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Olivia Mathieu hits 1,000; Easthampton takes title

  • Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy, second from left, celebrates her 1000th career point with her parents, Hank Mathieu, left, and Susan Moran and her grandfather, Henry Mathieu, during a game against Easthampton Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy, second from left, celebrates her 1000th career point with her parents, Hank Mathieu, left, and Susan Moran and her grandfather, Henry Mathieu, during a game against Easthampton Thursday at Hopkins.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy, right, scores her 1000th career point while defended by Ali Dabek of Easthampton Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy, right, scores her 1000th career point while defended by Ali Dabek of Easthampton Thursday at Hopkins.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy receives congratulations by her team after scoring her 1000th career point Thursday during a game against Easthampton at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy receives congratulations by her team after scoring her 1000th career point Thursday during a game against Easthampton at Hopkins.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hopkins Academy students cheer for Olivia Mathieu and the rest of the team Thursday during a game against Easthampton at Hopkins. Mathieu passed the 1000-point milestone during the game.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Hopkins Academy students cheer for Olivia Mathieu and the rest of the team Thursday during a game against Easthampton at Hopkins. Mathieu passed the 1000-point milestone during the game.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ali Dabek of Easthampton, left, shoots beside Kate Sullivan of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Ali Dabek of Easthampton, left, shoots beside Kate Sullivan of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kelly Avard of Easthampton, left, shoots against Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Kelly Avard of Easthampton, left, shoots against Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Elizabeth Whitney of Easthampton, left, and Mackenzie Sullivan of Hopkins Academy try to wrestle for the ball from each other Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Elizabeth Whitney of Easthampton, left, and Mackenzie Sullivan of Hopkins Academy try to wrestle for the ball from each other Thursday at Hopkins.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ali Dabek of Easthampton, left, shoots beside Kate Sullivan of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Ali Dabek of Easthampton, left, shoots beside Kate Sullivan of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kelly Avard of Easthampton, left, shoots against Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Kelly Avard of Easthampton, left, shoots against Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Elizabeth Whitney of Easthampton, left, and Mackenzie Sullivan of Hopkins Academy try to wrestle for the ball from each other Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Elizabeth Whitney of Easthampton, left, and Mackenzie Sullivan of Hopkins Academy try to wrestle for the ball from each other Thursday at Hopkins.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy, second from left, celebrates her 1000th career point with her parents, Hank Mathieu, left, and Susan Moran and her grandfather, Henry Mathieu, during a game against Easthampton Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy, right, scores her 1000th career point while defended by Ali Dabek of Easthampton Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy receives congratulations by her team after scoring her 1000th career point Thursday during a game against Easthampton at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Hopkins Academy students cheer for Olivia Mathieu and the rest of the team Thursday during a game against Easthampton at Hopkins. Mathieu passed the 1000-point milestone during the game.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Ali Dabek of Easthampton, left, shoots beside Kate Sullivan of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Kelly Avard of Easthampton, left, shoots against Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Elizabeth Whitney of Easthampton, left, and Mackenzie Sullivan of Hopkins Academy try to wrestle for the ball from each other Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Ali Dabek of Easthampton, left, shoots beside Kate Sullivan of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Kelly Avard of Easthampton, left, shoots against Olivia Mathieu of Hopkins Academy Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Elizabeth Whitney of Easthampton, left, and Mackenzie Sullivan of Hopkins Academy try to wrestle for the ball from each other Thursday at Hopkins.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

First, Hopkins Academy girls basketball senior Olivia Mathieu scored her 1,000th career point.

Then, Easthampton used a dominant second-half effort en route to a Franklin South-clinching 41-31 victory.

“I feel very relieved that (the milestone) happened,” said Mathieu, whose team remains one win shy of clinching a berth in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament. “I don’t have that pressure anymore. Obviously, this goal is secondary to the goals we have as a team. I want us to do well and I really wanted to get a win and get into the tournament, but that will have to wait until next week.”

Mathieu entered the game needing four points to become the 18th player in school history and eighth girl to reach the mark.

