3-point shooting, defense lead Northampton past Granby

  • Julia Frappier, center, of Granby, shoots between Northampton defenders Amanda Mieczkowski, left, and Lulu Kesin, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 at Granby High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nora Young, right, of Granby, moves the ball against Syd Lewandowski, of Northampton, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 at Granby High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kaeleigh Croteau, front, of Granby, moves the ball against Amanda Mieczkowski, of Northampton, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 at Granby High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nora Young, left, of Granby, shoots amid Northampton defenders Kolbie Jones, from left, Syd Lewandowski and Jill McGrath, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 at Granby High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amanda Mieczkowski, right, of Northampton, shoots against Julia Frappier, of Granby, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 at Granby High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nora Young, right, of Granby, moves the ball against Lulu Kesin, of Northampton, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 at Granby High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amanda Mieczkowski, left, of Northampton, moves the ball against Nora Young, of Granby, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 at Granby High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kolbie Jones, left, of Northampton, defends Nora Young, of Northampton, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 at Granby High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kolbie Jones, top right, of Northampton, shoots against Granby defenders Nora Jones, left, and Kayla McCreary, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 at Granby High School. Syd Lewandowski, front, looks on. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Amanda Mieczkowski, left, of Northampton, shoots against Julia Gauvin, of Granby, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019 at Granby High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff writer
Published: 1/11/2019 11:01:07 PM

GRANBY — Northampton point guard Amanda Mieczkowski left practice Thursday with the flu. She shambled through school Friday so she could play against Granby at night, sleeping in between the final bell and opening tip.

“She gave us a lot of effort, didn’t come out of the game with a fever,” Northampton coach Perry Messer said. “They knew their teammate wasn’t feeling well and they had to pick up some slack tonight.”

The Northampton girls basketball team responded with nine 3-pointers and beat Granby, 50-40.

Junior Emily Sledzieski made her first five shots, including four 3s, and finished with 14 points. She didn’t miss until there was 1 minute, 11 seconds left in the first half and Northampton (7-1) up 24-20.

“It’s not always easy to get yourself open, but the set plays really help,” Sledzieski said. “Once I hit a few it definitely follows up with a few more.”

The Blue Devils regularly threatened to pull away, but Granby (3-4) kept them reined in. Point guard Kaeleigh Croteau’s return from injury added needed stability. She missed the last stretch of the soccer season due to a concussion and was recently cleared to return to basketball.

“It just gives us another dimension to what we can do offensively,” Granby coach Tom Burke said.

Croteau alternated ballhandling duties with Nora Young and Julia Frappier. She only scored two points, but they came on a putback following an offensive rebound that cut Northampton’s lead to 27-26 with 4 minutes, 24 seconds left in the third quarter.

Northampton, defending Division 2 Western Massachusetts champions, responded with back-to-back 3s by Mieczkowski (10 points) and Jill McGrath that pushed the lead back to seven. Granby committed a foul after the second 3 went in, giving the Blue Devils the ball out of bounds. McGrath, who finished with eight points, grabbed two offensive rebounds and drew another foul to go to the free-throw line. She made one free throw to put Northampton up 34-26 with 3:27 to go in the quarter.

“After it already happened, I was like ‘wow that really helped,’ rather than just any old rebound,” McGrath said.

The Blue Devils handle rebounding collectively. Most of their players are of similar heights, so they don’t have any one person to rely on.

“We don’t really have a lot of height on the team, it’s definitely a group effort,” Sledzieski said.

That same lack of height also complicated defending Granby forward Nora Young. Northampton played man-to-man defense and alternated between Lulu Kesin and Sydney Lewandowski until Kesin got into foul trouble. Lewandowski handled Young well enough that Messer kept that matchup even when Kesin returned to the game.

“Our guys know what’s expected out of them, they know what to do,” Messer said. “I thought we did a good job of team rebounding, we limited them to one shot.”

Young still scored 17 points but had to work for them. She needs seven more to reach 1,000 for her career. Granby hosts Monson at 7 p.m. Monday.

Julia Frappier added 12 for the Rams, who begin Central League play against the Mustangs.

“We’ve come a long way in the last week or so. I’m optimistic going forward,” Burke said. “We really should have been ahead at half.”

Northampton extended its lead to 10 when Mieczkowski hit a free throw with 1:04 to cement the final score.

The Blue Devils also start league play Monday at Holyoke. The Blue Devils struggled through portions of Friday’s win, but the adversity will help prepare them for the top league in western Massachusetts.

“It’s always good to play close games and have to execute,” Messer said. “The effort level is good. We’re ready to let it fly.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.



Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

© 2019 Daily Hampshire Gazette
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy