Thomaston, Lewis Mills advance to BL finals
THOMASTON - Maggie Eberhardt wan't going to be denied. Not her personal milestone, not a victory over Northwestern and not a shot at another Berkshire League Tournament title.
Thomaston's senior star came out white hot, scored her 1,000th point and led the Bears to a 55-42 victory over Northwestern Regional in the Berkshire League semifinals on Thursday night at Thomaston High.
With the win the Bears advance to the BL finals on Friday night where they will meet the Lewis Mills Spartans, 49-33 winners over Nonnewaug in the first game of the semifinal doubleheader.
Mills made nine threes and was impressive in its sixth straight win. The Spartans drained nine three and improved to 17-5 but the night ultimately belonged to Eberhardt.
Eberhardt entered the game needing 14 points to reach 1,000 for her career and she left little doubt it was going to happen and happen fast. she scored nine points in an 11-0 run by the Bears (19-2) to open the game and eclipes the milestone with a 3-pointer in the first quarter. Eberhardt scored 15 of her 28 points in the first quarter as the Bears built a 21-7 lead.
"I was pumped, I wanted to get a win over Northwestern and get my 1,000th point on the same night," Eberhardt said. "I was ready to go."
Thomaston coach Bob McMahon knew Eberhardt would be ready to go and wasn't surprised by her fast start.
Maggie was great. She knew everyone was here to see her get her 1,000th point and she didn't make them wait long," McMahon said. "What more is there to say about Maggie, she is tremendous. A great player and a great girl and she deserved a night like tonight."
Northwestern won both of the regular-season meetings with the Bears and hung tough in this one, trailing 28-23 at the half and 38-32 entering the fourth, but the third time was the charm for Thomaston.
Eberhardt's early surge lifted the Bears into the lead, and when she sat to start the fourth because of foul trouble, Abby Hurlbert (13 points), senior Sydney Keith and Morgan Sanson stepped up to make big plays.
Hurlbert has been Thomaston's second big gun all season and she scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to give the Bears a lift with Eberhardt on the bench.
"I knew when she was out I was going to have to step up," Hurlbert said. "Maggie's such an amazing player that it can be tough without her but she picked me up when I fouled out against Nonnewaug and I made up my mind to do the same for her tonight."
Eberhardt returned to the game with 2:38 to go and Thomaston up 47-38. The Bears coasted from them to reach the final and finally get past the Highlanders.
"They made the plays, made the shots when they had to and did what they had to do to win," Northwestern coach Fred Williams said. "They have a good team. They definitely have a chance to win some games in the state tournament."
But first the Bears have a BL Tournament game to win, the final, and it will be against a red-hot Lewis Mills team that dispatched Nonnewaug by double-digits for the second time this season.
Natalie Ruel hit three 3-pointers for the Spartans, who led 15-7 after the first quarter and never looked back. Lesleigh Carter made two 3-pointers and finished with 11 points and Teagan Dunn added 10 points.
Mills (17-5) has not lost since a 66-50 setback in Thomaston on Feb. 1. Carter and Dunn were suspended for that game and the Spartans were in it for about three quarters before running out of gas. There is no doubt they wanted another shot at the Bears, but first they had to get past the Chiefs and star Katie Burke again and they did.
Burke managed just 11 points Thursday night and the Chiefs were limited to quarters of seven, nine and six points.
"We are just playing so well together right now, playing as a team," Lewis Mills coach Joe Capitani said. "I think tonight that was the main thing, a team playing together was better than one star player."
The Spartans will get a crack at another star player Friday night in Eberhardt, and she's ready.
"I think they are going to come out and really bring it, but we'll bring it harder," Eberhardt said. "We really want another BL tournament title and I think we can get it."
Berkshire League Tournament Semifinals
Northwestern 7 - 16 - 9 - 10 - 42
Thomaston 21 - 7 - 10 - 17 - 55
Northwestern (42) Rasa Hamel 7 3 17; Kathleen Wysocki 2 1 5; Liz Newkirk 2 0 4; Emma Beltrand 4 6 14; Arielle Oemeke 0 0 0; Maura Ryan 1 0 2; Emily Atwood 0 0 0; Totals: 16 10 42
Thomaston (55) Maggie Eberhardt 12 0 28; Sydney Keith 0 2 2; Abby Hurlbert 6 1 13; Bryttnie Thomas 2 1 3; Charlie Eberhardt 0 0 0; Gabby Hurlbert 0 0 0; Morgan Sanson 4 1 9. Totals: 24 5 55
3 Pointers- Maggie Eberhardt (4)
Nonnewaug 7 - 9 - 11 - 6 - 33
Lewis Mills 15 - 13 - 8 - 13 - 49
Nonnewaug (33) A. Rescanski 4 0 10; M. Mitchell 1 0 2; K. Burke 5 0 11; A. Steinis 0 0 0; C. Carlson 2 0 4; E. South 0 2 2; J. Fengler 1 2 4; Totals: 13 4 33.
3 Pointers- A. Rescsanski (2), K. Burke
Lewis Mills (49) H. Shevchuck 0 2 2; N. Ruel 4 1 12; L. Carter 4 1 11; E. Daigle 3 0 8; C. Lockwood 2 0 6; T. Dunn 4 2 10. Totals: 17 6 49.
3 Pointers- N. Ruel (3), L. Carter (2), E. Daigle (2), C. Lockwood (2)