Her first two came on a steal and fast-break layup in the first quarter, sending the packed crowd into a chant of “Two more points! Two more points!”

“This town, we have a great turnout, great support, great tradition,” Hopkins coach Fred Ciaglo said. “That’s why I coach here. I love this town and I love coaching here.”

The 1,000th point came in the half-court offense. Mathieu worked her way into the low post on the left side and took a feed by Lacey Waskiewicz. Mathieu pulled up for a turnaround jumper, which rolled in with 6 minutes, 37 seconds left in the second quarter.

The game was stopped and Mathieu was congratulated by family, friends, teammates and her opponents, including coach Jay Fortier and Easthampton’s own senior 1,000-point scorer Elizabeth Whitney.

“The atmosphere is always great here,” said Mathieu, who finished with a game-high 13 points to go with six rebounds and five steals. “That’s one thing I love about playing here and playing for my school and my town. I feel very supported by my whole town and I’m very happy to have played here for the past four years.”

The big basket gave Hopkins (9-8, 9-6 Franklin South) a 15-11 lead, but the Eagles (15-3, 13-3) took control soon after.

Easthampton finished the half on an 11-7 run to pull even at 22-22 at halftime. Five different players scored a basket during that run, and the Eagles carried that momentum into the second half.

“I told the kids before (the game) that this is what high school basketball is all about,” Eagles coach Jay Fortier said. “This is what it should be in every gym we go to. I had a gym that used to be like this back in the day (at Hampshire Regional). This is what it’s about. I said to them that if you can’t get up for this, you can’t get up. And they did. They rose to the occasion.”

Hopkins managed just three points in the third quarter and nine total in the second half as the Eagles continuously pulled away.

“We got into another rut. That’s something we have to improve on if we want to do well in the tournament,” said Mathieu, who is headed to St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. “We have to stay consistent through the whole game. It’s something we’ve struggled with all season. We have to turn that around.”

Easthampton overcame the first single-digit night of the season for Whitney (nine points), the leading scorer in western Massachusetts who entered the game at 20.5 points per game.

“That’s a testament to” Ciaglo, Fortier said. “They played great ‘D.’ That diamond-and-one, whatever he was playing, we tried everything. We tried four different offenses to get her the rock and we couldn’t. But I think I got kids who can play a little bit.

“Everybody says we are a one-man team, and that’s just not the case.”

Courtney Nelson-DeNucce had nine points on three 3-pointers, while Rachel Connell added eight and Kristen Windoloski (9.0 points per game) had five.

“We worked in practice on stopping (Whitney and Windoloski). Those are their two scorers and we wanted to make their other girls step up, and they did,” Ciaglo said. “They made some big shots at times. When you are doubling and playing gimmick defenses, you are giving up things and they identified, hit the open person and made some shots. I stuck with it because we were doing a good job on Whitney and Windoloski, but the other girls did end up hurting us.”

The overwhelming force Thursday was Easthampton’s second half-defense, led by Alli Dabek (four points).

“I thought Alli Dabek was a monster tonight,” Fortier said. “Nobody does that kind of job on Olivia. Olivia got some hoops, but they were on breakouts. I don’t think she got anything in the offense in the second half. That’s a testament to a kid, frankly, who has been struggling. She came in tonight and that was her job. She knew her job. I don’t care if she ever scores a point because she can defend, and she did tonight.”

The Eagles gave up just one field goal — a Kate Sullivan (six points) layup midway through the third quarter — during the opening 13:19 of the second half.

By the time Madi Stevens (10 points) knocked down a 3-pointer with 2:41 left in the fourth, Easthampton led 39-29 en route to its second straight league title.

“I’m real proud to win back-to-back league championships with a team nobody thought could do it,” Fortier said. “Nobody thought this team could win again.”

Jim Pignatiello can be reached at jpignatiello@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/GazetteHS.

Related

Video: Olivia Mathieu's 1,000th career point

Friday, February 8, 2013

Here's Hopkins Academy girls basketball senior Olivia Mathieu scoring her 1,000th career point. … 0

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