Belchertown girls basketball loses at Wahconah in Division 2 quarterfinals
DALTON — The Belchertown girls basketball team came out on the short end of a physical defensive struggle Saturday and fell to Wahconah 51-46 in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 Tournament quarterfinals.
Sophomore guard Tèa Spellacy scored 12 of her team-high 17 points to carry the visitors to a 26-23 lead at halftime. No. 5 Belchertown (14-7) was working the inside-outside game fairly well in the first half of the contest.
When Spellacy was cut off by the Warriors’ man-to-man defense, she and teammate Jillian Lund were successfully pounding the ball down low to Jillian Cavanaugh and Marissa Kopacz.
The two either converted or were fouled, although the entire Oriole team struggled from the line all night, going a collective 8-for-19 from the stripe.
“We knew we had a size advantage,” Belchertown coach Jason Woodcock said. “We wanted to pound the ball inside and we did.”
No. 4 Wahconah (12-9) made some adjustments after intermission, however. They started paying more attention to Spellacy and doubling the Orioles frontcourt players more actively down low.
The home side went on a 10-1 run in the first four minutes of the third period, that gave them a 33-27 lead.
At the other end of the court, Wahconah was shooting poorly from the field, but draining their free throws with regularity. Wahconah was 16-for-23 on the afternoon.
Wahconah guard Gabby Lavinio was a stellar 10-for-11, hitting nine free throws in a row at one point, en route to a game-high 23 points. Lavinio scored 12 in the third quarter as the Warriors took control.
“Free throw shooting was the difference in the game,” Woodcock said. “We had to foul late in the game, and couldn’t deny her the ball as much as we wanted. When she went to the line, she didn’t miss.”
After trailing by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter, the Orioles made a final run to cut the margin to four, 42-38. But the Warriors’ Maddie Sprague hit a big 3-pointer from the wing to push the lead back to seven.
At 48-40, the Orioles’ Jackie Johnson drilled a clutch 3 of her own, but that was the closest the visitors got.
In addition to Spellacy, Cavanaugh had eight points and eight rebounds for Belchertown.
The Warriors play Berkshire North rival Drury (No. 1, 16-3) at the Curry Hicks Cage on Thursday at 8 p.m. No. 7 Hoosac Valley (17-5) and No. 6 Mahar (18-4) open the doubleheader at 6 p.m.
The loss marked the final game for Orioles’ seniors Jill Lund, Sarah Woodcock, Marissa Kopacz, Emily Silva, Kayla McGrath, Courtney Fox.
“This is special group of seniors,” Jason Woodcock said. “They’ve set the bar high on and off the court. They were great players on the court and were great leaders. It has been a joy to coach them.”
Staff writer Jim Pignatiello contributed to this story.
Division 2 quarterfinals
Wahconah 51, Belchertown 46
Lund 3-0-6, Cavanaugh 2-4-8, Kopacz 2-2-6, Woodcock 1-0-2, Spellacy 7-0-17, Shea 1-2-4, Soucia 0-0-0, Silva 0-0-0, Johnson 1-0-3. Totals: 17-8-46.
Lavinio 5-10-23, Lussier 6-1-13, Dumas 0-0-0, Lewis 0-0-0, Sprague 2-5-10, Brennan 2-0-5, Wilson 0-0-0, Harnett 0-0-0. Totals: 15-16-51.
Belchertown 14 12 8 12—46
Wahconah 14 9 18 10—51
3-pointers: Belchertown 4 (Spellacy 3, Johnson), Wahconah 5 (Lavinio 3, Sprague, Brennan)