By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
2/22/22 * 4:27 PM
(HOLYOKE) - 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.
After the game in Amherst, FP SPORTS went southwest to Holyoke. The Purple Knights hosted Agawam HS.
A great crowd showed up to see a great game.
Agawam got out to an early lead on Holyoke. Agawam got a lot of transition baskets in the first quarter. Agawam led 17-9 with 1:30 left in the first. Holyoke went on a 7-0 run to end the quarter. Holyoke was only down one, 17-16.
The second quarter was very competitive. Halfway in to the 2nd quarter, the game was tied at 21. Both teams were settling for isolation plays. The ball wasn’t moving on either end.
Similar to the first quarter, Holyoke went on a run to end the quarter. In the second, they outscored Agawam 14-5 over the last 4 minutes of the quarter. Holyoke led at halftime 35-26.
Holyoke’s nine point halftime lead increased to 14 in the third quarter. Holyoke led 45-31. Agawam went on an 11-2 run to narrow the lead 47-42. Holyoke weathered Agawam’s run and maintained their lead. Holyoke led after three quarters 54-47.
In the final quarter, Holyoke was too much for Agawam. Agawam’s Josiah Bass-Collins tried to pull his team ahead with a big 3 that tied the game at 58 and a layup that pulled Agawam within one point, 65-64. Holyoke Senior Jael Cabrera answered with his own 3 late in the game and he also hit 2 clutch FTs down the stretch.
In a close game, Holyoke survived 69-66.
Cabrera scored a game-high 31 points* for Holyoke.
Bass-Collins score 22 points* for Agawam.
*point totals from Advance Local/Masslive