Hopkins Academy captures third straight WMass Division 4 title

  • Hopkins' Sam'i Roe, left, and John J. Earle celebrate March 11, 2017 after winning the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys basketball championship game against Monson in the Curry Hicks Cage at UMass Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy fans extend their hands to the court March 11, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys basketball championship game against Monson in the Curry Hicks Cage at UMass Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins' Jonathan Morrison struggles against Monson to control the ball March 11, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys basketball championship game in the Curry Hicks Cage at UMass Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins Academy celebrates March 11, 2017 after winning the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys basketball championship game against Monson in the Curry Hicks Cage at UMass Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins' John J. Earle, left, goes in for a shot under pressure from Monson's Yasin Abdul Wadud March 11, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys basketball championship game in the Curry Hicks Cage at UMass Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins' Sam'i Roe, right, moves the ball past Monson March 11, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys basketball championship game in the Curry Hicks Cage at UMass Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins' Aidan Michalak, front, fights to control the ball against Monson's Jadon Messina March 11, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys basketball championship game in the Curry Hicks Cage at UMass Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins' John J. Earle, left, looks to move the ball past Monson's Dylan Gunther March 11, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys basketball championship game in the Curry Hicks Cage at UMass Amherst. Hopkins' Brock King looks on, at back. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins' Caleb Graves, center, winces as Monson's Jadon Messina falls backwards over him March 11, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys basketball championship game in the Curry Hicks Cage at UMass Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins' Irvin Compass goes in for a shot under pressure from Monson's Christopher Sisco, left, and Yasin Abdul Wadud March 11, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys basketball championship game in the Curry Hicks Cage at UMass Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins' John J. Earle, center, prepares for a technical free throw March 11, 2017 during the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys basketball championship game against Monson in the Curry Hicks Cage at UMass Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Hopkins' Sam'i Roe, left, and John J. Earle celebrate March 11, 2017 after winning the Western Massachusetts Division 4 boys basketball championship game against Monson in the Curry Hicks Cage at UMass Amherst. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

@Hargraves24
Published: 3/11/2017 5:41:38 PM

AMHERST – For the third season in a row, the Hopkins Academy boys basketball team is a Western Massachusetts Division 4 champion.

Celebrating after a 61-57 win over third-seeded Monson, at the Curry Hicks Cage Saturday, there wasn’t a sense of finality for the Golden Hawks.

There certainly was a celebration, but the focus shifted quickly for No. 1 Hopkins (21-2), which will play Maynard (20-4), Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the DCU Center in Worcester in the state semifinals.

“Western Mass. is not the icing,” Hopkins coach Angelo Thomas said. “It’s the cake, and we got the cake, but now we need to find some icing. We do not want to be remembered as career (state) semifinalists. Whoever we play is going to be a tough test.”

Sam’i Roe, who completed his western Mass. career in the same place his father Lou began his UMass career, played one his best games of the season.

Roe had 30 points and 17 rebounds, while clamping down defensively on Monson’s top scorer Bahu Abdul-Wadud,

In the fourth quarter with Monson pulling closer, Roe hit two of his five 3-pointers to help close out the Mustangs.

The second gave Hopkins a 53-41 lead with 2 minutes, 52 seconds left in the game.

“It’s a great goal to get,” Roe said. “Three straight Western Mass. championships. The next step is the ultimate goal.”

Hopkins held Abdul-Wadud scoreless in the first half, but he got loose in the second half for 17 points, mostly on switches.

“He (Roe) kept him in front of him most of the time,” Thomas said. “He’s expending a lot of energy guarding the other team’s best player. He’s also expected to be our best player. He is in tip top shape.”

Roe scored going to the basket, from the outside and on second-chance opportunities for Hopkins. He was the Golden Hawks leading rebounder in the playoffs, averaging more than 20 boards a game.

John Earle had 22 points for the Golden Hawks.

“At the beginning of the season we had three goals,” Earle said. “League, Western Mass. and states. We got two of the three. Of course states is what we want.”

At times, it wasn’t the prettiest game for Hopkins with turnovers and at end of the game, missed free throws that gave Monson a small window to try and steal the game.

“I am glad we won but we’re practicing free throws tomorrow,” Thomas said. “But this is great for the kids and great for the town. It’s survive and advance.”

After a Chris Sisco 3-pointer, the lead was 58-54 for Hopkins with 15 seconds left. The shot came after the Golden Hawks missed two-free throws.

Monson had a very difficult time scoring near the basket with the length of Jon Morrison (nine points) patrolling the paint.

When Monson had success it was from the outside, with the exception of Abdul Wadud, who managed to get to the rim in the second half.

Sisco had 17 points for the Mustangs with 5-pointers. Outside of Sisco and Abdul Wadud, there wasn’t much production from the Monson offense.

Hopkins played an aggressive switching defense with a press that bothered the Mustangs, especially in the first half.

Monson had only 12 points after the second quarter, but did score 26 points in the fourth.

Hopkins Academy 61, Monson 57

Monson (13-11)

Miller 1-0-2, Abdul-Wadud 7-5-19, Gerry 2-0-6, Messina 3-1-7, Tranghese 1-0-3, Gunther 0-0-3, Sisco 6-0-15 Totals 20-6-57

Hopkins (21-2)

Compass 0-0-0, Sam’i Roe 8-9-30, Morrison 4-1-9, Kelley 0-0-0, Earle 6-8-22, Michalik 0-0-0, Ciaglo 0-0-0 Totals 18-18-61

Monson

6

6

19

26

—57

Hampshire

13

13

18

17

—61

3-Pointers—Monson 8 (Gerry 2, Tranghese, Sisco 5) Hopkins 7 (Roe 5, Earle 2)




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