MIAA boys basketball: Hopedale hands Granby 55-22 loss in Division 5 Round of 16

Granby’s Colin Murdock (4) puts up a shot against South Hadley earlier this season.

Granby’s Colin Murdock (4) puts up a shot against South Hadley earlier this season. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

CONNOR PIGNATELLO

Staff Writer

Published: 03-06-2024 8:26 PM

HOPEDALE – The Granby boys basketball team never got into any sort of rhythm against No. 8 Hopedale’s unique zone defense. The visiting ninth-seeded Rams saw their season come to an end with a 55-22 loss on Wednesday night in the MIAA Division 5 Round of 16.

Colin Murdock hit a 3-pointer to give Granby a 3-0 lead on its very first possession, but after that, it was all Hopedale. The Blue Raiders went on a 15-0 run between the first and second quarters and led 26-9 at halftime and 41-15 after the third quarter.

“First quarter, second quarter, third quarter, fourth quarter, we never got going offensively,” Granby head coach Dylan Dubuc said.

Junior captain Nene Fernandez, who scored 26 points in the Rams’ win over Avon in the Round of 32 on Feb. 29, was held to six points and spent the entire fourth quarter on the bench.

Murdock, a senior captain, was also held to just six points and spent the last half of the quarter on the bench after Granby pulled the rest of its starters. Riley Goodhind also scored six and Sawyer Clarke had four.

Granby likes to play a fast-paced game, but barely generated any transition offense against Hopedale. And when they were stuck in the half court, they struggled to get open looks of any kind. Hopedale put two defenders on the elbows, two on the wings and one inside, which forced Granby into lots of deep, contested 3-pointers, of which they only converted two – both by Murdock.

“You watch it on film, you see it, you see some gaps,” Dubuc said. “You think there are areas to attack and in person it’s not there.”

When the Rams tried penetrating inside, they were swallowed up by a tall and strong Blue Raiders squad. Granby initially thought it might be able to exploit the high post or the short corner, but Hopedale had those covered, too.

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On the other end of the court, Hopedale’s offense ran like clockwork. Their players were in constant motion and when they weren’t hitting from outside, they were extending possessions on the offensive glass. 

Right away, outside shooting gave the Blue Raiders a double-digit lead early in the second quarter. And the lead only grew from there.

Junior guard Patrick Madden hit four 3-pointers in the first half – outscoring the Rams by himself. He finished with 20 points despite limited second half minutes.

Granby tried everything to stop Madden and the Hopedale offense. They tried man, they tried zone and they tried a full court press, but Hopedale never slowed down.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Dubuc said. “I’ve been doing this a long time, I played hoop my whole life.”

Granby ended its season at 16-6 with an appearance in the Western Mass. Class C championship game and a 10-2 mark in the Bi-County West, which it won this year. The Rams graduate two seniors, including Murdock, but bring back 11 returners.

Hopedale (12-10) advanced to play at top-seeded Hoosac Valley in the Division 5 quarterfinals on Friday.