'Total Team Effort' for Mount Greylock Girls in Comeback Win
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Down 13 points at half-time to a strong opponent, the Mount Greylock girls basketball team Friday needed a lot of things to go right in order to avoid their first loss of the season.
Everything fell into place in a 52-48 win over Pittsfield.
Lauren Howard scored 13 of her game-high 22 points, including a game-winning 3-pointer in the final minute. Jenna Benzinger scored 10 of her 20 points, including nine in the fourth quarter after getting Pittsfield’s bigs into serious foul trouble. Sarah Stripp dished out four of her five assists, including one on Howard’s game-winner, got a huge fourth-quarter rebound and drained a couple of late free throws.
And sophomore Maddie Albert played lockdown defense on the county’s most dangerous scorer.
It all added up to a four-point win and a 4-0 record for Mount Greylock.
“Maddie Albert, you know, has done that before,” Mount Greylock coach John Jacobbe said of Albert’s play in the diamond-and-one defense. “We’ve asked her to do it against other teams. And she stepped up and put the pressure on her and put the pressure on her.
“And Maddie Ross, for a freshman, stepped up when Maddie [Albert] got picked off. Total team effort. We can’t run what we did defensively without our three big forwards. And the rotation on the bench was limited, but Hannah Locklear had a big two points for us off the bench, and other girls played some good minutes when they got in.”
Albert held thousand-point scorer Peyton Steinman, who came in averaging 24 points per game, to no points in the second half. Steinman had 18 in the first half on Friday, but Pittsfield (2-3) could not get enough scoring in other places when Mount Greylock turned up the defensive pressure on the Generals’ senior star.
“Peyton Steinman made a lot of good passes, we made a lot of good passes inside, and some of our big kids couldn’t handle it,” Pittsfield coach Joe Racicot said. “We had to work real hard to try to stop the ball from getting in to Benzinger, but she did a good job warding people off … and got us in foul trouble. And we didn’t really have anyone to assist on guarding her late in the game.
“But, hey, I’m not making excuses. Mount Greylock made some shots when they needed to, and they chipped away at our lead. They earned every bit of that victory.”
In the first half, it looked a lot like Pittsfield (2-3) was going to earn its third win, and Steinman was a big reason why.
She scored 13 of her 18 in the second quarter, knocking down three 3-pointers along the way, to help the Generals build a 34-21 lead.
Pittsfield used a 9-0 run in the first quarter to take control of the game. Toni Satrape got things started when she converted an assist from Alexis Garvey. Freshman Taea Bramer knocked down a triple and hit two from the foul line on Pittsfield’s next possession, and Steinman closed the run with a steal and lay-in in transition to make it 17-9.
A 4-0 spurt to start the second quarter pushed the lead to double digits, and Mount Greylock got no closer than eight the rest of the half.
While the diamond-and-one was a big part of the story in the second half, defense was not the only thing on the Mounties’ minds in the locker room.
“We really talked about focusing on making smart passes in the second half,” Benzinger said. “We struggled with turnovers. We tried to make that a point of emphasis.
“We knew we were down, but we wanted to win the third quarter and keep going from there.”
The Mounties accomplished the first task thanks largely to an eight-point quarter by Howard. Locklear drove the hoop for the final points of the quarter to make it 43-34 as the Mounties shaved four points off their deficit.
Bella Aitken (nine points) scored in the post to push Pittsfield’s lead back to 11 early in the fourth quarter, but the Mounties went on a 9-0 run to make it a single-possession game.
Benzinger scored five points in the run, during which PHS center Alexis Garvey picked up her fourth and fifth fouls.
Lachazity Shaver snapped the run with a 3-pointer to make it 48-43. But moments later, Pittsfield’s Toni Satrape earned her fifth foul battling Benzinger for a rebound, and Benzinger made a free throw at the other end to get the lead down to four.
She missed the second, but Stripp got the loose ball, which led to Benzinger’s conventional three-point play to make it a one-point game, 48-47.
Pittsfield missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1 minute, 23 seconds on the clock. And, after a timeout, Stripp set up Howard for the go-ahead triple on the left wing.
The teams then traded misses from the field before Benzinger grabbed the rebound of a 3-pointer with about 12 seconds left. With Jacobbe screaming at his team to try to dribble the clock out, Stripp drew an intentional foul in the backcourt and went to the line with 2.3 seconds on the clock.
She sank both foul shots to provide the final margin of victory, and Mount Greylock inbounded the ball and ran out the clock to let the celebration begin.
The Mounties go to McCann Tech on Wednesday.
Pittsfield Tuesday travels to the Woodstock Academy Centaur Classic in Connecticut.