Belchertown girls basketball takes control over Hopkins
Tea Spellacy of Belchertown, center, shoots between Hopkins Academy defenders Kyra Michalak, left, and McKenzie Sullivan Thursday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Marissa Kopacz of Belchertown, right, shoots while defended by Nicole Morrison of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Jackie Soucia of Belchertown, right, drives past Kate Sullivan of Hopkins Academy for a shot Thursday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Kate Sullivan of Hopkins Academy, left, grabs a rebound beside Jillian Cavanaugh of Belchertown Thursday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Sarah Woodcock of Belchertown, left, shoots beside Hopkins Academy defenders Madi Stevens, center, and Kate Sullivan Thursday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Kate Sullivan of Hopkins Academy, left, comes down with a rebound beside Jillian Cavanaugh of Belchertown, center, and teammate Madi Stevens Thursday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Jillian Cavanaugh, right, shoots against McKenzie Sullivan of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Jillian Cavanaugh of Belchertown, center, rebounds between Hopkins Academy defenders Nicole Morrison, left, and Kate Sullivan Thursday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Kelsey Shea of Belchertown, left, shoots beside Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
Marissa Kopacz of Belchertown, right, shoots against Nicole Morrison of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins. Purchase photo reprints »
HADLEY — Sometimes, the first step to a victory can simply be a fast start.
That was the case for the Belchertown girls basketball team Thursday night, as it jumped out to a 21-4 lead and knocked off Hopkins Academy 42-32 in open the season.
“The first 12 minutes of the game we looked unbelievable, we looked like we were in midseason form,” said Belchertown coach Jason Woodcock.
Point guard Téa Spellacy, who served as the team’s sixth man last season, scored 15 points, dished out four assists and collected six steals.
“She’s our best offensive player ... she was excellent today,” said Woodcock.
Spellacy sparked her team to a 13-4 first-quarter advantage with five points, three steals and two assists. The Orioles’ tenacious defense contributed to Hopkins converting just two first-quarter field goals and committing eight turnovers.
“We strive on our defense, it’s been our mantra for years,” said Woodcock. “I told the girls I wanted to hold them to 30 points, so we were right in the ballpark.”
The Orioles (1-0) opened the second quarter on an 8-0 run to push the lead to 21-4.
Kate Sullivan broke a long scoring drought for the Golden Hawks (0-1) with a 3-pointer with three minutes remaining in the half. Hopkins clawed its way back into contention with an 11-3 run to close the half and pull within 24-15 at the break.
“The wheels came off a little bit there and we let them back into the game,” said Woodcock.
Hopkins coach Fred Ciaglo said he was proud of the way his team bounced back.
“Basketball’s a game of runs and we started to bang down some 3s and make a little run,” he said.
However, that nine-point deficit never got smaller as Belchertown had a response for every Golden Hawks’ run.
Spellacy turned a number of steals into coast-to-coast layups and forwards Marissa Kopacz and Jillian Cavanaugh contributed as well.
Kopacz tied Spellacy with 15 points and added eight rebounds, while Cavanaugh provided defensive stability in the paint and also hauled down 13 rebounds.
“She’s an amazing rebounder, she’s very, very stong,” said Woodcock of Cavanaugh.
The Golden Hawks had a number of open looks to chip away at the lead in the final four minutes, but came up empty each time.
“We had a few opportunities, we just couldn’t knock down that big shot to get us going,” said Ciaglo.
After a strong first half, the Orioles outscored Hopkins by one point over the remaining three quarters.
“We got cold in the second half and missed a bunch of layups, but we’ll take the win,” said Woodcock.
Olivia Mathieu led the way for the Golden Hawks with 14 points, including 12 in the second half. Kate Sullivan chipped in seven points.
Both teams are back in action Tuesday with the Orioles hosting Monson and Hopkins on the road against Turners Falls.