Girls basketball: Mohawk Trail gets past Smith Voc 46-23 (PHOTOS)

Mohawk Trail’s Rachel Pease, left, and Smith Voc’s Sofia Zina vie for a rebound in Buckland on Thursday night.

Mohawk Trail’s Rachel Pease, left, and Smith Voc’s Sofia Zina vie for a rebound in Buckland on Thursday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Smith Voc’s Makayla Tatro goes up for a layup against Mohawk Trail in Buckland on Thursday night.

Smith Voc’s Makayla Tatro goes up for a layup against Mohawk Trail in Buckland on Thursday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Mohawk Trail’s Riley Giard is defended by Smith Voc’s Jayanna Daniels in Buckland Thursday night.

Mohawk Trail’s Riley Giard is defended by Smith Voc’s Jayanna Daniels in Buckland Thursday night. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By GARRETT COTE

Staff Writer

Published: 02-08-2024 9:18 PM

BUCKLAND — The Mohawk Trail girls basketball team came out firing against Smith Vocational on Thursday night.

Despite it being Senior Night, the Warriors kept their emotions in check from the opening tip — as they raced out to an 11-3 lead and never looked back.

Behind a career-high 23 points from senior Rachel Pease, Mohawk Trail rolled to a 46-23 win over the Vikings to sweep the season series.

From start to finish, Pease dominated all phases of the game.

“It wasn’t easy for her last year winning just one game, because she really pushes herself and has high demands,” Mohawk Trail head coach Steve Bzomowski said of Pease. “She’s hung in there, and every time there was a difficulty, she’d bounce back. Tonight was the best bounce-back of them all.”

After falling behind 1-0 on a Jayanna Daniels free throw,  the Warriors (5-12) ripped off the game’s next nine points, includ ing two 3-pointers from Pease. Mohawk Trail used an effective half-court trap defense that flustered the Smith Voc ball handlers, leading to several fast break opportunities.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Williamsburg’s Burgy Brews fizzles: Owners closing kitchen Sunday and taproom next weekend; also pulling plug on brewery
UMass Hall of Famer, ESPN broadcaster Rene Ingoglia on move to MAC: “for some years now, there’s a bus, and football drives the bus”
Speaker for the whales: Indigenous artist interprets endangered right whale’s legacy and meaning
Area news briefs: Mt. Tom universal access trail closure; South Hadley Dems to caucus; HCC extends scholarship deadline
Thomas Stark named South Hadley’s District 1 fire chief
UMass basketball: Matt Cross, Daniel Hankins-Sanford make plays late as Minutemen win at Davidson for first time since 1998

Vikings head coach Kristen Marciniec tipped her hat to the Warriors’ defense, and admitted they were the better team on Thursday.

“That’s a great team over there,” Marciniec said. “They’re quick, everyone can shoot, and they just outplayed us tonight. Plain and simple.”

Following the initial burst that eventually put Mohawk Trail ahead 19-8, Smith Voc rattled off six straight points to get within five late in the second quarter. Makayla Tatro was responsible for five of those points and gave some much-needed life to the Vikings.

Then Mohawk Trail turned on the afterburners, and a game-changing run soon ensued. The Warriors scored seven unanswered points to end the first half with a 26-14 advantage.

But they didn’t stop there.

Pease converted a layup out of halftime, Natalie Lanoue and Abi Dobias each made one free throw and Pease banked home three more easy field goals. Smith Voc only scored one field goal in between 17 Mohawk Trail points across the end of the second and entire third quarter.

“Tonight, it was communication on defense and crisper passes,” Bzomowski said when asked what built that lead. “We just knew when to trap and when not to trap, and it made our defense really tough tonight.”

A huge reason why the Warriors were able to pull away in the third quarter is because Tatro, the Vikings’ leading scorer this season, left the game with an apparent injury early in the frame.

As a player with not only great skill, but also a ton of varsity experience, it hurt Smith Voc not having her on the floor. The Vikings scored only nine second-half points.

“Well obviously things change since that’s our leading scorer,” Marciniec said. “It just puts a lot of pressure on the rest of the kids who aren’t used to being that scorer.”

Maggie Lauder led the way with 10 points for Smith Voc, Tatro scored seven before exiting and Sofia Zina chipped in four points.

The Vikings (8-6) are still likely to make the Division 4 state tournament because of their winning record. They turn around and play Baystate Academy on Friday night at 6:30 p.m.

Aside from Pease’s 23, Bella Pettengill added eight points, Lanoue scored seven points and Abi Dobias chipped in four points in what was Mohawk Trail’s final regular season game of the season.