THOMASTON — Opening night for girls basketball in the Berkshire League served up last year’s undefeated league champion, Housatonic, and its long-time predecessor Thomaston — five straight Class S state finals; two state championships — at Thomaston High School.
The Mountaineers graduated four starters. The Golden Bears worked hard on improving last year’s 9-9 league record.
The result was a 46-17 Thomaston rout.
“We’re young and we panicked,” said Housy coach Steve Dodge. “We’re going to have a second-half season.”
The Bears showed their defense in an ugly first quarter (7-5 Thomaston) before finding their shooting range, then announced the start of their scoreboard season in the second quarter while holding Housatonic to a single point.
“We wanted to set the tone defensively,” said Thomaston coach Bob McMahon, whose teams are famous for that tone. “Our two starting seniors — Sydney Stevenson and Emily Root — led us.”
Root had the first of the team’s eight 3-pointers in the first period, opening up Thomaston’s first real lead. Stevenson had a steal and a fast-break finish to set the complete-game tone in the second.
But, if the seniors showed their experience, a pair of underclassmen — junior Emma Kahn and sophomore Sydney Eggleton, game-high scorers at 13 points apiece — were prime examples of the Bears’ improvement.
“We’re all together,” said Kahn. “We all believe we can do this.”
“We’ve worked a lot on our defense. We’re very aggressive,” said Eggleton. “And we don’t discriminate between JVs and varsity, upperclassmen and lowerclassmen.”
The mob psychology worked in spades on defense, holding Housy sophomore Sydney Segalla to a team-high 11 points, as the lone returning star from last season’s team.
A Mountaineer defense that’s also pretty good, with center Segalla patrolling the lane, shifted the Thomaston offense outside. Kahn and Aurelia Barker hit second-quarter 3s that accounted for half of Thomaston’s points in a period that ended with a 19-6 Thomaston lead.
“We wanted our defense to keep us close. Once they had the lead, that was it for us,” said Dodge.
With that advantage, Thomaston center Eggleton took over the second half, contributing a 3 of her own and 11 of her total points.
The game stayed ugly for Housatonic. For Thomaston fans, it was a thing of beauty.