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Northampton boys ease by Agawam in Division 1 first round

Northampton — Led by the stellar play of star players Jake Ross and Justin Burgos, the Northampton boys basketball team blew out Agawam 80-60 Monday in the first round of the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Tournament.

“It’s always nice to get a playoff victory,” Northampton head coach Rey Harp said. “We did a lot of things well tonight. We successively established a rhythm on offense that we previously lost at some points during the season. We knocked down shots, we explored our depth and we certainly did an excellent job defensively.”

The Blue Devils were dominant and controlled the game, exerting their will on both ends of the floor. On defense, they defended the rim, got into passing lanes and created many turnovers. On offense, they shot 43 percent from the field, draining 12 3-pointers, five of which belonged to Burgos, who scored a team-high 23 points.

“My jump shot was on tonight so I just keep shooting the ball,” said Burgos. “When it wasn’t, I made it a point to penetrate and kick the ball out to open teammates. We were just playing as a team.”

Ross scored 20 points and was a presence on the glass for the entire game.

“We were well-prepared coming into this game,” said Ross. “We defended really well and we played as a unit. We knew that they had a great player in (Tyler) Desrosiers, but we also knew that we are one of the best teams in western Massachusetts and also one of the deepest. That is what makes us dangerous. It makes us hard to prepare for and it gives us a chance to make a really big run in this tournament and hopefully win it.”

Northampton (13-7) will travel to No. 3 West Springfield (20-2) Thursday for a 7 p.m. quarterfinal game.

“All I want is to hopefully compete,” said Harp. “With our versatility we can win a lot of different ways but in the end I want us to compete and go out and play harder than the other team. As long as we can do that, we’ll be fine.”

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