Class C quarters: Hannah Gilbert (29 points), No. 4 Franklin Tech roar into semifinals via 54-29 win over No. 5 Greenfield (PHOTOS)

Franklin Tech’s Lea Chapman, left, and Kaitlin Trudeau (22) defend Greenfield’s Amber Bergeron during the host Eagles’  PVIAC Class C quarterfinal round victory in Turners Falls on Monday night.

Franklin Tech’s Lea Chapman, left, and Kaitlin Trudeau (22) defend Greenfield’s Amber Bergeron during the host Eagles’ PVIAC Class C quarterfinal round victory in Turners Falls on Monday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

Greenfield’s Gloria McDonald, left, and Franklin Tech’s Kaitlin Trudeau vie for a rebound during the host Eagles’  PVIAC Class C quarterfinal round victory in Turners Falls on Monday night.

Greenfield’s Gloria McDonald, left, and Franklin Tech’s Kaitlin Trudeau vie for a rebound during the host Eagles’ PVIAC Class C quarterfinal round victory in Turners Falls on Monday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Greenfield’s Carly Blanchard goes to the basket while defended by Franklin Tech’s Lea Chapman (11) during the host Eagles’  PVIAC Class C quarterfinal round victory in Turners Falls on Monday night.

Greenfield’s Carly Blanchard goes to the basket while defended by Franklin Tech’s Lea Chapman (11) during the host Eagles’ PVIAC Class C quarterfinal round victory in Turners Falls on Monday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Franklin Tech’s Kaitlin Trudeau goes up for a layup past Greenfield’s Anna Bucala during the host Eagles’  PVIAC Class C quarterfinal round victory in Turners Falls on Monday night.

Franklin Tech’s Kaitlin Trudeau goes up for a layup past Greenfield’s Anna Bucala during the host Eagles’ PVIAC Class C quarterfinal round victory in Turners Falls on Monday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Franklins Tech’s Lea Chapman (11) goes to the basket against Greenfield during the host Eagles’  PVIAC Class C quarterfinal round victory in Turners Falls on Monday night.

Franklins Tech’s Lea Chapman (11) goes to the basket against Greenfield during the host Eagles’ PVIAC Class C quarterfinal round victory in Turners Falls on Monday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

Greenfield’s Amber Bergeron (12) goes to the basket while defended by Franklin Tech’s Lea Chapman during the host Eagles’  PVIAC Class C quarterfinal round victory in Turners Falls on Monday night.

Greenfield’s Amber Bergeron (12) goes to the basket while defended by Franklin Tech’s Lea Chapman during the host Eagles’ PVIAC Class C quarterfinal round victory in Turners Falls on Monday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

Greenfield’s Tayler Bergeron, left, and Franklin Tech’s Lindsey Taylor dive for a loose ball during the host Eagles’  PVIAC Class C quarterfinal round victory in Turners Falls on Monday night.

Greenfield’s Tayler Bergeron, left, and Franklin Tech’s Lindsey Taylor dive for a loose ball during the host Eagles’ PVIAC Class C quarterfinal round victory in Turners Falls on Monday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

By GEORGE MILLER

For the Recorder

Published: 02-19-2024 9:01 PM

Modified: 02-19-2024 9:11 PM


TURNERS FALLS — It’s not often that teams in such close geographical proximity may go through an entire regular season without facing each other, but the Western Mass. girls Class C quarterfinals took care of that Monday night – and then Franklin Tech took care of Greenfield right away.

The fourth-seeded Eagles exploded from the blocks with a 20-1 first-quarter lead and bossed the action throughout, getting a monster night from junior Hannah Gilbert, who equaled No. 5 Greenfield’s grand total with 29 points. Franklin Tech advanced to the Class C semifinals with a 54-29 conquest of the Green Wave.

Gilbert hit four 3-pointers in the game and 7-of-9 free throws. Kaitlin Trudeau added 10 points for Tech (16-3) and Lea Chapman scored eight. The Eagles play at top-seeded Lenox Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m., after the Millionaires (17-2) polished off Lee, 50-43, in their quarterfinal Monday.

Franklin Tech also has a high seed to anticipate in the State Vocational tournament, and a current No. 11 ranking in the Division 5 state power rankings that figures to give the Eagles at least one state tournament home game.

Gloria McDonald led the Green Wave (10-9) with 12 points. Amber Bergeron, hampered by a right knee injury and clearly well below par, scored 11 points and still needs five points for 1,000 in her high school career. Both McDonald and Bergeron hit three 3-pointers in the game.

“She’s really good in terms of playing within what we’re trying to do,” said Eagles coach Joe Gamache of Gilbert. “We don’t really design it or draw it up for one kid, but she was taking those open looks when they were there and she was knocking down those open looks.”

Gilbert scored 12 points in the first quarter alone, with six more coming from Trudeau. Kyra Goodell got Tech started with a layup 1:45 into the action and Gilbert stuck her first trey before McDonald answered with a foul shot for Greenfield.

The Eagles ran off the next seven, getting another from distance from Gilbert, then her layup off a steal, and an inside basket by Chapman to make it 12-1 and force a Greenfield timeout with 2:45 left in the quarter.

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Trudeau then hit a pair from deep and Gilbert scored off another steal, good for a 20-1 lead, before McDonald came through with the Wave’s first field goal with 1:37 to play. Bergeron would hit her first 3-pointer before the quarter ended with Tech in control, ahead 23-6.

Greenfield’s best quarter was the second, when it outscored the Eagles 12-8. Each of the Wave’s four field goals in the quarter came from beyond the arc, two by McDonald and one each from Anna Bucala and Bergeron. The visitors got back to within 11 points before Chapman canned a foul-line jumper with six seconds to play, putting Tech up 31-18 at the break.

The Green Wave then started the third quarter with a layup by Carly Blanchard but managed only one more field goal and six more points. Tech answered with another three by Gilbert and a long corner jumper from Goodell to bump its lead back to 16, and that’s where it stayed through the end of the quarter, with the Eagles ahead 42-26.

From there, the only drama was whether Bergeron would reach the 1,000-point milestone, needing eight more points. But the Eagles held the Wave without a point until 2:09 remained, when Bergeron knocked down a three to end her night. Those were Greenfield’s only points in the final eight minutes.

The Green Wave finished the night with only nine field goals, seven of them 3-pointers, and turned the ball over 25 times.

“We’re coming off a tough loss and I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” said Gamache of his team’s fast start Monday. “We put in a lot of focused work. We talked about a game plan and they just executed it right from the opening whistle.”

Greenfield, currently ranked No. 13 in the Division 5 state power rankings, has an assigned non-playoff game still to come before beginning state tournament play next week, leaving the Wave with the potential of two more home games and plenty to play for, including Bergeron’s thousandth.

“We knew Tech was a strong team coming in, they were going to give us a hard time, and they showed it right off the bat,” said Green Wave coach Ben Johnson. “I’m proud of my girls. They fought back, and got it down to 11 at one point. That’s all I can ask for. They battled hard all the way through.

“Everyone’s confidence goes up when Amber’s on the court. It’s a big difference. The whole team feeds off her energy.”