MONTAGUE, Mass. -- Whether she is driving to the hole, distributing the ball or spotting up for 3-pointer, Mount Everett junior Gwendolyn Carpenter always has been a cagey basketball player.
Now, she is going back to the Cage.
One year after having her season cut short by injury, Carpenter Thursday scored 35 points to lead the fifth-seeded Eagles past No. 4 Turners Falls in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 quarter-finals and earn a trip to Monday’s semi-final at Curry Hicks Cage at the University of Massachusetts.
Carpenter scored 23 points in the second half and went 11-for-12 at the foul line in the last nine minutes of the game to help the Eagles (12-9) erase an eight-point deficit.
“She just gets hit so much driving to the basket,” Mount Everett coach Scott Rote said. “Finally, she was getting to the line in the second half, and that made a difference.”
Carpenter also finished with four assists and four second-half steals as the Eagles turned up the pressure to turn the game around.
Turners Falls (12-9) led throughout the first half thanks to second-chance points and a pair of 3-pointers from Aliyah Sanders, who ended with three 3s and a team-high 12 points.
It was a five-point game at half-time, but the Eagles scored the first seven points of the second half to briefly go ahead.
Carpenter drove for the first points of the half, found Madison Ullrich (nine points) in the post for a bucket to get Mount Everett within one and then finished the run with a conventional 3-point play.
The last points came off a Carpenter steal, the first of six third-quarter Turners turnovers -- most generated by the Eagles’ press.
“In the first half, we really couldn’t get into the press because we weren’t scoring,” Rote said. “The different scouting reports we got on them said, ‘They don’t press, they don’t push the ball.’ They didn’t press, but they didn’t walk it up the floor. The were pushing on us as much as anything.
“I thought the second half, when we moved to that 2-1-2 press we have, I thought that worked pretty well on them.”
The Eagles held Turners’ Falls 1,000-point scorer Madison Chmyzinski to 10 points in her final varsity game.
But she scored twice in an 8-0 run that re-established Turners Falls’ lead at 36-30 midway through the third quarter.
The hosts maintained a cushion for a few minutes and went up, 43-35, when Chloe Ellis (11 points, 17 rebounds) converted an and-one with about a minute and a half left.
But Carpenter made the front end of a one-and-one to start what grew to a 16-2 run that -spanned the third and fourth quarters and left the Eagles with a 51-45 lead.
She hit two at the line with 1 minute, 2 seconds left in the third, and Marion Devoti scored in the paint to make it a one-possession game, 43-40, after the third quarter.
Carpenter hit a pair of 3-pointers to open the fourth and give the Eagles a 46-45 lead they never relinquished. She closed the run by scoring a pair at the line and setting up Makenzie Ullrich for a triple to give Mount Everett a six-point lead.
Carpenter had a hand in all of Mount Everett’s fourth-quarter points, either scoring from the field, converting from the line or providing the assist -- first to Ullrich and later to Devoti to make it a six-point margin with a minute left.
“The penetration, they’re all focusing on Gwen, and she hits that little dump pass to Marion in the low block, that was huge right there,” Rote said.
Mount Everett Monday faces top-seeded Monson (14-7), which defeated Lenox, 38-30, on Thursday night.