IAABO Senior All Star games takes place at Smith Academy

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 03-17-2023 8:52 PM

HATFIELD — The top senior basketball players in Franklin and Hampshire County got together at Smith Academy on Friday for the 23rd IAABO Board 28 Senior All Star Game. 

The girls game kicked off first, and unlike most All Star games, both teams were dialed in, playing defense and not throwing up wild shots. 

The East team led 30-26 at the half before taking control in the final 20 minutes of action. It got the lead to as high as 60-41 but the West squad wasn’t ready to quit, going on a 15-0 run to cut the lead to 61-56 going into the final minutes. 

Amherst’s Tessa Kawall, playing for the West team, made sure her team would come out victorious, going on a personal 5-0 run late to lift West to a 66-56 victory. 

“It was great to play in this,” Kawall said. “[Fellow Hurricane] Sara [Hastie] and I were on the same team but we’re missing our third counterpart in Audrey Bowen which is a little sad. It’s always great to play with some of my favorite people and just play basketball.” 

Kawall finished with a game-high 24 points in the victory. She didn’t go in expecting to score as much, rather see how it went and let the game come to her. 

“I was seeing how it was going,” Kawall said. “I just love to play. I love playing basketball so I just went out there and played.” 

Mahar’s Kendrah Doane finished with eight points, Sara Hastie of Amherst tallied seven points, Belchertown’s Lindsey Chrabascz scored six points while Hopkins’ Kasey Earle (5), Belchertown’s Macie Bolton (5), Ware’s Cassie Pendelton (4), Golden Eagle Chloe Jekanowski (4), Athol’s Emma Bacigalupo (2) and Turners’ Steph Peterson (1) rounded out the scoring for the West squad. 

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Oriole Lauren Cooper, Ware’s Emma Jacobs and Thunder Morgan Dobias also played for the West team. 

For Kawall, there was natural chemistry on the team, knowing she was surrounded by girls who shared her love for basketball. 

“I couldn’t have thanked the girls on my team more,” Kawall said. “They played amazing. I was sitting on the bench thinking about how I’m with a bunch of girls who have been playing basketball their whole lives. I was surrounded by girls who are just like me. There’s no excuse not to feel comfortable around them because they’re part of my community. It was natural comfort.” 

Easthampton’s Lauren Morse was the top scorer for the East squad, finishing with 15 points. Fellow Eagle Maria Belfakih tallied 13 points while Northampton’s Chloe Denhart joined them in double-figures with 10 points in the loss. 

Hampshire’s Liz Colon-Garcia (4), Easthampton’s Jess Cloutier (4), Franklin Tech’s Kendra Campbell (3), Hampshire’s Sam Moran (3), Greenfield’s Josie Cloutier (2) and Pioneer’s Whitney Dunklee (2) also scored for the East team. Pioneer’s Laura Kahler played but did not score. 

For Campbell, the game moved at a faster pace than she expected, with players putting an effort in to get to the rim instead of settling for 3’s. 

“It was fun,” Campbell said. “It was a different experience. It was a faster pace but it was a fun time and I enjoyed it. I didn’t expect it to be fast paced. I thought it would be a little slower with different shots. People drove to the rim and it was fun.” 

Playing with a team of players you’ve never played with before can be a daunting task, but developing chemistry on the court wasn’t an issue for the East squad. 

“There was way better chemistry than I thought there was going to be,” “Knowing that I hadn’t played with any of these girls before I knew it was going to be different. We passed well, we made cuts and it was a lot better than I expected. It felt like a normal game. Just the name was different.” 

The boys game ended after print deadline. Amherst’s Samuel Kalman, Athol’s Conall Tontodonato, Belchertown’s Tyler McDonald and Connor White, Granby’s Carter White and Robert L’Abbee, Hopkins’ Cody West and Patrick Fitzgibbons, Mahar’s Connor Sluder and Hunter Martin, Smith Academy’s Griffin Smiarowski, Riley Intrator and Ryan Belina, Ware’s Jack Auchter and Turners’ Levin Prondecki and Jake Lavin represented the East All Star squad. 

The West team was made up of Easthampton’s Matthew Bacis and Jake Redmond, Franklin Tech’s Ty Sadoski and Noah Ausikaitis, Frontier’s Danny Fellows, Gateway’s Jayden Santiago-Lopez, Hampshire’s Kyle Dale, Northampton’s Kelvin Perez, Ben Sledzieski and Caleb Steiniger, Pioneer’s Sam Glazier, Smith Voke’s Marshall Ingram and South Hadley’s Colin Quinn, Chase Mathers and Ed Wykowski. 

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