Boys basketball: Central overwhelms Northampton in Springfield (PHOTOS)

  • Northampton’s Jacob Cancel hangs and finishes a layup at Central on Thursday in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Central’s Dwane Early intercepts a pass against Nothampton’s Silas Coles on Thursday in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Northampton’s Nate Kelleher-Mochak drops off a pass against Central on Thursday in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Northampton’s Connor Tobin absorbs contact in the paint from Central’s Josiah Griffin on Thursday in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Northampton’s Caleb Stineger shoots in close against Central on Thursdy in Springfield. STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer
Published: 1/27/2022 9:41:09 PM
Modified: 1/27/2022 9:39:51 PM

SPRINGFIELD – The No. 1 team in Massachusetts, as the Springfield Central boys basketball team was introduced as prior to Thursday’s game against Northampton, looked every bit the part.

The Golden Eagles scored the first nine points and ran away from the Blue Devils at home 85-45.

“That’s a big team. That’s a very disciplined team. We know what they’re about,” Northampton coach Rey Harp said. “It’s a huge basketball team. We can take lessons from this game and try to move forward.”

Central (8-1) had a leg up even before the clock started ticking. Northampton (7-3) was assessed a technical foul for touching the rim in warm ups. Deavin Reynolds made both for the Golden Eagles, and they started with possession.

After a 9-0 Central run to begin the game, Northampton’s Kelvin Perez and Ben Sledzieski hit back to back 3s that cut it to 9-6.

The Blue Devils called timeout down 16-10 with 4 minutes, 52 seconds remaining in the first, then the Golden Eagles ripped off a 12-2 run to establish firm control.

“We got amped up about our opportunities to prove ourselves and we didn’t come through,” Harp said. “We got killed inside and on the boards. We’ve got to do some work on that to play against inside. I don’t think we were prepared to play this team.”

Central stretched its lead to 24 at halftime, 30 in the third quarter and 40 by the end of the game. Reynolds led three Golden Eagles in double figures with 20 points. Boston College football signee Joseph Griffin added 16 points, and big man Jayden Bass scored 12.

“We played their game. We could have boxed out more and gotten more physical,” Sledzieski said. “They’re a better team than us but not by 40 points.”

Sledzieski paced Northampton with 11 points. Perez scored eight, and Connor Tobin added six.

The Blue Devils have lost two of their last three games after a 6-1 start, and the road doesn’t get much easier. They’ll see Central again next week, and their remaining schedule includes games against Holyoke, Sci-Tech, Putnam and Commerce.

“We play one of the toughest schedules that we could have played. There are very few games on our schedule that are light,” Harp said. “We know down the stretch that we’re not in the tournament yet. We’ve got to win some games to qualify for the tournament, but with the type of focus and resolve we have, I feel like we have the potential to do something.”

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

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