EAST LONGMEADOW – For more than one quarter, the Westfield High School girls’ basketball team appeared to be playoff bound Wednesday night.
Westfield built a 12-6 advantage over the game’s first nine-plus minutes. East Longmeadow went on a 17-2 run in the second quarter though, cruising to a 42-30 win and putting a dent in the Bombers’ postseason hopes.
Westfield (3-15 overall, 4-3 Valley Wheel) fell one full game behind East Longmeadow (8-9, 4-2) in the conference. Minnechaug (10-9) sits atop the Valley Wheel with a conference record of 6-1.
Teams that finish the regular season with a .500 or better record, or first or second place in their respective conferences, qualify for postseason play.
Westfield must now win out and hope for some help to make a run at the Valley Wheel.
Speaking of runs, Westfield went on a 12-1 run late over a six-minute span late in the first quarter and early in the second to rally from an early deficit.
Down 5-0, Westfield’s Clara Hinck hit a 3-pointer three minutes, five seconds into the first quarter. Kaela Mochak followed with consecutive put-backs. Olivia Hadla made a free throw, and Katie Knapik made a two-pointer early in the second quarter to cap the run.
Then, the tide turned.
East Longmeadow forced the ball inside to its big, low post players. The Spartans began to dominate the paint, muscling together a 17-2, second-quarter run that effectively changed the game.
“We came out with energy in the first couple minutes of the game, made a few turnovers, and them missed a couple of layups,” Westfield coach Meghan Lavner said. “That’s something that has been happening over and over this season. There’s a learning curve for us. We’re young.”
Westfield currently has just two seniors on its roster, and starts one senior, one junior, one sophomore, and two freshmen, who just so happen to be the team’s leading scorers.
Westfield will attempt to bounce back on senior night Thursday at home against the Agawam Brownies. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.
Gators chase Tigers
Gateway 34, Westfield Technical Academy 14
Grace Van Buren scored a game-high nine points, Becca Herman finished with seven, and three others (Bryanna Fellows, Donna Viel, and Angella Wright) had four apiece to lead Gateway.
Westfield Tech’s Jeika Rios netted 10.
Rams silence Red Raiders
Southwick 42, Commerce 21
Commerce’s Breanna Marchena exploded for 19 points. Southwick held the rest of the Red Raiders to a combined two points.
Rams postseason bound
Southwick 74, Pioneer Valley Christian 29
Southwick’s Nick Hough (16 points), Matt Daley (14), and Ryan LeClair (11) combined to outscore the opposition. With the win, the team’s 10th, the Rams secured a tournament berth.
Gateway shines on senior night
Gateway 57, Westfield Technical Academy 45
Gateway’s shined on senior night. Shane Mastello (24 points) went 12-of-15 from the free throw line to spark a Gators’ victory, and sophomore Paul Kowal scored 11 points.
Vlad Biley led Westfield Tech with 12 points, and Mark Klyuchits had 11. Tigers’ sophomore Josh Bush played well in his first varsity start.
HCSS downs Saints
Hampden Charter School of Science 66, St. Mary 42
Jake Butler and Luke Willenburg scored 10 apiece for St. Mary at Westfield Middle School South.
BOYS’ ICE HOCKEY
Colts turn back Saints
Chicopee Comp 5, St. Mary 1
St. Mary (5-9-1) suffered its fifth straight loss, and has lost eight of its last nine. The Saints will seek a bit of redemption Friday against Easthampton at Amelia Park Arena. The puck drops at 8 p.m.