Hampshire’s Maddie Pond reaches ‘surreal’ 1,000-point milestone

  • Hampshire Regional senior Maddie Pond, second from right, scored the 1,000th point of her high school basketball career Tuesday against Holyoke. From left, her brother Liam Pond, mother Meg Pond and father John Pond celebrated the moment with balloons and flowers. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Hampshire Regional senior Maddie Pond scored the 1,000th point of her high school basketball career Tuesday against Holyoke. She had 21 points in the game, but the Purple Knights prevailed 71-69. GAZETTE STAFF / KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer
Published: 3/23/2021 9:34:47 PM

WESTHAMPTON – Maddie Pond set a goal to put her name on Hampshire Regional’s 1,000-point scorers banner since she joined varsity as a seventh grader. She entered Tuesday’s home game against Holyoke needing three points to secure a spot.

Pond missed her first two shots then drained a 3 when the Purple Knights gave her too much airspace 2 minutes, 11 seconds in to move within a point. The Raiders fed her the ball more than usual, and the Purple Knights collapsed their defense on her drives and stuck to her closer on the perimeter since they knew that’s where the ball was headed.

Then with 1:35 remaining in the first, Pond passed the ball out of the high post to Brie Salomao and flashed down the lane. Salomao delivered the return pass, and Pond let a layup go through a light foul. The ball hit the backboard window then bounced once off the rim before dropping through. It cut Holyoke’s lead to three, as the Raiders converged on her.

“Every practice I look up the banner and picture my name up there. now that it’s actually going to happen, it’s kind of surreal,” Pond said. “Seeing the basket go in, I immediately felt the tears come to my eyes because I’ve been dreaming about this for so long.”

Her parents John and Meg Pond and brother Liam Pond were allowed to attend the game to celebrate the moment . Hampshire hasn’t allowed fans this basketball season. They presented her with golden 1,000 balloons.

Pond is the 17th member of the 1,000-point club at Hampshire and 12th girl. Katelyn Pickunka was the last in 2018. Pond played with the previous three that reached the milestone: Pickunka, Chelsea Moussette and Katy O’Connor.

The game was supposed to be at Holyoke, but Purple Knights athletic director Melanie Martin and Hampshire AD John Plourde swapped the scheduled dates for their basketball games this week to accommodate the milestone. Holyoke coach Andrea Enright also coaches in Pond’s AAU organization Mass Frenzy.

“I’m super grateful that the Holyoke AD and our administration were able to make the switch. Getting the 1,000 points in your own gym is really special,” Pond said.

The Raiders had to fight to even have the season so she could reach the milestone. Hampshire players campaigned to play in the winter season but were denied, and they redoubled their efforts once playing in Fall II became a possibility.

“We went through so much. The first meeting when we got denied was heartbreaking,” Hampshire senior Maggie Rubeck said. “The amount of stuff we did, the amount of rules and precautions we have, moments like this make it worth it.”

After the truncated celebration ended, Pond stepped to the free throw line with a chance to cut Holyoke’s lead to two. She missed, and the real game began.

Holyoke won 71-69 behind a dominant effort on the glass. Yamaya Perez led the Purple Knights with 26 points, while Ashley Vazquez added 16 and Bianca Ortiz had 15.

“They got a lot more rebounds than we did. That hurt us from the very beginning,” Hampshire coach Dan Labrie said. “They outrebounded us probably two or three to one, and that can make a big difference.” 

The Raiders trailed 32-30 at halftime but opened the third quarter on an 11-2 run playing a more balanced style.

“It was definitely on our heads a little bit,” Rubeck said. “Once she hit it, it was kind of a relief because we weren't worried about whether she was going to hit it or not.

Pondand Rubeck each finished with 21 points, and Lila Labrie scored 11.

Holyoke trimmed the deficit as the third quarter wore on, and Ortiz splashed a 3 at the third quarter buzzer to give the Purple Knights a 49-48 lead.

The Purple Knights exectued better in the fourth quarter and left with a victory. They forced key turnovers down the stretch, and Ortiz sank a layup with 1:29 left that put Holyoke up 69-65.

Hampshire played the foul game the rest of the way, and the Purple Knights made enough free throws to win. 

Pond hit a 3 with 8 seconds left that cut the deficit to two, but the Raiders couldn’t get a clean look afterward.

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter
@kylegrbwsk.




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