Hoophall Classic: Hot shooting of Hopkins Academy too much for Wahconah boys basketball to overcome
SPRINGFIELD — Four minutes into Thursday's opening game of the 2018 Hoophall Classic, Wahconah had a seven-point lead, and things looked pretty good for the Warriors. It didn't end up that way.
Wahconah scored 13 points in four minutes, but managed only 30 the rest of the way while Hopkins Academy was flat out torrid from outside. Hopkins (7-1) was 11 for 17 from outside the 3-point arc, and the Golden Hawks pulled away to beat Wahconah 63-47.
The Warriors (5-2) led 18-16 after one quarter on Antwaun Fye's basket at the buzzer, but Hopkins held the Warriors to one basket in the quarter until Fye's buzzer beater at halftime.
"It's certainly something we've been battling in the early part of the season," Wahconah coach Dustin Belcher said. "Normally, we're able to kind of survive it with our defense. Hats off to Hopkins. They were knocking shots down. Some of them were us not doing our job defensively. A few of them were contested. They were tough shots."
Tom Burris was awarded the team MVP honor for Wahconah. The junior forward had a team-high 14 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Tim Clayton and Fye each added nine for the Warriors.
"They played really aggressive. We played soft, kind of," said Burris. "We didn't really respond well. We didn't play our game.
"On the big stage, we were kind of nervous."
Three Hopkins players scored in double figures. Game MVP Justin Ciaglo had a double-double with a game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds. He also had four assists. Ciaglo missed only one of seven 3-point shot attempts.
Fye's bank shot at the buzzer made it 18-16 after one quarter. Hopkins came out quickly in the second quarter.
Jon Morrison made 1 of 2 from the line when he went strong to the basket on Hopkins' first possession of the quarter. Off a Wahconah turnover, John Earle (17 points) hit a trey and Belcher called a quick time out with 7:25 left and the score 20-18.
From that point, Wahconah was outscored 15-7 the rest of the quarter, Hopkins held a 35-25 halftime lead, and extended the lead to 42-25 early in the final quarter.
"I think we get frustrated when we don't get anything on offense," said Burris, "and they start popping threes and making them. It kind of drains us."
Hopkins' Morrison, a 6-foot-5 pivot who scored his 1,000th point in his team's last game, wasn't needed to do that much. He finished with 11 points and five rebounds, and said that when his teammates are shooting like that, it's something to see.
Morrison is connected to Wahconah by family. His father Andy played at Wahconah.
"It was really special," Jon Morrison said. "My dad was giving me crap all week, saying that we're really soft and Wahconah is the tougher team. It's kind of special for me.
"It's bragging rights in my house for a little bit."
The Warriors, meanwhile, can't dwell on their second consecutive loss. A Friday night date with Lenox awaits.
"I think the atmosphere here helped us to not really dwell [on the loss to Monument Mountain]," Belcher said. "They were pumped to be coming to play in the Hoophall. It's a great honor.
"The tough part for us, is we have to go to Lenox [Friday] night. We have to make sure we take care of business."
Girard 0-0-0, Clayton 4-1-9, Burris 7-0-14, O'Connor 1-0-3, Fye 4-1-9, Howes 0-2-2, Huban 1-0-2, Gai 1-0-3, Roughley 1-0-2, Noyes 0-0-0, Eberwein 0-0-0, Salvini 1-1-3, Lee 0-0-0. Totals 20-5-47
HOPKINS ACADEMY (63)
Berg 0-0-0, J. Ciaglo 7-1-21, Earle 5-4-17, Butterfield 0-0-0, Waldron 0-0-0, A. Ciaglo 0-0-0, Gnobo 0-0-0, Connor 0-0-0, Morrison 4-3-11, Graves 0-3-3, Belton 0-0-0, Tudryn 1-2-5, Feltovic 0-0-0. Totals 19-14-63.
Wahconah 18 7 8 14 — 47
Hopkins 16 19 16 12 — 63
3-point goals — W 2 (O'Connor, Gai). H 11 (J. Ciaglo 6, Earl 3, Kelley, Tudryn).
Howard Herman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @howardherman on Twitter, and 413-496-6253.
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