By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
2/22/22 * 4:16 PM
(AMHERST) - Monday was the start of a new era in tournament 🏀 in Western Mass. The MIAA eliminated the sectionals from the state tournament. This year and moving forward, the state tournament is open to all teams that qualify.
The Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference (PVIAC), along with the Athletic Directors in Western Mass., decided to keep the Western Mass. “sectional” alive. The Western Mass. tournament has significance to HS programs in this area. Keeping the Western Mass. tournament was important.
The first matchup in the PVIAC WMASS Tournament was East Longmeadow @ Amherst. They played each other twice in the regular season; the teams split the games, each team winning at home.
The game started off slow. Neither team was executing their offense well. East Longmeadow got going towards the end of the quarter. East Longmeadow led after one quarter, 16-8.
Amherst got back in the game in the second quarter. East Longmeadow’s offense stagnated in the second. They had to use the whole shot clock to get a shot on most possessions. Amherst’s offense was more effective in the second. They moved the ball more and got open shots.
East Longmeadow was ahead at halftime 24-21.
In the third, Senior Ray Carter kept East Longmeadow in the game. He hit multiple shots, despite being defended well by Amherst players. Amherst had another lull on the offensive end in the third quarter. The ball wasn’t moving as quickly. East Longmeadow led after three quarters 36-34.
In the fourth quarter, Amherst made their push to gain the lead and win the game. Zayd Sadiq hit a big 3 that extended Amherst lead 42-38.
Pat Crenshaw and Carter made consecutive baskets for East Longmeadow that narrowed the score 44-42 Amherst.
Sadiq came up big again for Amherst with under two minutes. He drove to the basket for a layup on offense and then blocked a 3-pt attempt on defense. Amherst led 48-44.
Evan Stewart made a great pass to Nolan Klaes for an easy layup. That layup put Amherst up 50-46.
Amherst hit one more FT and won a competitive game 51-46.
Sadiq scored a team-high 15 points for Amherst.
Ray Carter scored a game-high 17 points. Pat Crenshaw scored 12 points.