County's Basketball All-Stars Shine at Wahconah
DALTON, Mass. – The rims at the new Wahconah Regional High School got a workout on Friday night.
The best high school boys basketball players in the county combined for 15 (successful) dunks in the game and countless more in warm-ups as they celebrated the end of the season with a high-flying and high-scoring Berkshire County Basketball Officials 2021-22 All-Star Game.
The boys’ final score was 105-95 as Drury’s Louis Guillotte and Monument Mountain’s Khalil Carlson and Caden Gidarakos each scored 16 points to lead their team to victory.
In the girls game, Wahconah’s Grace Wigington scored 15 points to lead her team to an 83-73 win.
Although defense was not a priority in either game, the girls contest featured a little more effort on that end and a lot less standing to the side and creating open lanes for dunk attempts.
It also featured a pretty solid comeback effort by the team coached by Lee’s Rick Puleri.
Monument Mountain’s John Perreault coached a team that was hampered by the absence of Hoosac Valley’s Averie McGrath, Gabby Billetz and Rylynn Witek, who all were on the bench to cheer on their friends but wore street clothes. The Hurricanes were the only players on any of the four all-star teams with a real game left on their schedule: Sunday’s Division 5 State Championship game.
Lenox’s Mia Giardina scored in the post midway through the first quarter to give Perreault’s team a 12-2 lead.
But Puleri’s squad battled back. Caroline Maloney scored twice in transition in a 16-6 run that ended with Wigington’s transition basket to tie the game after one quarter.
In the second, Puleri’s team opened up a nine-point lead on Olivia Gamberoni’s 3-pointer midway through the period, but Perrault’s squad got the lead down to four at half-time after Giardina hit a jumper from the right wing to make it 42-38.
It was a one-possession game early in the third when Monument Mountain’s Natalie Lewis hit a 3 to make it 44-41, but Puleri’s team scored the next six – a putback by Mount Greylock’s Charlotte Coody and a pair of buckets in transition from Lee’s Emma Puleri – to quickly go up by nine and never looked back.
The boys game was played almost entirely behind the 3-point line or in the post. The teams combined for 24 triples to go with the 15 dunks, together accounting for 39 of the game’s 88 field goals.
The team coached by Hoosac Valley’s Bill Robinson jumped out to an early 9-2 lead, but most of the first quarter was a one- or two-possession game after Mount Everett’s Michael Ullrich threw down a dunk to give the team coached by Eagles coach Jowe Warren a 15-14 advantage.
In the second quarter, Robinson’s team pulled out to a 16-point lead on a 3-pointer by Drury’s Ben Moulton midway through the quarter. But the opposition rallied, getting five points, including a game-tying triple by Lenox’s Michael Butler to draw even at 48-48.
It was 51-50 for Warren’s team after Wahconah’s Brody Calvert hit a 3 at the buzzer to end the first half.
But Robinson’s team opened the second half on a 26-8 run to take control of the game for good.
Although the county’s officials organize the annual all-star games and pass out season-ending awards, they largely stayed in the background on Friday night; the teams combined for zero foul shots in the two games.
But, as always, one of the highlights of the night was the opportunity to recognize individual achievement this winter.
Hoosac Valley’s McGrath and Wahconah’s Ben Noyes were recognized with the annual Sportsmanship Award. Robinson was recognized with the coaching Sportsmanship Award.
And Taconic senior Ahliya Phillips received the Oswald Tower Scholarship.
The scholarship, which is funded in part by ticket sales at the annual all-star game, is named for Tower, a North Adams native and all-America player at Williams College who was part of the first class of the Basketball Hall of Fame along with James Naismith.
Oswald, a member of the National Basketball Rules Committee form 1910-60, helped shape the game as it is played today and is known for the Oswald Tower Philosophy, “It is the purpose of the rules to penalize a player who, by reason of an illegal act, has placed his opponent at a disadvantage.”
Coach John Perreault (73)
Jamie Duquette 2-1-0-7; Randi Duquette 1-1-0-5; Mia Giardina 1-0-0-2; Alyssa Russell 2-4-0-14; Elee Hull 11-0-0-22; Abby Dohoney 2-2-0-10; Natalie Lewis 4-1-0-11. Totals: 23-9-0-73.
Coach Rick Puleri (83)
Maddie Winn 3-2-0-12; Emma Puleri 6-1-0-15; Caroline Maloney 4-2-0-14; Emma Belcher 1-0-0-2; Olivia Gamberoni 1-1-0-5; Grace Wigington 3-3-0-15; Charlotte Coody 5-0-0-10; Macey Tatro 5-0-0-10. Totals: 28-9-0-83.
Coach Jowe Warren (95)
Sean Harrigan 4-2-0-14; Tayvon Sandiver 7-0-0-14; Sam Sherman 0-3-0-9; Michael Ullrich 5-2-0-16; Brody Calvert 2-4-0-16; Pat McLaughlin 0-2-0-6; Ben Noyes 0-0-0-0; Michael Ward 1-0-0-2; Brendan Armstrong 1-2-0-8; Michael Butler 2-2-0-10. Totals: 22-17-0-95.
Coach Bill Robinson (105)
Carter Mungin 4-0-0-8; Tobias Gaulden-Wheeler 1-2-0-8; Ben Moulton 0-2-0-6; Louis Guillotte 8-0-0-16; Tim Brazeau 5-0-0-10; Carson Meczywor 6-1-0-15; Khalil Carlson 8-0-0-16; Caden Gidarakos 5-2-0-16; Kyle Wellenkamp 2-0-0-4; Jacob Howland; Owen Gagne 3-0-6. Totals: 42-7-0-105.