Photo Gallery | Pittsfield falls to Longmeadow in Hoophall Classic
SPRINGFIELD >> If Kayla Mokwuah had missed Longmeadow's bus to the Hoophall Tournament Friday night, Pittsfield might have stood a good chance of getting a win.
Unfortunately for the Generals, she was right on time. The 6-foot-3 sophomore put on quite a show, registering a triple-double with a game-high 24 points, 26 rebounds and 14 blocked shots, and was the difference as the Lancers scored a 63-40 win over the Generals (6-3) in the third of four girls basketball games at Blake Arena. She was her team's most valuable player
"It's different looking up. I had my hands up and she's taller than me with my hands up," said Pittsfield center Allie Hunt. "It's definitely a challenge. You have to make sure that she doesn't get the ball. Once she does, she leaves it in the air, and there's no getting to it."
The Generals hung with Longmeadow for just over a quarter. The Lancers closed out the first quarter on a 6-1 run, turning a two-point PHS lead into a three-point deficit.
Longmeadow wasn't done, as the Lancers just about pitched a shutout in the second quarter and outscored the Generals 19-2. Pittsfield's only points came on two free throws by Peyton Steinman with 1:18 remaining in the quarter.
"I thought we did halfway decent in the first quarter. Then we started changing personnel and we lost contact with [Mokwuah]," said Pittsfield coach Joe Racicot. "She's up and above everybody anyway, so it was just a matter of time.
"That's tough to go against."
Just ask Peyton Steinman. The Pittsfield junior, who was the Generals' MVP in the game, had a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds. But nothing came easy for Steinman, who was 9 of 31 from the floor and 1 for 14 from the 3-point arc.
As a team, Pittsfield was just 16 of 75 from the floor and 1 for 22 from outside the arc.
What made it more difficult is that almost every time the PHS standout turned around, she was being doubleteamed.
"It definitely gets frustrating, but I have to keep playing," said Steinman. "I have to relax and realize that double teams create open shots for other girls.
Easier said than done with the Lancers' 6-3 pivot playing a one-person zone defense in the lane. While she had 14 blocked shots, she probably altered about 10 others during the course of the game.
"Kayla makes up for a lot," Longmeadow coach Andrea Enright said. "Our guards can gamble because she always is there to kind of pick up where anybody messes up. The guards are able to overguard up top, when Kayla is behind them."
Pittsfield had a glimmer of hope in the fourth quarter. The Generals had cut was a 22-point lead to 14 when Steinman scored off a Longmeadow turnover to make it 50-36.
Mokwuah missed the next trip down, Toni Satrape got the rebound, but Pittsfield missed two chances to cut into the lead. Steinman was short on a 3-pointer and Satrape missed on the putback. Mokwuah got the rebound and eventually was fouled in the act. She scored eight points in the 9-1 run that followed, and that was that.
Steinman was the only General to score in double figures. Kaite Fydenkevez had 17 points for Longmeadow while the Lancers' Taylor Shubrick chipped in with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
The Lancers, who won the Western Massachusetts Division II title in 2013, will be seeking its third consecutive top seed in the tournament.
"We needed a measuring stick on where we were in our division," said Racicot. "Now we know they're a legit team."
Steinman 9-3-22, Aitken 3-0-6,Hunt 1-2-4, Perkett 2-0-4, Eline-Wright 1-1-3, Curry 0-1-1, Murphy 0-0-0, Cookis 0-0-0, Quetti 0-0-0, Satrape 0-0-0. Totals 16-7-40.
Mokwuah 11-2-24, Fydenkevez 8-0-17, T. Shubrick 1-8-10, Gelinas 3-0-6, Shapiro 1-1-3, Barrett 1-0-2, Churnick 0-1-1, Weldon 0-0-0, Barrett 0-0-0, Michon 0-0-0. Totals 25-12-63.
3-point goals — P 1 (Steinman). L 1 (Fydenkevez).