Photo Gallery | Mount Everett at Mount Greylock girls basketball
WILLIAMSTOWN — With the Berkshire South title on the line, the Mount Greylock girls basketball team turned to its defense to earn the crown. The Mounties held Mount Everett to single-digit scoring in quarters one and three, building a big lead and holding on for a 58-45 win on Tuesday. The win clinches Greylock's second-straight South title.
Everett won the first meeting at home, but Greylock point guard Ari Walden missed the game with an ankle injury. Walden returned for the second meeting, appearing healthy and active in front of her home crowd on Senior Night. She played tight defense on Everett's Gwendolyn Carpenter and did a good job of playing off Jenna Benzinger inside. Walden scored 11 points, but her defense was key.
"The difference was Walden," Mount Everett coach Scott Rote said. "The first game she wasn't there, so our guard play was easier for us, trying to pressure them into mistakes."
Walden's ability to find Benzinger in the post allowed the host to pull away. They led by 15 at halftime and Benzinger's six straight points in the third quarter stretched the lead to 20. She finished with a game-high 24 points. She added 23 rebounds and four blocks as well. After struggling at times early in the season, Benzinger is playing some of her best ball heading into the tournament. She's averaging 25.66 points per game over her last three.
"Jenna's been playing well," Mount Greylock coach John Jacobbe said. "We know she has size and she played all offseason to get better. She had some up-and-downs early in the year, but the last three games she had 31, 22 and 24 [points]."
Jacobbe added that the team's been moving the ball better lately, allowing Benzinger to be in position to score.
"We just went at it with a lot heart," Walden said. "It's a lot easier for me as the point guard to have that go-to person. [Benzinger] is always open and she's always posting up really well."
In the fourth, Carpenter did a good job of attacking the basket and drawing trips to the line. She scored nine of her 22 points in the final quarter, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit. No other Mount Everett player scored in double figures.
"Tonight was a good win over a good team that beat some good teams," Jacobbe said. "We're 13-7, we had a nice year. We won the South and we'll see what happens with the [Western Massachusetts tournament] seedlings."
Coon 2-0-4, Carpenter 4-12-22, Devoti 0-0-0, Ullrich 3-0-6, Abbott 2-0-4, Snyder 2-0-4, Netzer 2-0-5. Totals: 15-12-45.
Byrnes 0-0-0, Walden 3-4-11, Flynn 0-2-2, Reinhard 0-0-0, Albert 3-0-7, Stripp 2-3-7, Howard 2-0-6, Benzinger 10-4-24. Totals: 20-14-58.
3-point goals — ME 2 (Carpenter 2, Netzer) MG 4 (Howard 2, Albert, Walden).