Monument Mountain Boys Draw Top Seed in D3 Tournament
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The Monument Mountain boys basketball team has no problem with the great big target painted on its back on Saturday afternoon.
In fact, it’s what the Spartans have wanted for months.
“They set the goal to win Western Mass and be in the final four of the state tournament and win that too,” Monument coach Mike Saporito said moments after Monument Mountain was announced as the top seed in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 tournament. “They set the goals, and we try to set up the atmosphere where they can accomplish those goals. Right from the opening tryout right through the preseason, we've been treating them and working with them in a way to reach their goal.
“We've continued to plug along and, luckily, we were able to win some games. We're happy to be the 1 seed. In order to win this thing, it takes two things: the belief that you can and being able to set yourself up with that first-round bye. The guys committed to a belief that we could do it, and luckily we were able to get a first round bye, which always makes it easier, and then to get a first-round home game.”
The Spartans (17-3) will play that home game in the sectional quarter-finals on Friday night in Great Barrington against either No. 8 Frontier (13-7) or No. 9 Mahar (13-7), who meet on Tuesday in the first round of the 12-team D3 tourney.
In Division 4, Drury joins Monument in playing the waiting game. The Blue Devils (16-4) drew the No. 2 seed in D4 and await the winner of Tuesday’s first-rounder between No. 10 Westfield Tech (10-8) and No. 7 Duggan (16-4). Drury ended up sitting just behind top seed and defending champion Hopkins Academy (18-2).
Hopkins is the quarter-final opponent of either No. 8 McCann Tech (12-8) or No. 9 Hampden Charter (10-10). The Hornets host that first-round matchup on Tuesday. It will be the third meeting of the year between the two squads; McCann came out on top in the first two games.
Back in D3, the top-seeded Spartans are joined by two Berkshire County foes: No. 5 Wahconah (12-8) and No. 6 Mount Greylock (14-6).
Wahconah drew No. 12 Greenfield (7-13) in the first round on Tuesday with a berth against No. 4 Narragansett (17-3) on the line.
The Mounties edged out Southwick (14-6) for the sixth seed in the D3 field and were rewarded with a first-round date Tuesday against No. 11 Palmer (10-10). It’s a safe bet that few six teams come into the tourney hotter than Mount Greylock, which has won its last nine since the return of standout forward Sean McCormack to the lineup in late January.
In Division 2, Taconic (13-7) comes in as the No. 6 seed and travels to No. 3 Tantasqua (14-6) for a Friday quarter-final.
“We're still gathering information, but I've seen some film on them, read some things through the media and have seen them play in the past,” Taconic coach Bill Heaphy said. “They played Pittsfield High, and I talked to the Pittsfield High coach. They're big. Pretty good guard play. And they're well coached.
“Our motto has always been it's not who we play or where we play, it's how we play. That's what we drill into them. I think we're excited, and we'll be ready to go on Friday. We took a day off yesterday. We're practicing right now. And scrimmaging tomorrow. Then we'll start to get ready what we need to do against Tantasqua.”
As always, there is a 24-hour waiting period before seeds are official on Sunday to allow for teams to file appeals with the seeding committee. The dates of games are subject to change (but unlikely to do so) based on mutual agreement of the schools involved.