Carpenter, Mount Everett Girls Survive Matinee at Pioneer Valley
NORTHFIELD, Mass. -- At the end of a brutal 22 hours of basketball, the Mount Everett girls basketball team was clearly running on fumes.
But the Eagles had just enough left in the tank on Saturday afternoon to earn a 48-45 win over Pioneer Valley Tech.
Gwen Carpenter scored 19 points and made several big plays down the stretch to help Mount Everett snap a two-game losing streak and improve to 7-3 this season.
The second of those losses ended just 18 hours before Saturday’s 3 p.m. tipoff -- an always tough battle against Berkshire South rival Lee.
“I think we were all exhausted,” Carpenter said. “Going back-to-back games is really, really tough. We’ve been working on conditioning in practice, so that helps, but definitely in the fourth quarter, we were all taking it slower, and we were all, like, ‘OK, slow it down now.’ “
Maybe offensively, but the Eagles kept up their full-court pressure on defense right to the end, and it paid big dividends.
At about the two-minute mark, Carpenter stole the ball out of the press and went the other way for a lay-in to make it 45-44, erasing Pioneer Valley’s final lead of the night.
After the teams traded a few empty trips, the Panthers (6-4) hit a free throw to tie the game with 27 seconds left.
Mount Everett (7-3) committed a turnover with 18 seconds on the clock, and it put the Panthers on the line again with a chance to take the lead. Pioneer Valley came up empty on a two-shot foul, but the rebound on the second shot went out of bounds off Mount Everett with 15 seconds left.
The Panthers inbounded the ball under their basket, but Carpenter stole their second pass and immediately drew a foul.
She went to the line with 12 seconds on the clock and sank both ends of a one-and-one to give Mount Everett a 47-45 lead.
After the second make, Mount Everett pressed, and Carpenter came up with a steal at midcourt with 2 seconds on the clock. This time, she hit the front end of the one-and-one but missed the second, a rare miss for a sophomore who on Saturday moved within 11 points of 1,000 in her stellar career.
Kelsey Netzer scored nine points, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to give the Eagles a 37-35 lead, and Madison Ullrich scored seven and came up with some big rebounds.
All of the Eagles came up big in overcoming the schedule and a game Pioneer Valley team.
“It’s difficult, and I give the kids a lot of credit,” Mount Everett coach Scott Rote said. “We came out and had moments of flatness there, where I thought our energy was down. We couldn’t go into an X’s and O’s half-time speech. It had to be all motivation because the kids were slowly starting drain.”
Carpenter said the Eagles knew just what was at stake as the team hit the half-way point in the season.
“The Lee game last night was tough, but we were excited to get to this game today, and we knew we had to win it,” she said. “[The fourth quarter] was stressful, but we talked about it and knew this game was going to be a turning point. We had two tough games to start January, so we needed to win this game. Everyone stepped it up, and we came through.”
Mount Everett is home on Thursday against Mount Greylock, when Carpenter will need 11 to joint the 1,000-point club.