Amherst Regional girls basketball fades late against Monson

For the Gazette
Published: 2/11/2019 11:25:26 PM

MONSON — “SKYE! SKYE! SKYE!” the crowd was roaring as sophomore Skye Nolan made back-to-back 3-point shots.

As the Amherst Regional girls basketball team played Monson, it felt like a home game with the crowd cheering for the guest. The game remained close throughout, and there were multiple lead changes. Halfway through the fourth quarter, Nolan made a 3-point shot to tie the game. After Monson answered with a 3, Amherst ran the same play, giving Nolan separation to make another.

“She made some big shots,” Amherst coach Dustin James said. “We spread the floor, and she stepped out without hesitation and knocked it down.”

Nolan made yet another 3-pointer to give the Hurricanes a two-point lead, but Monson closed the game on a 9-0 run to win 58-51, Monday.

Monson, Amherst and Granby each entered Monday tied for first in the Central League. The Mustangs (10-7, 5-2) took over first place with the win. Granby (8-10, 4-2) remained in second, while Amherst (7-10, 4-3) slid to third.

The Hurricanes have three games remaining in their quest for the postseason. They can finish .500 overall with three wins or finish in second place in the league.

“We’re just thinking about the next game,” said James, whose team hosts Palmer on Thursday. “Yes, playoffs are in our mind, but the next game is a league game and it’s super important. Every game down the stretch here, we just have to get back to work. There are different ways that we can make it in still. This was a big game, but we just have to get back to work on Thursday.”

Nolan finished with 13 points. Junior Erin Klaes and sophomore Mayouri Yath each had six points. The biggest offensive weapon of the game was Delaney MacPhetres, who had five field goals and five foul shots for 15 points. The game was also highlighted by sophomore Petua Mukimba.

“She was really active in the post and aggressive taking the ball to the basket,” James said. “She was finishing down low for sure and she kept us in the game.”

Mukimba had five field goals and a foul shot for 11 points. After getting one field goal, she immediately caught a deflected pass and scored once more. She also had plenty of takeaways and remained a constant threat throughout the game.

“I was just trying to win the game,” Mukimba said. “Just trying to get ahead because we’re two very good teams and I think we could’ve beaten them and I was trying to do that with my plays. Just trying to get ahead.”

Mukimba said wasn’t playing 100 percent healthy.

“I’m just trying to play the best that I can for my sophomore season and I’m trying to convert for the team,” she said. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to do that today, but we have a long way to go and we’re getting there.”

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