SOUTH HADLEY >> Belief can be a beautiful thing.
"They believed they could win. They went out and did it," Mount Greylock girls basketball coach John Jacobbe said after the ninth-seeded Mounties shocked the Western Massachusetts basketball world.
The Mounties (15-7) got 26 points and 20 rebounds from Jenna Benzinger while Ari Walden added 23 points in Greylock's 62-56 upset of top-seeded South Hadley (19-2) Thursday night. Lauren Howard added 11 for Greylock.
Up next for the Mounties is a semifinal matchup with fourth-seeded Drury, a 47-36 winner over No. 5 Greenfield. The Mounties lost twice to Drury this year, but both teams will be 0-0 next week.
The Mounties let an 8-point lead in the third quarter slip away, and they trailed the Tigers 36-35 after three.
"I said our goal was to be in it" after three quarters, said Jacobbe, discussing the message he gave to his team going into the last quarter. "we just wanted to be in the ball game and trust ourselves."
Greylock outscored South Hadley 27-20 in the fourth quarter, but trailed three different times in the last eight minutes. Each time the Tigers got a one-point lead, the Mounties answered.
South Hadley's Sophie Gatzounas had 23 points and Lexi Gawron had 12. But neither were able to get really hot.
"My goal was to have [Gatzounas] in the 20s and not in the 30s," said Jacobbe. "We made her work for everything."
Walden 7-6-23, Benzinger 10-6-26, Howard 4-0-11, Reinhard 0-1-1, Stripp 0-1-1. Totals: 21-14-62.
SOUTH HADLEY (56)
Gatzounas 6-10-23, L. Gawron 3-3-12, M. Edge 2-3-7, A. Edge 1-1-3, Kelly 2-2-7, Fitzgerald 1-2-4, Blaney 0-0-0, B. Gawron 0-0-0, Zatowski 0-0-0, Grochowalski 0-0-0, Ippolito 0-0-0, Conner 0-0-0, Medina 0-0-0. Totals: 16-21-56.
3-pointer goals — MG 6 (Howard 3, Walden 3), SH 5 (Gawron 3, Gatzounas, Kelly).
LEE 46, MONSON 37
MONSON >> Lee avenged a 13-point loss to Monson from all the way back on Dec. 10 with a road victory Thursday to advance to the Western Mass. Division IV semifinal round.
Karli Retzel scored 12 points for Lee while Mikayla DeSantis contributed 10 points, including three 3-pointers. Kendra Williams scored 10 points and collected 11 rebounds for the Berkshire County squad.
The sixth-seeded Wildcats (13-9) fell behind by five points after one quarter but bounced back to take a 22-21 lead into halftime. Lee led by one heading into the fourth and outscored No. 3 Monson 17-9 in the final frame to advance to the semis.
The Wildcats will face second-seeded Mount Everett at Curry Hicks Cage on Monday with a berth in the final on the line. It's Lee's first Cage appearance since 2013.
"I just think that we've really grown together as a team," Lee coach Jenna Gangell said about her squad's transformation from the season-opening Monson loss until now.
According to Gangell, Williams played very well, holding Monson's top scorer Miranda Couture to only 12 points, including zero in the second half.
Williams 4-2-10, Walker 2-0-5, Bartini 0-0-0, Retzel 3-4-12, Fera 1-0-2, Finnegan 0-0-0, Hawley 1-5-7, DeSantis 3-1-10. Totals 14-12-46.
Dee 0-0-0, Jalbert 1-0-2, Hulbert 0-0-0, Tyburski 0-0-0, Couture 4-1-12, Martin 2-0-4, Gerry 2-2-7, Zielinski 0-0-0, Murphy 3-0-6, Bren 1-3-5. Totals 13-6-37.
3-point goals — L 6 (DeSantis 3, Retzel 2, Walker). M 4 (Couture 3, Gerry).