Northampton senior Amanda Mieczkowski scores 1,000th point in loss to Groton-Dunstable

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  • Northampton senior Amanda Mieczkowski, center, with her parents Paula Mieczkowski, left, and Ray Mieczkowski, right, after scoring the 1,000th point of her Northampton girls basketball career Saturday against Groton-Dunstable. She had 15 points in the game. Northampton lost 58-47. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Northampton senior Amanda Mieczkowski drives against Groton-Dunstable at Northampton High School on Saturday. She finished with 15 points. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Northampton senior Amanda Mieczkowski dribbles up the court against Groton-Dunstable on Saturday at Northampton High School. She finished with 15 points. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Northampton coach Perry Messer coaches the Blue Devils late in their 58-47 loss to Grotton-Dunstable at Northampton High School on Saturday. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer
Published: 1/18/2020 10:55:08 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The lane opened for the first time all game.

Groton-Dunstable didn’t set its 1-3-1 defense quickly enough as Northampton senior point guard Amanda Mieczkowski raced up the middle of the floor in the third quarter. She saw the opening as she crossed half court and shifted the basketball into her left hand. Two dribbles guided Mieczkowski into the lane, and she lofted a soft floater off the glass and through the net.

The two points gave her 1,000 in her career for the Northampton girls basketball team. Her boyfriend, Mike McCarthy, and best friend, Lulu Kessin, flipped a paper counter from 998 to 1,000 as Mieczkowski slapped the wall padding with both hands – a quiet moment to herself before being showered in affection. Olivia Dubuque hugged her first followed by the other three players on the court. Kessin raced over for a longer embrace.

Mieczkowski received flowers and golden balloons, and hugged Northampton coach Perry Messer before posing for photos with her parents, Ray and Paula Mieczkowski.

“I’m proud of everything she does. I know how much hard work – I’ve been on the other end of the phone call saying ‘coach can you come open up the gym and set up the machine for me so I can shoot?’ I’ve been there early morning rebounding for her,” Messer said. “She’s put the extra time and effort into it.”

She became the 12th player in Northampton basketball history to reach quadruple digits and the first since her former teammate Loraine Joensen in 2017.

“It was a huge relief,” Amanda Mieczkowski said. “Now we can just play the game.”

The game resulted in a 58-47 Northampton loss Saturday. The Blue Devils surrendered a 9-2 run in the first half of the second quarter and never cut the deficit to single digits again. Northampton (6-3) struggled to move the ball effectively against the Crusaders’ length.

“Their reads were excellent in our 1-3-1 defense,” Groton-Dunstable coach Mark Hennelly said. “We made them work for shots.”

The Blue Devils trailed 12-9 after the first quarter, a passive 12 minutes for Mieczkowski. She entered the game needing just seven points for 1,000 after scoring 27 in a loss against Holyoke on Thursday. There were two separate counters: one going up to 1,000 and one counting down from seven on the wall. Teammates and friends made posters and plastered giant cutouts of her face onto tongue depressors. Mieczkowski tried to block the extra attention out.

“She wasn’t like talking about it. She seemed timid about it. She didn’t want to make it a big deal,” Northampton senior Jill McGrath said. “She was definitely nervous but she wasn’t showing it. She’s good with that kind of stuff.”

Many players force the issue that close to the milestone, jacking up every shot available. That’s not Mieczkowski. She’s always facilitated first, getting her teammates involved in the game before she looks for her own shot.

“She’s our leader, she’s our point guard. Her skill set is she can get other guys shots or get them in the right places to get shots in a game like that,” Messer said. “I try to get her to be a little more aggressive. She was a little too unselfish to start the game. Once she got going, good things happened after that.”

Mieczkowski, who finished with 15 points, only scored two in the first quarter and three in the second. She poured in eight after halftime and hit a jumper to cut the Blue Devils’ deficit to 36-30 with 1 minute, 58 seconds in the quarter.

“When she was doing her thing, we caught up more,” said McGrath, who scored 15 points.

Northampton never pulled closer than six. McGrath banked in a 3 to cut the Blue Devils’ deficit to 51-45 with 2:27 remaining. Groton-Dunstable closed the game with a 7-2 run.

“We’re making enough turnovers with poor passing, poor decision-making that’s leading to those empty trips that make a game like this be just out of reach,” Messer said. “Our seniors gotta be a little bit better. We have to play harder than we’re playing, and that starts in practice.”

Despite the loss, it’s a game Northampton will benefit from as it chases a third straight Western Massachusetts Division 2 championship. Groton-Dunstable lost in the Central Massachusetts final last year, and both teams are preparing for long postseason runs.

“Rather than go and play a team you’ll beat by 40 points I’d rather play a game like that where you gotta work every possession,” Messer said.

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



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