Holyoke drops Longmeadow to qualify for WMass girls basketball tournament

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  • Bianca Ortiz, right, of Holyoke, moves the ball against Ilana Kofman, of Longmeadow, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Abby Glasheen, of Holyoke, shoots against Longmeadow, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ashley Vazquez, right, of Holyoke, shoots against Grace Levin, of Longmeadow, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Yamana Perez, center, of Holyoke, splits Longmeadow defenders Grace Levin, left, and Olivia Brown, Tuesday at Holyoke High School. The Purple Knights won 65-59 and qualified for the postseason. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Abby Glasheen, center, of Holyoke, draws a foul while driving to the basket against of Longmeadow defenders Hanna Minardi, left, and Julia Cardaropoli, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Teniyah Morales, of Holyoke, passes away from Hanna Minardi, of Longmeadow, Tuesday at Holyoke High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Yamana Perez, of Holyoke, shoots against Longmeadow, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Bianca Ortiz, right, of Holyoke, drives to the basket against Ilana Kofman, of Longmeadow, Tuesday at Holyoke High School. Ortiz finished with 22 points as the Purple Knights qualified for the postseason. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Destiny Calderon, left, of Holyoke, reaches for a rebound against Julia Cardaropoli, of Longmeadow, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Abby Glasheen, left, of Holyoke, drives to the basket against Hanna Minardi, of Longmeadow, Tuesday at Holyoke High School. Julia Cardaropoli looks on. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Holyoke players Abby Glasheen, left, and Destiny Calderon, right, pressure Gabrielle Kingston, of Longmeadow, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 at Holyoke High School. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

For the Gazette
Published: 2/11/2020 10:28:53 PM

HOLYOKE — Immediately after exiting their gym on Tuesday night, the Holyoke girls basketball team headed for their coach’s SUV in the parking lot.

With a car-marker, they wrote one word on coach Andrea Enright’s rear windshield: “Playoffs!!!”

With a 65-59 win against Longmeadow, the Purple Knights clinched a berth in the postseason.

“It’s a huge weight off our shoulders,” Enright said. “The earlier you do it, the better and we’ve kind of been battling some injuries and trying to figure out how to reconfigure some things so we had a lot of people step up in different roles and it was great to see them play.”

The feeling of a Purple Knights victory was not on the radar for the majority of the first half. The Lancers offense was working, they ran plays to perfection and the shots just kept falling.

At the end of the first quarter Longmeadow led, 19-14, but Holyoke was nowhere near ready to let the game go. When the team was playing defense in front of its own bench, it was loud and every player was involved. And, after awhile, the defense began to click.

With just over a minute left in the first half, freshman Yamaya Perez (nine points) carved through the Longmeadow defense. Dribbling the ball hard from her left hand to her right, she advanced toward the basket. After pulling back and making space between her and the defender she drained a mid-range jump shot that gave the Knights their first lead, 33-32.

A pair of 3-pointers from each team resulted in a 36-35 Holyoke lead at the half.

The Knights’ offense had picked up the pace toward the end of the half, realizing that in order to control the game, they were going to have to play at their own pace.

“We just talked about 32 minutes in their face, make them run,” said Enrich, who knew that Longmeadow had played a game Monday night. “How long can they run before they start to fizzle?”

In the second half, freshman Bianca Ortiz found her offensive zone. Unlike most other high school players, she claimed her territory three feet beyond the 3-point arc.

Ortiz pulled up from deep several times, making three of them in the second half. She finished with 22 points on four 3-pointers. Classmate Ashley Vazquez contributed 19 points with three 3-pointers to help the case for the Knights.

“I am a shooter so like, I just shoot and try to get in my range,” Ortiz said.

That range is something that the Purple Knights pride themselves on as a team. When they are confident, they will shoot the 3, and against Longmeadow (12-5, 4-2 Valley League), they combined for 10.

“They all know that if they’re shooting well, they have the green light as long as the ball has been moving and we’re in the flow of the game,” Enrich said. “I want them to shoot the ball.”

Holyoke (10-8, 3-3 Valley League) will finish off the regular season with a home game against West Springfield on Friday and a road game against Springfield Central on Feb. 18.




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