Seven Girls, Seven Boys Teams Alive in Western Mass Hoops
Area fans are guaranteed that at least one team will make it.
The Western Massachusetts quarter-finals in Divisions 2, 3 and four feature 13 games of local interest among the 24 that will be contested now through Saturday.
The fun begins Thursday with five games scheduled including one that definitely will send a North County team to Curry Hicks Cage on the campus of the University of Massachusetts.
In Division 3, the seventh-seeded Mount Greylock girls (16-5) survived a first-round upset bid by Mahar and advanced to face No. 2 Hoosac (19-1) in Cheshire in one of Thursday's quarters.
All three North County entrants in the D3 girls field are alive. No. 9 Drury (10-11) heads to Springfield on Thursday to take on the tournament's top seed, Sabis (17-5), which, like Hoosac, had a bye into the quarters.
Another team with a first-round bye is fouth-seeded Pittsfield (13-7) in Division 2. The Generals on Thursday get No. 8 Tantasqua (11-10), which advanced with an easy win over Cathedral on Monday night.
Other girls games of interest on Thursday are in Division 4, where No. 10 Lee and No. 9 Mount Everett look to keep the clock from striking midnight on their Cinderella runs. The Wildcats (4-17) travel to second-seeded Ware (15-4). The Eagles (10-8), fresh off an overtime win, soar into Warren for their matchup against No. 1 Quaboag (17-3).
The county has one other girls team still alive: Division 2's seventh seed, Taconic (11-10). Its quarter-final game at No. 2 North Middlesex (16-4) was moved to Saturday evening at 7 p.m.
In Division 2, Pittsfield and Taconic are one round away Round 3 in their season series. But first the tournament's No. 2 and 3 seeds must get past their quarter-final opponents in the eight-team field.
Third-seeded Taconic (15-5) hosts Quabbin (12-8) at 6 p.m. Then Pittsfield's more rabid basketball fans will make the short drive to PHS to see the Generals (17-3) entertain No. 7 Shepherd Hill (12-7).
If both Pittsfield and Taconic advance, they will play the rubber match in their season series next week in Amherst — date and time to be determined.
The the other two county teams that have been off for nearly a week are in Division 3.
No. 3 Hoosac (14-6) learned its quarter-final foe on Tuesday when Greenfield (13-8) advanced with a dominating win over Palmer. No. 5 Wahconah (13-7) has had plenty of time to prepare for No. 4 Mahar (15-5); the two teams both had byes through the first round of the tourney.
If Hoosac survives, it could run into No. 10 Monument Mountain (11-8), if the Spartans pull off another upset. But it will be a tall order against second-seeded and undefeated Renaissance.
In Division 4, two Berkshire County teams punched their quarter-final ticket on Tuesday night.
Fifth-seeded Lenox (15-6) meets No. 4 Turners Falls (16-4) on Friday. No. 9 Lee (11-10) plays its second straight road game — this time at top-seeded Quaboag (19-1).