Boys basketball: John Earle nets 36 points as Hopkins Academy beats Belchertown

For the Gazette
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

BELCHERTOWN — Hopkins Academy senior John Earle scored 36 points Monday night in a 91-68 victory over Belchertown.

Hopkins took advantage of eight turnovers in the first quarter to jump out to a 22-12 lead. Earle scored 10 points on two 3-pointers during the quarter. He finished with eight 3s.

“John Earle didn’t miss many shots tonight,” Belchertown coach Matt Stenuis said. “He’s probably one of the best shooters in western Mass., hands down.”

Hopkins kept up its aggressive defense, pressing Belchertown full court and forcing the Orioles to make mistakes.

“That’s our game, that’s how we play,” Hopkins coach Angelo Thomas said. “We play full court, aggressive, that’s the way I like to play basketball.”

Hopkins continued to press Belchertown and at one point led by 30.

“Everything we do comes down to two things: comes down to effort and execution,” Stenuis said. “If the effort’s not there, there is no execution.”

Jon Morrison added 24 points, Justin Ciaglo had 14 and Caleb Graves 11 for the Golden Hawks (16-2, 6-0 Hampshire South).

Senior Mitch Medina led Belchertown (12-7, 3-5) with 24 points. Michael Laughner had 22 points.

“Michael Laughner is the guy that you know it doesn’t matter, every day of the week, seven days a week, he’s the one guy that has brought it every single day this year,” Stenuis said. “I told the guys at halftime, give me the effort that Mike Laughner brings.”

The last time the two teams played was Jan. 9, when Hopkins won 84-55. Earle and Morrison both surpassed 1,000 career points in that game. Medina accomplished the feat on Jan. 25.

“That’s a very good team, very well coached, disciplined,” Stenius said. “I mean they’re going to win Western Mass. Division 4 hands down. That’s the best team we’ve played all year, both games. I don’t think anyone is going to stop them.”