WILLIAMSTOWN -- The Mount Greylock girls basketball team battled early-game jitters, but hot shooting from Lucy Barrett led the Mounties to a 56-53 win over Mahar in a Western Mass. Division III first-round game Monday.
Barrett scored 22 of her game-high 30 points -- a career high -- in the second half, including a deep 3-pointer from the right wing to give her team the lead with less than two minutes left in the game. Mahar coach Larry Fisher said Barrett's four second-half 3-pointers were too much for Mahar to overcome.
"We went into a zone to begin with, and we wanted to stay with it as long as we could," Fisher said. "They hit a couple of bombers and that really hurt."
Greylock's shooting was solid in the second half, but Mahar's zone caused the Mounties trouble early.
Mahar took away the entry pass into the post to center Jenna Benzinger, and the Mounties settled for outside shots.
Mahar held Greylock to just five first-quarter points, as lefty Allyson Parker converted several tough layups in the lane, putting Mahar up eight after the first quarter.
The Senators took a four-point lead into the third quarter, but Barrett came out on fire in the second half.
Her back-to-back 3-pointers cut the Mahar lead to one with 4:14 left in the third quarter.
Barrett's shooting forced Mahar out of the zone, allowing Benzinger more room to operate.
"If they went to man-to-man earlier, I feel like we would have been a little better off," Greylock coach Paul Barrett said. "Our mindset was so much into the zone, that we lost focus on how to attack it. But we settled down."
Benzinger's 10 rebounds, along with nine from Julia Vlahopoulos, allowed Greylock to limit Mahar to one shot, and created second-chance opportunities on offense.
Vlahopoulos started for MacKenzie Flynn, who was ill. Lucy Barrett said it was important for the team to win and give the senior Flynn a chance to play another game.
"Julia played within herself. She knew she wasn't MacKenzie and that was my biggest concerns -- we lost a great defender," Paul Barrett said. "But Julia stepped in and came up with some big rebounds."
As Barrett's shots continued to fall in the second half, she became more and more confident, but Mahar and guard Parker never backed down.
After a Barrett jumper put Greylock up five with 5:14 left in the game, the Senators answered with 6-0 run capped by a Parker 3-pointer. The three gave Mahar a one-point lead. Barrett answered by sinking two free throws. Parker led Mahar with 16 points.
A Cassie Verheyen layup put Mahar up one, setting up the deep three from Barrett that would seal the game. Parker had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but her shot missed wide right.
"In the beginning of the game we were not playing our game, and we were not confident," Lucy Barrett said. "At the end of the game we were playing our kind of basketball, and when we needed a defensive stop we got them."
Paul Barrett credited the hours spent in the gym by daughter Lucy, for giving her the confidence to continue to shoot despite struggling in the first half.
Now the Mounties face South Division champion Hoosac Valley in the next round. Greylock was 0-2 against Hoosac in the regular season, but Paul Barrett feels his team gained confidence after their second matchup.
"They know us; we know them. We had a little more success the second time, so hopefully our confidence is a little bit greater," he said.
To reach Akeem Glaspie:
or (413) 496-6252.
On Twitter: @THEAkeemGlaspie.