By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
12/22/21 * 7:45 AM
(WEST SPRINGFIELD) - Tuesday night featured an interesting early season matchup between the Spartans from East Longmeadow HS (EL) and the Terriers from West Springfield HS (West Side).
Senior Ray Carter returned to East Longmeadow after a short stint at a Prep school. He is the best player on the Spartans and will be crucial to their success further along in the season.
This game got away from the Terriers in the first quarter. The Spartans jumped out to an 8-2 lead which prompted West Side HC Joel Aponte to call an early timeout. Carter was getting into the lane and getting layups or drawing fouls. West Side was missing a lot of easy shots. At the end of the 1st, the Terriers were down by eleven, 16-5.
West Side fought their way back in the game in the second quarter. They hit a few 3s and fed off the energy from the West Side student section. EL’s offense ran into some issues in the 2nd. They started missing easy shots and forcing bad shots. Both teams had trouble rebounding the ball defensively. Each team got their fair share of offensive rebounds last night.
West Side inched closer and closer to closing the scoring gap. EL led at halftime 28-26.
The Terriers offensive struggles reemerged in the third quarter. They continued to miss easy/make-able shots.
Those misses gave EL opportunities to score. EL Senior Pat Crenshaw hit three 3s in the third and two in the 4th quarter. Crenshaw finished with a game-high 21 points. He told me after he made his first three, “it felt like there was a magnet 🧲 in the hoop”.
(Pat Crenshaw hits a 3)
(Pat Crenshaw hits a 3)
Ray Carter scored 13 points. HC Abad says he has been “phenomenal” this year.
After a scare in the second, the Spartans won comfortably 62-49.
Joe Kosior scored 13 points for West Side.
After the game, I spoke with EL HC Brendan Abad and Pat Crenshaw.
“How did you feel coming into this game”?
BA: “We felt prepared. It was our first road game…First quarter we came out strong…second quarter we got ‘punched in the mouth’. [We] made some adjustments [at] halftime…”
PC: “We felt prepared. We went over a lot of things in practice…”
“What are you expecting from the rest of this season”?
BA: “Our motto is to keep building…everyday. [We] focus on today, not tomorrow…Focus on our next game which is @ Minnechaug”.
PC: “As a team, we just need to get our chemistry together. We have a great set of guys. We all love basketball. We keep playing together and doing bonding activities…and prepare ourselves at practices”.