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Bird Leads MCLA Men to Road Win

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CHICOPEE, Mass. --  Drury High graduate Hayden Bird led four Trailblazers in double figures with 25 points as the MCLA men's basketball team used a strong first half to earn an 89-72 win over Elms.
MCLA is now 5-4 as is off until Jan. 4. Elms dips to 2-7 on the season.
Bird was 9-for-14 from the floor and an impressive 7-for-10 shooting from beyond the 3-point line. He added seven rebounds. Chris Becker aided Bird's efforts with 19 points while Noah Yearsley chipped in with 17. Ki-Shawn Monroe notched 10 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Quentin Gittens took advantage of his start to snag a team best 11 rebounds.
MCLA led just 17-14 in the first half, but Bird connected from deep on two straight possessions and a Becker layup extended MCLA out to a 25-14 advantage.  Another Bird triple capped the 11-0 spurt and MCLA led 28-14. The Trailblazers would eventually lead 44-25 at halftime.
In the second half, Elms trimmed the margin to 11 at 73-62, but MCLA answered on a Becker layup and then Yearsley connected from long range to keep Elms at bay. From there, MCLA cruised home.
MCLA shot 50% from the floor compared to just 38% for the Blazers. MCLA held a decided 44-28 edge in the paint.
Elms was led by D.J. Edelen's 24 points.  Kewan Smoot and Jaijuan Macklin had 14 and 11 points respectively.
Women's Basketball
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- MCLA couldn't generate any offense all night as it fell to Union, 62-28.
MCLA (2-7) was in it through the first quarter, though it trailed 19-11. From there, however, it was all Union (3-4).  The Trailblazers did not score more than six points in any quarter as Union began to wear down MCLA.
Union held a 27-17 lead at halftime, but would outscore MCLA 35-11 over the final two quarters to earn the runaway victory.
The Dutchwomen defense was outstanding all night. They held MCLA to just 19% shooting and forced the Trailblazers into 25 turnovers.
Union was paced by Laura Vinton and Kendall Degenhardt. Each ended with 10 points. Union shot just 34% themselves in the win.
MCLA was led by Kylah Langston's 10 point night.
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Guest Column: Statement on Sentencing in Steele-Knudslien Murder

Guest Column
As the region's longest-serving LGBTQ organization, Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition has closely followed the case of the murder of Christa Steele-Knudslien, the North Adams resident and founder of the Miss Trans New England Pageant. 
Today [Thursday], her murderer has been sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole after serving 25 years. In the two years since we lost Christa, the community has rallied around her memory and inspiration. In North Adams, a grassroots task force was founded in reaction to her death and those of other residents killed by their partners. This led to the Berkshire County Domestic and Sexual Violence Task Force, a coalition of community agencies such as Elizabeth Freeman Center, law enforcement, and the court system, currently working to end domestic violence in Berkshire County for good. 
On the brighter side, over the past two years the Berkshire Pride Festival has grown to be a major event, celebrating and uplifting the trans community that Christa cared about so much. An annual award for local LGBTQ leaders has been established in her name and with her spirit. Clothing swaps have happened where Berkshire residents shared the joy and beauty of being trans, the same goal Christa had in mind when founding her pageant. Rainbow Seniors and the Berkshire Trans Group expanded their meetings, providing support and connection from Williamstown to Great Barrington.
Politically, a local contingent spent hours organizing and fighting to pass the state ballot measure last year that made Massachusetts the first state to successfully defend an attack on a trans rights bill, setting a strong precedent for human rights across the nation. And we mourned, as a community, at each Trans Day of Remembrance, a national event that struck home when we read Christa's name amongst those murdered.
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