Granby hoops win in Hoophall Classic behind M. Sullivan, Baker

Last modified: Friday, January 31, 2014

SPRINGFIELD — The Granby and Sabis girls basketball teams not only had the honor of participating in this year’s Spalding Hoophall Classic, but being the opening game for the event.

It was the Rams’ second straight appearance at the classic, and Meghan Sullivan’s game-high 15 points led them to a 43-35 victory Thursday afternoon at Blake Arena.

“Having played in the Hoophall last year, it helped immensely and the moment wasn’t too big (for my team),” head coach Tom Burke said. “We have a history with Sabis, and we haven’t been able to beat them the last four years, so it’s great to turn that around, especially in this venue.”

Sullivan was the initial spark for unbeaten Granby (11-0), scoring 11 of the Rams’ 21 points in the first half.

“Everyone knew it was a big game, and playing in the Hoophall is really intense,” Sullivan said. “We usually don’t get a big crowd at Granby, and I’m really glad we won.”

Sabis had a combination of scoring in the first half from sisters Jaliena and Janaiya Sanchez, who combined for nine of the team’s 18 first half points.

With just a minute left in the second quarter, Sullivan knocked down a deep 3-pointer to push the Granby lead to 19-15. Janaiya Sanchez responded with a three of her own to close the deficit to one with under a minute to play.

But Kate Sullivan responded with a 15-footer in the closing seconds to give Granby a 21-18 halftime lead.

Granby went on a quick 8-3 run to start the second half to push its lead to 29-21. Jaliena Sanchez continued to keep the game close with her quick first step and nifty ball-handling, scoring on multiple drives to the basket in the third quarter.

But the second half truly belonged to Granby center, Rebecca Sapouckey. All of Sapouckey’s 10 points came in the second half as she dominated in the paint and on the glass, pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds to complete the double-double.

“I went into the locker room at halftime and threw my water bottle at the wall because I was so frustrated,” Sapouckey said. “I hadn’t played against anyone as big as Sabis all year, but I was able to contribute offensively much better in the second half.”

Midway through the fourth quarter, Sapouckey stamped her name on the game with a big offensive rebound and putback that gave Granby its largest lead at 41-29.

Granby boys

Following a stellar performance by the Granby girls, Corey Baker led the boys team with 17 points, 17 rebounds, and five steals in a 67-54 victory over Greenfield in the second game of the Hoophall Classic.

“It’s so special to play at the Hoophall, but to win is even more special,” Baker said. “We’ve been struggling on the boards this season and it was a point of emphasis from coach to do a better job rebounding, and we went out and did that.”

Granby (6-2) jumped out to an 8-0 lead early with a fast tempo and high-pressure defense, picking up Greenfield’s guards up and down the court.

Jesse Molin’s guard play was complimentary to Baker’s inside game and physical presence, as Molin poured in 21 points, pulled down 19 rebounds, and dished out six assists.

“Nothing is like playing at the Hoophall. Last time I was here, I was just a freshman and the experience is so much better this time,” Molin said. “We get here and they treat you like professionals. It’s awesome and I’m happy we got the win.”

Molin’s aggressive play got him to the free throw line numerous times, including shot at the end of the first half to give Granby a commanding halftime lead of 37-23.

Robin Marchese (14 points) hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth that gave Greenfield a small spark of energy, but the night belonged to Baker and the Rams as they cruised to their sixth win.

“We knew Greenfield was a physical basketball team coming in,” Granby coach Tim Sheehan said. “So I told our boys that it was important to play with a lot of intensity and I felt they did that.”


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