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Lenox stifles Gateway Regional in Division 3 quarterfinal loss

LENOX — Kaitlyn Mastello’s three-point play 1 minutes, 50 seconds into the first half gave fifth-seeded Gateway a 3-2 lead over No. 4 Lenox in a Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament quarterfinal Friday night.

Unfortunately for the Gators, the rest of the night belonged to the Millionaires, who held the visitors to seven points in the first half en route to a 54-20 win.

“It was a tough night for us,” Gateway coach Elijah Robbins said.

Lenox led 32-7 at halftime and had forced 20 of Gateway’s 37 turnovers in the opening 16 minutes. The Gators went scoreless for the final 4:14 of the first quarter and 6:58 of the second before Arielle Baillegeron banked in a shot with 1:12 left in the half.

“This is definitely a step up in competition from what we usually see in our regular league play. It makes it tough to get ready for when you don’t see it most of the regular season,” Robbins said. “They did pretty much exactly what we knew they were going to do. They’re a very disciplined team, which makes them very tough to guard.”

Hayden Zinchuk had a game-high 20 points, nine rebounds and five steals for Lenox, while Liz Mitts had 18 points, six boards and five steals.

It actually took the Millionaires a little while to get going. They were 1 for 5 from the floor in the opening three minutes and trailed when Gateway’s Mastello hit a three-point play with 6:10 left.

Mastello was one of three Gators to score four points.

The Millionaires took the lead on their next trip downcourt. Kathy Prescott missed a shot, Zinchuk rebounded and threw a nifty pass to Mitts for the soft jumper in the lane that made it 4-3.

That foretold how the rest of the quarter would play out. Mitts had eight of her team’s 17 points in the quarter and had 12 at halftime.

Many of her shots came after nice passes around and into Gateway’s 2-3 zone.

The Gators seemed to run most of its players at the ball, leaving the back door open.

The guards “swung the ball really quickly, which helped shift the defense and get it inside to me and Hayden,” said Mitts.

Point guard Jaclyn Gigliotti had six assists and the Millionaires had 15 assists to eight turnovers.

The Millionaires will play Sabis Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Curry Hicks Cage. The top-seeded Bulldogs beat Monson 57-32. The Lenox-Sabis game is a rematch of last year’s title game, won by the Bulldogs.

It was the final game for Gateway seniors Brooke Fairman and Mastello.

Lenox “shot the ball well. We tried a couple of different things,” Robbins said. “Things just didn’t seem to be working for us tonight.”

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