two quarters and trailed 49-30 at the break.

“We came out hot and that’s how we have to start,” Earle said. “We got our roll on, we pushed it the way we wanted to and it worked out.”

Ware opened the second half with a fast-break layup and a 3-pointer, though Morrison and Nathan Kelley answered with strong plays in the paint to sustain the lead, 53-35.

Later in the third, Earle posted a 6-2 run by himself to put Hopkins ahead, 61-40.

“I think these guys are really enjoying it and having fun out there,” Thomas said. “The pressure is there but it’s not really because we know what we need to do and we’re just having fun doing it.”

The Golden Hawks outscore Ware, 22-11, in the fourth as both teams emptied their benches.

The Indians were led by Ryan Johnson and Devin Slattery, who both contributed 11 points.

The three-time defending sectional champions beat Pioneer both times during the season.

“Playing a team three times in one year is going to be tough, so I’m looking forward to it,” Thomas said. “We just got to come out and play Hopkins basketball, that’s it.”

Hopkins Academy 86, Ware 54

Ware (16-6)

Viera 1-2-4, Johnson 3-5-11, Di. Slattery 1-0-3, Soltys 2-3-8, Dilone 4-1-10, De. Slattery 3-2-11, Orszulak 0-0-0, Smith 3-0-7, Doty 1-0-2. Totals 18-13-54

Hopkins Academy (20-2)

J. Ciaglo 4-7-18, Earle 9-0-21, Kelley 2-0-4, Butterfield 0-1-1, Waldon 1-0-2, A. Ciaglo 1-0-3, Morrison 10-6-27, Graves 2-3-7, Tudryn 1-0-3. Totals 30-17-86











3-Pointers—Hopkins 9 (J. Ciaglo 3, Earle 3, A. Ciaglo, Morrison), Ware 5 (Soltys, Dillon Slattery, Dilone, Devin Slattery, Smith)