Girls basketball: Tessa Kawall nets 1,000th career point in Amherst’s Class A quarterfinal win over Northampton (PHOTOS)


Staff Writer

Published: 02-20-2023 11:25 PM

AMHERST — A bigger picture guided Tessa Kawall.

The Amherst Regional senior only needed six points to reach 1,000 for her career Monday against Northampton, but it was in a Western Massachusetts Class A quarterfinal. Advancing superseded personal glory.

“The next step is winning the game, it wasn’t getting 1,000 points,” Kawall said. “I felt more relaxed knowing that things would happen as they should happen.”

Kawall felt no extra pressure to score. She passed the ball up the floor the first time she touched it and cut to the basket when she needed to.

It took 1 minute, 32 seconds for her to duck behind the defense and drop in a layup for her first points. She only scored two after the first quarter, a tight, defensive affair that No. 6 Northampton led 8-7.

Kawall added another layup early in the second then missed two free throws that would have given her the milestone.

“Tessa did a really good job this week of knowing what we’re doing this for. The 1,000 was going to come. I think I’ve said 50 times this week that Tess could fall out of bed and score this points,” Amherst coach Ralph Loos said.

She instead drove straight through Northampton’s defense, crossed over to her right hand and euro-stepped into the lane to draw contact and finish a layup. It dropped with 5:46 to halftime to put Amherst ahead 11-10 and put her across the line.

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“It felt natural. Usually what I do is drive to the basket and take a right-handed layup, so it felt like what it should be,” Kawall said.

The other four Hurricanes ganged up on her and pulled her into a bear hug. She embraced her coaches and the teammates on the bench before quickly posing for photos with her family and “1K” balloons.

“I don’t like as much attention, but I’m definitely so grateful for everyone that came, especially my family for getting the banner, getting the T-shirts for all of my friends, that definitely meant a lot,” Kawall said.

She is the 13th member of Amherst’s 1,000-point club and ninth girl. Delaney MacPhetres was the most recent in Feb. 2022.

“We didn't really think she was gonna get there this year, then she just kind of has exploded. The first thing she said when we realized that she really was gonna get it, she was like, ‘Can I split it with all of you guys? Because you guys are the reason I'm getting it.’ She's totally selfless,” Amherst senior Sarah Hastie said. “She's not the kind of player that's been going for her 1,000 her whole life, it's just kind of come naturally because she’s just like that.”

Kawall finished with a game-high 17 points, and her milestone bucket gave the No. 3 Hurricanes the lead for good in a 52-43 victory. They will host No. 7 Minnechaug in the semifinals Wednesday after the Falcons upset No. 2 Chicopee. Amherst has only lost three games at home in the past four years.

“This is a tough gym,” Loos said.

Northampton (11-8) found out the hard way. The Blue Devils trailed just 18-14 at halftime, but the Hurricanes (15-4) pulled away in the third quarter.

“The mark of a good team is when you can win playing a style that’s not your style. Sadly, we played the style that they wanted to play. They want to play slow, they want to play physical,” Loos said. “Credit to them they played really hard, but we were just better at that style of game, and that’s saying something because they’re pretty good.”

Northampton Chloe Denhart (13 points) drained a 3 to cut Amherst’s lead to just 22-20 with 3:59 left in the third, but the Hurricanes ripped off a 7-0 run to finally find separation. Hastie poured in five of her nine points during that stretch.

“I was kind of frustrated because we really wanted to break away there. I just really wanted to do something to give us just a little bit of a boost because in those games all you need is one or two buckets to get you going,” Hastie said.

Amherst stretched its lead to 10 with 38.3 seconds left in the third after a pinpoint entry pass to Niyama Adadenoh opened a wide open layup to make it 33-23. The Hurricanes led by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter, and though the Blue Devils shaved it to seven or eight multiple times could never pull all the way back.

Shooting a better free throw percentage would have made a comeback easier, as Northampton went 16-of-30 from the line

“We’ve got to help ourselves on the offensive end of the floor. We got the looks we wanted to get to the free throw line, then you’ve got to punish them when you get to the line. We missed a bunch of one-and-ones to start the game, which kept them right in it,” Northampton coach Perry Messer said.

Northampton still has a lot to play for, though. The Blue Devils will close their regular season with a consolation game then will participate in the MIAA Division 2 state tournament later this month. They’re ranked No. 30 currently.

“You learn a lot more from your losses than you do your wins, that’s for sure. Adversity, nothing’s wrong with it,” Messer said. “Life’s not gonna be lollipops and roses. You’ll all have things not go your way. What are you going to do about it? Are you going to dig in, get a little better and work on the things that we need to? We control all of that stuff. I wasn’t dissatisfied with our effort. You just gotta execute a little bit better.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.]]>