MIAA Div. 5 girls basketball: No. 18 Narragansett pulls away from No. 15 Greenfield in second half (PHOTOS)

Greenfield’s Tayler Bergeron drives while defended by Narragansett’s Alivia Rolle in a MIAA Div. 5 Round of 32 contest at Nichols Gymnasium on Wednesday.

Greenfield’s Tayler Bergeron drives while defended by Narragansett’s Alivia Rolle in a MIAA Div. 5 Round of 32 contest at Nichols Gymnasium on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/THOMAS JOHNSTON

Greenfield’s Niya Strohman goes up for a layup against Narragansett in a MIAA Div. 5 Round of 32 contest at Nichols Gymnasium on Wednesday.

Greenfield’s Niya Strohman goes up for a layup against Narragansett in a MIAA Div. 5 Round of 32 contest at Nichols Gymnasium on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/THOMAS JOHNSTON

Greenfield’s Carly Blanchard puts up a layup over Narragansett’s Alaina Gallagher in a MIAA Div. 5 Round of 32 contest at Nichols Gymnasium on Wednesday.

Greenfield’s Carly Blanchard puts up a layup over Narragansett’s Alaina Gallagher in a MIAA Div. 5 Round of 32 contest at Nichols Gymnasium on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/THOMAS JOHNSTON

Greenfield’s Gloria McDonald (5) and Niya Strohman (32) trap Narragansett’s Alaina Gallagher in a MIAA Div. 5 Round of 32 contest at Nichols Gymnasium on Wednesday.

Greenfield’s Gloria McDonald (5) and Niya Strohman (32) trap Narragansett’s Alaina Gallagher in a MIAA Div. 5 Round of 32 contest at Nichols Gymnasium on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/THOMAS JOHNSTON

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 02-28-2024 9:02 PM

GREENFIELD — While the higher seed, it was going to be an uphill battle for the Greenfield girls basketball team against No. 18 Narragansett in the Round of 32 of the MIAA Div. 5 tournament on Wednesday. 

The 15th-seeded Green Wave were without 1,000-point scorer Amber Bergeron — who averaged over 20 points per game for Greenfield this season — due to an injury. Despite that, a young Green Wave squad hit shots from deep in the first half to trail just 29-23 at the break. 

Amanda Iannacone and the Warriors proved to be too much in the second half, however, outscoring Greenfield 23-11 in the final two quarters to pull away with a 52-34 victory at Nichols Gymnasium. 

Narragansett (12-9) advances to face the winner of No. 2 West Boylston and No. 31 Hampden Charter East in the Round of 16. 

“Anytime you get into the state tournament you’re expecting your opponent to be tough and competitive,” Green Wave coach Ben Johnson said. “That’s what we faced in Narragansett. They’re a tough, physical, big team who gave us a hard time.” 

It was Iannacone who gave Greenfield (10-11) issues with her size and strength in the paint. 

Iannacone took advantage of the mismatch in the post, where she scored 12 points in the first half and six in the second half to finish with a game-high 18 points. 

“We knew coming in that the game plan was going to be to try to stop her,” Johnson said. “They found her in spots where she could score and they took advantage of that.” 

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Retired Montague officer, state trooper commended for 2022 fire response
Greenfield restaurant to be featured on America’s Best Restaurants
Greenfield’s Asa Bouchard competing for Team USA in Prospects by Sports Illustrated Hockey World Cup
City to take over Green River School, though future use remains unclear
Franklin Tech hires aviation instructor
New trash hauler, new pick-up time in Montague

It was sophomore Gloria McDonald who got the Green Wave going in the first quarter by knocking down a pair of 3’s. McDonald added a free throw while Anna Bucala hit a 3 and four foul shots in the frame to help Greenfield tie the game at 13 after eight minutes. 

Multiple players got in on the action in the second quarter for the Green Wave. Sarah McCloud, Carly Blanchard (2), McDonald and Tayler Bergeron all scored baskets for Greenfield but the Warriors put up 16 points in the frame behind six points from both Kaelyn Cote and Iannacone to give Narragansett its 29-23 halftime lead. 

The Warrior defense stepped their game up in the third quarter to take control of the game. The Green Wave managed just four points in the quarter — with baskets coming from Blanchard and Bergeron — while Narragansett’s Lily Celuta drained a pair of 3’s while Cote added a trey of her own, giving the Warriors a 42-27 lead going into the fourth. 

Narragansett didn’t allow Greenfield back in the game in the fourth, outscoring the Green Wave 10-6 in the quarter. 

Blanchard and McDonald both scored eight points, Bucala finished with seven points, Bergeron tossed in six points, McCloud scored five points while Amy Mihailicenco added a basket for Greenfield. 

Graduating just two players — Amber Bergeron and Blanchard — the Green Wave will bring back a large chunk of its roster next year. 

The experience those young players got throughout the year, as well as playing in a state tournament game, should pay dividends down the line. 

“In the beginning of the season we were playing five girls all 32 minutes,” Johnson said. “To get here where we’re playing an eighth grader, a ninth grader and a ninth grader who had never played basketball before, it’s a big improvement from where we were to start the year. It gives us confidence for the future if all those girls come back and keep working at it.”