Girls basketball: Aubrey Parent goes for 21 points in Granby’s 43-26 win over Smith Academy

Granby’s Aubrey Parent (40) puts up a shot against Easthampton earlier this season.

Granby’s Aubrey Parent (40) puts up a shot against Easthampton earlier this season. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By CONNOR PIGNATELLO

Staff Writer

Published: 02-12-2024 10:20 PM

HATFIELD – Smith Academy game-planned for her all week. They tried double-teaming her. They tried triple-teaming her.

But it didn’t matter. Granby’s 6-foot-2 sophomore center Aubrey Parent dominated inside for 21 points to lead the Rams (10-7) to a 43-26 win on Monday night in the penultimate game of the regular season for both teams at Sherry Webb Gymnasium. 

With its 10th victory of the season – after just three last year and four the year before – Granby automatically qualifies for the state playoffs. Both teams moved down from Division 4 to Division 5 this year and have more than doubled their win totals from a season ago. 

“We’re super psyched to get our 10th win of the season after the last two seasons that we’ve had,” Granby head coach Megan Szlosek said.

In addition to Parent’s 21 points, the Rams received 12 from Autumn Sicard on four 3-pointers.

Vivian Higuera led Smith Academy with eight points while Emilia Neves and Caitlin Graves each added seven. Playing her final regular season home game as Smith Academy’s only senior, Neves received an ovation from the crowd when she was subbed out in the final minute. 

Parent’s domination inside led to seven made two-pointers but also a 7-for-11 performance from the foul line. She said forcing the issue inside was an intentional choice.

“Definitely, getting to the post was working very well, just driving, because they were fouling a lot, so I think we had to recognize that early.” Parent said. “Once I would get the rebound I would think, ‘I know they’re going to foul so I’m going to just drive it.’”

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Smith Academy game-planned specifically for Parent, but the Rams jumped out to a 17-6 first quarter advantage regardless. Parent didn’t just use her size and strength to overpower Smith Academy’s smaller defenders, she used drop-steps, spins and pump fakes to finesse her way to the hoop.

“We ran every defense we could on her,” Smith Academy head coach Dave Zononi said. “She’s just a rare, highly-skilled, young athlete. We haven’t seen players making spin moves and finishing with her left hand, her right hand – we just haven’t seen that and she took advantage of it.”

After Wednesday’s regular season finale for both squads, both teams will compete in the Western Mass. tournament, a competition neither reached last season.

Szlosek said she didn’t expect Granby to qualify for states, but she’s looking for Granby to win a game or two at the Western Mass. tournament and then “break some hearts” come state tournament time.

“I think it’s a very big step up from last year,” Parent said. “I’m very excited to see what’s coming for us.”