WMass girls basketball: Northampton tops Division 2 tournament field again

  • Northampton senior guard Amanda Mieczkowski, left, gets around a press by Amherst freshman guard Daizany Mares in the first half of the Blue Devils' 57-48 win over the Hurricanes on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, in Northampton.

  • Brie Salomao, center, of Hampshire Regional, looks to pass against Northampton defenders Emily Sledzieski, left, and Amanda Mieczkowski, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 at Hampshire Regional High School.

Published: 2/22/2020 7:48:57 PM

SPRINGFIELD — The No. 1 seed in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 Girls Basketball Tournament and Northampton go hand in hand.

The Blue Devils have received the top seed in the tournament every year since they were realigned for the 2018 season, and the streak continued Saturday. Not that it matters much to Northampton (16-4) or its coach Perry Messer.

“(Seeds) don’t mean anything,” he said. “They just tell you who and where you play.”

The two-time sectionalchampions and returning state finalists will host No. 8 Pittsfield on Thursday. The Blue Devils defeated the Generals (10-10) by 20 in their season opener.

It’s the first time Northampton will play in a Division 2 quarterfinal since it received byes to the semifinals in each of the past two years with only six teams in the tournament.

“Not having the real long layoff is good,” Messer said. “You’ve gotta come to play. I’m happy to coach the squad I’ve got. We’ve had a lot of adversity this season. It’s a clean slate.”

Amherst Regional (15-5) received the No. 7 seed and will travel to No. 2 Longmeadow on Thursday. The Hurricanes are returning to the postseason after a year away.

Division 3

Hampshire Regional set goals before the season: reach 10 wins, win the Suburban League and earn a top-three seed in the sectional tournament. The Raiders checked off 10 wins in late January and clinched the league title last week. Saturday marked another goal when Hampshire (13-7) was named the No. 2 seed in the Western Massachusetts tournament.

“So far so good,” Raiders coach Dan Labrie said. “We also realize that it’s 0-0 right now and it’s a whole different game now. It’s win or go home.”

Hampshire has a bye to the quarterfinals, where it’ll host either No. 7 South Hadley (9-11) or No. 10 Mahar (12-8) on Thursday. The Raiders beat the Senators in their season opener and went 2-0 against the Tigers in league play.

South Hadley will host Mahar on Monday. In the initial seeding list, South Hadley was ninth. But the committee crafted the seeds with South Hadley’s record an inaccurate 8-12. Once their correct record was inserted, it shuffled the No. 7-9 seeds.

Frontier Regional (14-6) fell from No. 7 to No. 8, while Palmer (10-10) dropped from No. 8 to No. 9. The Red Hawks will host the Panthers on Monday. Whoever wins goes to No. 1 Wahconah (16-4) for the quarterfinals Thursday.

Granby (10-10) received the No. 6 seed and is hosting No. 11 Mount Greylock (10-10) on Monday. The winner goes to No. 3 Hoosac Valley (14-6) on Thursday.

No. 12 Easthampton (12-8) qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2013. The Eagles will face No. 5 Sabis (11-9) in Springfield on Monday. The winner goes to No. 4 Greenfield (15-5) on Thursday.

Division 4

Hopkins Academy will begin its quest for a second-straight sectional title as the No. 6 seed. The Golden Hawks (12-8) will host No. 13 Hampden Charter (11-7) on Monday. The quarterfinals are Thursday.

Monson received the top seed at 18-2.

Gateway Regional qualified for the postseason with a win in its final game. The 15th-seeded Gators (10-10) will travel to No. 2 Ware on Monday.

Division 1

No. 5 Holyoke (10-10) will play in the tournament’s lone quarterfinal, traveling to No. 4 Westfield (11-9) on Thursday.

Central earned the top seed at 12-7 and will host the winner. The Golden Eagles edged No. 2 Minnechaug (16-4), which will face No. 3 Chicopee (14-6) in the other semifinal.

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

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