Smith Vocational boys basketball goes to work in second half against PVCICS

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  • Smith Vocational’s Cole Boisvert launches a runner in the lane over PVCICS’ Sam Wheeler in third quarter at Hampshire College’s Robert Crown Center in Amherst on Friday. FOR THE GAZETTE / J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

  • PVCICS’ Kyan Frantz fires a jumper in the lane over Smith Vocational’s  Marshall Ingram in the fourth quarter at Hampshire College’s Robert Crown Center in Amherst on Friday. FOR THE GAZETTE / J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

  • Smith Vocational’s Jack Riley launches up a baseline jumper over PVCICS’ Sam Wheeler in the third quarter Friday at Hampshire College’s Robert Crown Center in Amherst. PHOTO BY J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

  • Smith Voc ational’s Cole Boisvert powers the ball up strong in the lane to the hoop past PVCICS’ Odin Moore in the third quarter at Hampshire College’s Robert Crown Center in Amherst on Friday. FOR THE GAZETTE / J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

  • Smith Vocational’s Marshall Ingram goes up for a jumper in the lane over PVCICS’ Kyan Frantz in the third quarter at Hampshire College’s Robert Crown Center in Amherst on Friday. PHOTO BY J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

  • Smith Vocational’s Cole Boisvert brings the ball up the court as PVCICS’ Robbie Hayes stands in his way in the third quarter at Hampshire College’s Robert Crown Center in Amherst on Friday. FOR THE GAZETTE / J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

  • Smith Vocational coach Akara Holder gives instructions to his players during a timeout in the third quarter against PVCICS at Hampshire College’s Robert Crown Center in Amherst on Friday. FOR THE GAZETTE / J. ANTHONY ROBERTS

Published: 12/17/2021 8:50:31 PM

AMHERST — Akara Holder frequently tells his Smith Vocational boys basketball players “do the work.”

It’s a reminder from the coach to transfer their effort from practice to games and play Vikings basketball, which involves communication, ball movement and defensive effort. The statement hits a little harder when its players’ beige work boots sit with their backpacks behind the bench.

They needed the hint Friday against the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School on Friday at Hampshire College’s Robert Crown Center. The Vikings held a nine-point lead at halftime after the Dragons outscored them in a sloppy second quarter.

“We were falling into their game instead of playing our game. We’re a vocational school we work,” Holder said. “It’s that mindset in doing work. They put in work on the back end, it’s bringing it up to the front end. I think they were a little lackadaisical.”

The Vikings clocked in for the second half. They ripped off a 13-0 run to start the third quarter and ran away with a 53-18 victory. They held PVCICS to just one field goal for the first 11 minutes, 11 seconds of the second half, using their press to neutralize the Dragons’ offense and generate points in transition.

“They were way more dialed in,” Holder said. “The press, they were a having a harder time with it because we were getting better with our communication, we we were playing a way tighter press.”

The press forced 14 PVCICS turnovers in the third quarter and helped a nine-point lead grow to 20. Cole Boisvert scored five of his seven points in the frame.

Marshall Ingram led the Vikings with 18 points. He scored five in the first quarter to help Smith Vocational to a 9-2 start and grabbed five rebounds. His four points in the second quarter were all the Vikings mustered.

PVCICS outscored them 6-4 in the frame. Kyan Frantz had four of his team-high six points.

“It always takes us a while to settle in. I think game speed is hard to recreate for us in practice,” PVCICS coach Brian Waldron said. “Sometimes when they step on the court against a good team, it takes a little while to get your confidence and get their game legs.”

The Dragons struggled after halftime, scoring just two points in the third quarter. Smith Vocational stretched its lead to as many as 36 when Jack Riley made it 53-17 with 1:17 left. Ten Vikings scored. Myles Chinappa added seven points, while Jayon Black (five assists) had six.

“When you're swinging the ball as a team, we were able to find the middle, and when we were able to find the middle we got layups,” Ingram said. “By not passing the ball, we can’t get there.”

The nature of the score line allowed PVCICS to rotate through its entire lineup, which includes five freshmen. The Dragons scored seven points in the fourth quarter, their highest output of the game, and its bench was cheering every one, still engaged.

“I think it’s really important to create the right atmosphere on the team, and I think we have a great one,” Waldron said. “And I don’t necessarily think that’s from the coaches. I think that’s form our senior leaders. We just have a really good morale in the team.”


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