Barrett Scores 30, Hits Clutch Shots as Mounties Advance
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — When pressed last December to name her favorite basketball memory, Mount Greylock junior Lucy Barrett could not come up with an answer.
On Monday night, she had all the answers and made one heck of a memory.
Barrett scored 30 points — including the go-ahead 3-pointer with just more than a minute left and a pairy of game-clinching free throws with 6.9 seconds on the clock — as the Mounties defeated Mahar, 56-53, in the first round of the Western Massachusetts Division 3 tournament.
"This was it — home game and winning this game, absolutely," Barrett said when reminded about her failure to come up with a "favorite memory" earlier in the season.
"I've never made the tournament. I don't know what it's like to have that home court advantage, and tonight I realized it is such a big difference. Playing at home when all the fans goes crazy on every shot gets you so pumped up. And definitely playing in your own gym feels great."
Barrett was great for Mount Greylock in the second half, scoring 22 points, including the last nine points of the game.
After trailing most of the night and then losing all of a six-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Mounties dug in and outscored their guests, 5-1, in the closing minutes to advance to Thursday's quarter-final at No. 2 Hoosac Valley (19-1).
The winning points came after one of Jenna Benzinger's 13 rebounds led to a transition opportunity that found Barrett all by herself on the right side behind the 3-pointer arc.
"I wasn't thinking about it at all," Barrett said. "It was another 3 that I've been practicing all season long, just like I take. In the beginning, I was definitely thinking way too much, as I was 1-for-13 or something like that.
"But it was second half, clean slate, and I didn't hesititate and just pulled up.
"I didn't actually know what the score was."
Her fifth 3-pointer of the game gave the Mounties a 54-52 lead.
Mount Greylock failed to score on its next two trips, and Barrett grabbed back-to-back defensive rebounds to keep Mahar from getting some of the second-chance points that plagued the Mounties all night.
With 12.7 seconds left, Allyson Parker (16 points) got to the line for a pair of free throws. She hit the second to get Mahar back within one point.
Mahar needed to foul the Mounties twice to get them to the foul line, and Barrett ended up going to the line for the team's first one-and-one opportunity of the game.
"I went through a little slump at the middle of the season, and I wasn't confident in my free throws, and I've just been going every day with my dad to shoot extra free throws knowing that in end of game situations, I need to be making them," Barrett said.
Her dad, Mount Greylock coach Paul Barrett, said he was glad that all Lucy's hard work at the foul line paid off when the team really needed it.
"Since the season started, she's shot well more than 1,500 free throws above and beyond what we do in practice," Paul Barrett said. "She's in that gym every single day for another 15 minutes longer than everybody else.
"She's made herself into that in order to give her that confidence. It's nice when there's some fruits of her labor."
As a team, the Mounties were dealt a blow on Monday afternoon when senior captain and starting forward Mackenzie Flynn went home from school seriously ill. She was not able to make it back to watch the game, let alone play in it.
Classmate Julia Vlahopoulos stepped into the starting role and grabbed nine rebounds to go along with five points.
"Basically, Mac [Flynn] doesn't come off the floor for us all that much," Paul Barrett said. "So we were having different lineups in there that we haven't had before. Even on the inbounds plays, just knowing where to go. It was just so many things.
"It wasn't just Julia that needed to step up. It was everybody stepping up. Kelsey [Orpin] made a couple of huge plays defensively. Haley [Reinhard] had her hands on a few balls. And they created stuff. Again, knowing that we had a different lineup out there than any of us were accustomed to, I thought they did a great job."
Mahar's zone defense did a job on the Mounties early
The Senators grabbed an 11-3 lead and maintained that margin most of the first half.
Mount Greylock scored twice in transition just before the half to get the lead down to four points, 27-23, going into the locker room.
The lead was back to seven points after three minutes of the third quarter, but Barrett hit 3s on back-to-back trips — first on a feed from Arianna Walden (8 points, six rebounds) and then on a kickout from Benzinger — to make it 32-31.
A 10-3 run by Mount Greylock to close the quarter gave the home team a 41-38 lead after Walden knocked down a triple with an assist from Sarah Stripp.
The Mounties picked up where they left off in the fourth, grabbing a 49-43 advantage when Barrett scored in transition with about 5:20 on the clock.
But Mahar answered with a 7-0 run of its own. Barrett converted two free throws to give Mount Greylock a 51-50 lead, but Cassie Verheyen scored in the post to put Mahar back ahead, 52-51, setting the stage for Barrett's heroics in the closing minute-plus.
Lucy Barrett said the entire Mount Greylock team had the "clean slate" approach after falling behind at half-time.
"We were not playing our game and were not confident and rushing everything," she said. "I know I rushed all my shots and thought way too much about them. And the only way I was going to come back and play my game in the second half was if I just let it go, didn't hang my head about it and just ... as if it was a new game."