Howard, Benzinger Lead Way for Mount Greylock Girls
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Mount Greylock girls basketball team forced Mahar to pick its poison on Saturday afternoon.
And the combination of the Mounties’ inside and outside games proved lethal in a 57-44 Mount Greylock win at the Coaches vs. Cancer Showcase at Hoosac Valley High School.
Jenna Benzinger scored 12 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked four shots, and Lauren Howard scored a game-high 17 — 14 in the second half — and garnered 13 boards as the Mounties (9-4) won their sixth straight game.
“In the second quarter, Jenna had  points, and then they doubled Jenna more,” Mount Greylock coach John Jacobbe said. “That opens it up for others, and our guards got the ball to the Lauren, and Lauren got hot. She got hot at the right time.
“It takes a team effort, and Lauren stepped up tonight. I like my team because we have three girls who have been getting in double figures, and on any night anyone else can step up. Because we have good athletes, and we’re coming together as a team.”
Elena Cerveira matched Benzinger with 12 points, and Arianna Walden scored 10 to go with eight rebounds and four assists.
It was a back-and-fourth game most of the night with neither side able to lead by more than five points until the Mounties went on a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter.
Howard got it started with a bucket in the post to make it 47-42. Then after Walden grabbed a rebound, Howard was fouled in transition; she hit one to push the lead to six points.
She missed her second, but the rebound kicked out of bounds off a Mahar player. Walden ended up putting back a rebound to make it a three-point trip and a 50-42 lead.
Moments later, Walden set up Cerveira for a bucket to make it 52-42 with just more than two minutes left.
Walden and Cerveira hit foul shots to get the lead to 13, 55-42 with less than a minute to play.
The Mounties showed their versatility even before the opening tip on Saturday, as Jacobbe opted to sit starters Benzinger and Sarah Stripp, who battled illness during the week, and give starts to a couple of deserving reserves.
“I told Sarah and Jenna, ‘We’re going to need you today, and you’re going to get your regular minutes,” Jacobbe said. “Good teams accept whatever role they’re asked to play, and they both stepped up and did their normal job.
“That’s what I was hoping for, and that’s what I got.”
Mount Greylock hosts Drury on Tuesday.