TURNERS FALLS, Mass. -- After a watching too much from the sideline last winter, Gwendolyn Carpenter and Marion Devoti were ready to get an early jump on 2017-18.
On Friday night, they jumped all over Hopkins Academy as the Mount Everett girls basketball team earned a 56-34 win, its second win in as many nights and the championship trophy at the Franklin Tech Eagle Holiday Classic.
Carpenter scored a game-high 16 points, and Devoti scored eight, all in the first half.
A year ago, neither was on the floor as the Eagles dropped their last five games and finished one win away from qualifying for the Western Massachusetts Division 4 tournament.
But on Friday, each looked to be fully recovered from her respective knee injury and ready to try and repeat a run to Curry Hicks Cage, where the Eagles played in the 2016 sectional final.
Too early to think quite that far ahead. Carpenter was just happy to be in uniform when this season tipped off Thursday night.
“I was definitely excited,” she said. “I haven’t played in a while, so there was a lot of anticipation. We love this tournament. This is my fifth year coming here. So I was really excited about it, a lot of good feelings. I think everyone had positive vibes coming into it.
“Sometimes it’s hard to contain the excitement. You go out there and play crazy the first couple of minutes. But I was focused on getting done what needed to get done.”
Carpenter, who scored her 1,000th career point as a sophomore last winter before her season-ending knee injury, said she is 100 percent physically, and it showed on Friday as she recorded a triple double with 10 rebounds and 10 assists to go with her 16 points. She also had eight steals.
Madison Ullrich notched a double-double with 13 points and 12 boards, and Sarah Beckwith matched Deovti with eight points.
Five different Eagles had at least an assist on a night when Mount Everett showed offensive balance, particularly in the middle quarters, when it took control with a 31-6 run.
“We’ve been working on our offense against the zone and talking about how you’ve got to beat it with the pass and not the dribble,” Carpenter said. “When my shots weren’t falling, my teammates’ shots were falling. Everyone was able to step up tonight, and that really helped.”
The game started to turn when Carpenter drove down the right wing to the baseline and hit a jumper midway through the second quarter to give Mount Everett a 22-17 lead.
The Eagles scored the next eight points, including six from Ullrich, who converted a post entry from Beckwith and put back an offensive rebound in the run.
It was 31-19 at half-time, and that margin ballooned to 28 points by the end of the third quarter, which saw Beckwith and Ullrich score four points apiece. The lead was 56-25 midway through the fourth quarter before the Eagles eased up and Hopkins (1-1) scored the final nine points.
Mount Everett coach Scott Rote was happy with the number of weapons the Eagles were able to use in getting off to a 2-0 start.
“Yesterday, we thought the kids played with a lot of intensity defensively,” Rote said of the opening round, 63-18, win over Smith Voc. “[Madeline] Von Ruden came out hot and scored 15 points. She was 7-for-7 from the field in the first half. Tonight, they went diamond-and-one on her. They were keying on her quite a lot, along with Gwen when they went triangle and two.
“Tonight, this was huge. [Hopkins] is a quality team. This is a team that will probably be in Western Mass at the end of the year. Hopefully we see them again.”
Mount Everett is off until next Friday, when it visits Monson.