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Seniors lead Amherst in first-round blowout

  • Fahmi Farah of Amherst, left, and Evan Lonova of Pittsfield eye a loose ball Monday in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Fahmi Farah of Amherst, left, and Evan Lonova of Pittsfield eye a loose ball Monday in Amherst.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Tom Cook of Amherst, right, eyes the ball after stripping it from Ty Discoe of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Tom Cook of Amherst, right, eyes the ball after stripping it from Ty Discoe of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Justin Carey of Amherst, right, drives to the basket ahead of Scott Stewman of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.JERREY ROBERTS

    Justin Carey of Amherst, right, drives to the basket ahead of Scott Stewman of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Noris Cuevas-Nova of Amherst, left, shoots against Tanner Hawford of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Noris Cuevas-Nova of Amherst, left, shoots against Tanner Hawford of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Reed Bixby of Amherst, left, shoots against Jason Boulais of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Reed Bixby of Amherst, left, shoots against Jason Boulais of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Fahmi Farah of Amherst, right, shoots against Evan Lonova of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Fahmi Farah of Amherst, right, shoots against Evan Lonova of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Noris Cuevas-Nova of Amherst, front, moves the ball against Amancho Adopo of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Noris Cuevas-Nova of Amherst, front, moves the ball against Amancho Adopo of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Fahmi Farah of Amherst, left, and Evan Lonova of Pittsfield eye a loose ball Monday in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Tom Cook of Amherst, right, eyes the ball after stripping it from Ty Discoe of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Justin Carey of Amherst, right, drives to the basket ahead of Scott Stewman of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.JERREY ROBERTS
  • Noris Cuevas-Nova of Amherst, left, shoots against Tanner Hawford of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Reed Bixby of Amherst, left, shoots against Jason Boulais of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Fahmi Farah of Amherst, right, shoots against Evan Lonova of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Noris Cuevas-Nova of Amherst, front, moves the ball against Amancho Adopo of Pittsfield Monday in Amherst.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

AMHERST — A pair of seniors for the Amherst Regional boys basketball team will no doubt remember their final game in the home gymnasium on Monday night.

Noris Cuevas-Nova posted a triple-double and Justin Carey scored a team-high 22 points as the Hurricanes steamrolled Pittsfield 93-67 in a Western Massachusetts Division 1 first round game.

“Our fans give us a lot of support, and we loved playing in this gym because they hype us up,” Cuevas-Nova said. “Hopefully our fans will travel with us the rest of the way and we can have an atmosphere kind of like this place.”

Cuevas-Nova finished with 17 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists for his first triple-double of the season.

“I was aware I had a chance at it,” he said. “It felt great to get that last assist I needed. We knew that it’s playoff time now, and we went out there and played like a family tonight. We played as one, swung the ball well and everything opened up.”

The No. 5 Hurricanes (15-6) had 12 different players score points in advancing to a quarterfinal at Holyoke (14-6) Thursday night at 7 p.m.

“We have everything we need, but we see ourselves as the underdogs, so we have a chip on our shoulder and play hard all the time,” said Cuevas-Nova.

With the win, the Hurricanes finished with a 8-1 home record.

“One of our goals was to go undefeated here, but we had a slipup against East Longmeadow,” said Amherst coach Jim Matuszko. “This team has the will to win. A lot of these guys play other sports and have experienced success, so they know what it takes.”

Carey knocked down four of Amherst’s 10 3-pointers on the night. Junior Tom Cook was a perfect 10 for 10 from the field for 20 points, while also adding seven rebounds and three blocks.

“We know we have some top talent and we also have depth,” Matuszko said. “So I feel we’re a tough matchup for any team if we play our best.”

Cook, Sam Hird and Reed Bixby patrolled the lane on defense as the Generals missed numerous attempts from close in the first half. The entire ’Canes defense stifled Pittsfield, limiting it to just six made field goals before halftime.

“We practice that 2-3 every day, that’s our strongest defense,” said Cuevas-Nova. “We knew they had one really good player who we had to stay in front of. When he tried to drive, he didn’t have enough room to operate. They got frustrated early on, and that’s how we like to take teams out of the game.”

No. 12 Piitsfield (13-8) trailed 22-4 after one quarter and 48-15 at the half before outscoring Amherst 52-45 in the second half.

“We focused on playing aggressively on the defensive end,” said Matuszko. “That’s how we played early in the season, but we’d gotten away from it later in the season. We gave up 52 points in the second half and allowed a lot of 3s, which I wasn’t thrilled about.”

Amancho Adopo, who played the entire game, scored a game-high 23 points for Pittsfield. But nobody else finished with more than seven.

The game got off to a slow start for both teams in the early minutes. However, Carey and Cuevas-Nova started to heat up by the midway point of the first quarter. They combined for 18 of Amherst’s 22 points as the ‘Canes burst to a leads of 9-0 and 18-2.

It didn’t get much better for Pittsfield in the second quarter, as Amherst embarked on an 18-3 run to start the quarter to go up 40-9. Cook scored 10 of his points during that stretch.

Pittsfield closed the gap to 29 early in the fourth, then scored the last seven points of the game.

Holyoke defeated Amherst 70-46 on Dec. 16, but Cuevas-Nova and James Sowers didn’t play that night.

“I’m really hungry for that win, we’re going to come at them,” Cuevas-Nova said. “I’ve played Holyoke a couple times earlier in my career, so I know enough about them. They’re a really good team and it’s a tough atmosphere there, but we got something for them.”

“They’re very quick and athletic, but they don’t have the size we have,” said Matuszko. “I hope we can score a lot more than 46 points, which can give us a chance.”

Michael Wilkinson can be reached at mwilkinson@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @mjwilk1237.

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