Carpenter Sets County Scoring Mark in Quarter-Final Win

By Stephen Sports
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SHEFFIELD, Mass. -- Gwendolyn Carpenter’s mom is the official scorer for the Mount Everett girls basketball team at home games.
Amy Carpenter’s daughter? Well, let’s just say she’s not as good at keeping track of the points.
“I didn’t know that that was it,” Carpenter said of the drive to the basket that Friday made her the most prolific scorer in the history of Berkshire County high school basketball. “I looked around. They were hitting the horn, and I was like, ‘What is happening right now?’
“But I just remember driving to the basket. I was a little confused. But I just wanted to keep the game going because we were getting some momentum.”
Carpenter’s bucket with three minutes left in the second quarter gave her team a 30-21 lead and came in the middle of an eventual 17-8 run to close the first half of a 69-53 win over Renaissance in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 quarter-finals.
That bucket also gave Carpenter 2,056 points in her high school career, allowing her to nudge past 1992 Lenox graduate Samantha Herrick into first place on the county scoring list for boys and girls.
Carpenter finished the night with 33 points -- 2,072 for her career, which sent her up toward the top 50 for scorers in the commonwealth all-time.
Of more immediate concern to her is that those 33 points helped send the fourth-seeded Eagles (15-7) back to Curry Hicks Cage, where on Monday they will take on No. 1 Monson (15-7), a 69-28 winner over Pope Francis on Friday night.
It has been a winter of milestones for the Mount Everett senior, who became, in order, the leading scorer in her school’s history, the second Berkshire County cager to reach the 2,000-point plateau and, Friday, the highest scorer in the league’s annals.
“It’s really nice to just be able to take a deep breath and enjoy it for once and not have to say, ‘What’s the next number?’ “ Carpenter said. “But it’s been really cool to be a part of. I want to thank everyone -- my coaches, my teammates, my family. It’s a result of all of them and how much they’ve helped me and how much hard work they’ve put in as well as I have.”
The No. 5 Phoenix (21-1) made Mount Everett work hard all night in a game that was much more hard-fought than the 16-point final margin indicates.
Renaissance opened the second half on an 8-2 run to get within 11 points and had the margin down to nine when Desiree Crawford (team-high 29) hit a 3-pointer with 5 minutes, 44 seconds left to play.
Carpenter answered back with a triple at the other end, and after a Renaissance turnover in the backcourt, Carpenter got to the foul line, where she sank both to make it 59-45. Renaissance center Da-Sha Wilson was whistled for an offensive foul two possessions later, sending her to the bench with five, and Madeline VonRuden scored to push the Eagles lead back to 16 points with just more than four minutes to play.
The Phoenix never got closer than 14 the rest of the way.
“We knew it was going to be a close game, and we talked about how basketball is a game of runs,” Carpenter said. “If we matched their runs and maybe got a few more, we’d be in a good position. The first quarter was tough. Their energy was just as high as ours.
“But once we got a couple of their players in foul trouble, we were getting our momentum going forward.”
Madison Ullrich scored 21 point and pulled down a team-high 16 rebounds for the Eagles, who got eight points from VonRuden and seven from Marion Devoti.
Carpenter had 10 rebounds and five assists to go along with her 33 points.
Her coach is used to that kind of all-around game from his senior point guard.
“You wouldn’t realize a 5-4 point guard scored two thousand, seventy-some points now, but also had close to 900 rebounds in her career, she had 700 and eighty-something assists, 400 and some-odd steals, the kid does it all,” Scott Rote said. “When she goes to college [at Framingham State], she’s going to be able to play the game she wants to play. She wants to be a true point guard. She wants 6-2, 6-3 girls around her who she can dish the ball to.
“If she scores seven, eight points per game in college, I’ll be amazed. But she’ll have 10 or 12 assists per game.”
Mount Everett is going to need another big all-around performance from Carpenter in the Cage against Monson, a 2017 state finalist who back in December escaped Sheffield with a 56-50 win.
“We had ‘em,” Rote said. “We were up one with like two minutes to go, and Gwen picked up two fouls in 30 seconds. She fouled out and we lost by [six]. We had them nervous.
“Like I said to the girls last week: The bottom line is for us to win Western Mass, we have to beat Monson. They are the best team in Western Mass … Well, maybe second best.”
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