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Flynn Leads Mount Greylock Girls Past Lee

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Sports
07:16PM / Saturday, January 18, 2014


WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — When the Mount Greylock girls basketball team lost its 6-foot-2 center to illness, the rest of the Mounties needed to step up their rebounding game.
 
On Saturday, with Jenna Benzinger playing limited minutes off the bench, Mount Greylock got contributions from throughout the lineup in a 55-43 win over Lee.
 
MacKenzie Flynn led the way with a game-high 11 boards to complement her team-high 15 points as the Mounties (7-3 overall) compiled a 54-30 advantage on the glass.
 
"We had been missing Jenna, and she's the tallest player on the team," Flynn said. "She's obviously a big part of our rebounding. Since she's been sick for a while, we really had to step it up, like in our last game. So we've all been really focusing on boxing out and getting those rebounds.
 
"I think that all of us were prepared today to rebound. It wasn't just Jenna this time, and we did really well. We won the offensive boards."
 
Benzinger, who missed Friday's win at St. Joseph, did contribute six points and seven rebounds on Saturday afternoon. But the difference was that every Mountie had at least two boards, and eight of the nine who played (including Benzinger) had at least four.
 
Lucy Barrett finished with 14 points and nine boards plus a game-high four assists.
 
Game-high scoring honors went to Lee's Alyssa Kelly, who finished with 16. Nikki Laudon scored 11 for the Wildcats (2-4).
 
First-year Lee coach Jenna Gangell said that rebounding has been an issue for the 'Cats.
 
"That's something we've struggled with this year," Gangell said. "We're not a very big team. We've just got to do a better job of crashing and finding the angles to the basket."
 
Despite giving up inches to the Mounties all over the floor, Lee held its own most of the game.
 
It was 17-15 midway through the second quarter when Mount Greylock used a 7-0 run to gain some breathing room.
 
Kelsey Orpin got it started with a long two-pointer from the left wing. Next time down, Barrett set up Benzinger in the post. Flynn capped the run with a conventional three-point play in the post after taking a pass from Barrett. Flynn's free throw made it 24-15 with 2 minutes, 39 seconds left in the half.
 
It was a seven-point margin at the half, but Lee scored the first four points of the second on baskets from Kendra Williams and Laudon to make it a one-possession game.
 
Mount Greylock coach Paul Barrett said he was not surprised at the fight the Mounties got from Lee, which lost to Hoosac Valley, 78-25, on Monday.
 
"I know you don't grow up in Lee without having a ball in your hands since you're knee high to a grasshopper or whatever," Barrett said. "I was fully expecting a battle.
 
"And coach Gangell obviously played for them. I imagine she's won a few of those state championships down there. She knows what it takes. Even though they may be down a little bit, there was still enough there. They have their pride, and they have their athleticism, and they hustled and scrapped all over the place."
 
Gangell said her young squad understands that it is a rebuilding year after last year's run to the Division 3 state title game.
 
"They know this is a new year," Gangell said. "They know this is a different team and a different look on things. We'll be alright. We'll get there. It's going to be a bumpy road on the way. It's a learning experience. They know what's to come in the coming years.
 
"We're using this year to make this my own team and put my own spin on things. I see a lot of positives coming out of every game, and we're getting better. That's what I'm concerned with at this point: getting better every game."
Mount Greylock put the game away in the fourth quarter, when a seven-point lead balooned to 19, 55-36, before Lee scored the last seven.
 
The Mounties are off until Thursday, when Hoosac Valley (10-1) comes to call. Barrett knows his team is going to have its work cut out against the defending Western Massachusetts Division 2 champs.
 
"I know [Hoosac] pretty well, but like all the coaches say, you can't simulate that defense in practice," Barrett said. "And the other thing is the height and length. They're all good defenders. Tehy all make you earn whatever you get. They're physical and aggressive."

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