Busy Saturday for local teams

  • Garrett Cole (25) and 11th-seeded Franklin Tech have already pulled off one upset this tournament season with a 56-54 win over No. 6 Baystate Academy in the first round. Can they do it again today at 4 when they invade Messer Gymnasium in Northfield to face third-seeded Pioneer. Recorder FILE PHOTO/Paul Franz

  • Justin Hubbard (right) and the Pioneer boys’ basketball team had to wait an extra day to get underway in the WMass Division IV tournament thanks to Mother Nature, but will get underway today at Messer Gymnasium in Northfield against Franklin Tech at 4. The Frontier boys’ basketball team and Greenfield hockey team each also have games slated for this afternoon. Recorder file photo/Paul Franz

  • Pioneer's Jordan Loughman (20) drives vs Hopkins Friday night in Northfield. December 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

Recorder Staff
Friday, March 02, 2018

It’s a busy day on the local high school front, as Mother Nature postponed a pair of hoop games Friday night, leaving three games involving Recorder-area teams on the docket for today.

On the hardwood, Franklin County Technical School travels to Messer Gymnasium in Northfield to play Pioneer Valley Regional School in the Div. IV quarters at 4 with a trip to the semifinals on the line.

In the Berkshires, Frontier Regional School will play top-seeded Monument Mountain Regional High School in the Div. III quarterfinals also at 4 with another Cage ticket being punched by the winner.

Down in West Springfield, Greenfield High School’s hockey team has its eyes set on a spot in the WMass Div. IIIA championship game. The third-seeded Green Wave tangle with No. 2 Easthampton High School in the semifinals today at 1:30 p.m. at the Olympia Ice Center. The championship game is set for Thursday night.

Boys’ basketball

No. 11 Franklin Tech (11-10) at No. 3 Pioneer (15-5), WMass Div. IV quarterfinals, 4 p.m.

How they got there: Franklin Tech pulled off a road upset of No. 6 Baystate Academy in the Div. IV first round, 56-54, to earn a spot in the quarters. Pioneer earned a first-round bye and hasn’t played since a Feb. 15 victory over Mahar Regional School — a span of 15 days.

Series history: The two teams did not meet during the regular season, though they have played twice in the postseason in the past 20 years.

Most recently, Pioneer captured a 73-44 win in the opening round of the 2009 Div. III Tournament. The Panthers then lost in the quarterfinals to Turners Falls High School.

In 2000, Pioneer defeated Tech, 58-34, in the Div. III first round en route to a WMass championship.

Notes: A spot in the WMass semifinals at Curry Hicks Cage is on the line for the winner, as the Div. IV semis are set for Monday on the campus of UMass.

Pioneer enters today’s game winners of five straight. The squad has averaged 68.2 points per game during that span with wins over Belchertown High School, Hoosac Valley Regional School, Turners Falls High School, Granby High School and Mahar Regional School.

Franklin Tech is 5-3 in its last eight games, and the Eagles, despite employing just a six-man rotation, are playing with confidence from a gutsy performance against Baystate in the first round.

Coincidentally enough, the 2009 meeting between the two teams was the last time Pioneer won a postseason game. The Panthers are 0-6 in the postseason since that win, and they’re looking to return to the Cage for the first time since 2008, when they fell to eventual champion Frontier Regional School in the semifinals.

No. 8 Frontier (14-7) at No. 1 Monument Mt. (17-3), WMass Div. III quarterfinals, 4 p.m.

How they got there: Frontier defeated Mahar, 42-39, in the Div. III opening round thanks to a late block from Carsten Carey. Monument Mountain earned a first-round bye as the No. 1 seed, and the Spartans of Great Barrington haven’t played since a Feb. 20 loss to Taconic High School. The loss was just the third of the season for Monument.

Series history: The two teams did not meet in the regular season, and Monument hasn’t played a team from the Recorder-area since it defeated Pioneer in the 2014 Div. III Tournament.

Frontier hasn’t reached the Cage since 2009, when the Red Hawks fell to Sabis International Charter School.

Monument’s last semifinal appearance came way back in 1999, and the Spartans last picked up a tournament win when it beat Pioneer in ’14.

Notes: Top-seeded Monument is paced by leading scorer Graham Herrick, who averages 15.8 points per game. Noah Helmke isn’t far behind with 14.2 ppg.

The Spartans have losses against Taconic, Hoosac Valley and Mount Greylock this winter. Frontier lost to Hoosac Valley by nine points back on Dec. 14, and the Red Hawks also played Berkshire County foe Wahconah Regional High School, falling by a 38-37 margin. Monument beat Wahconah, 46-38, in the teams’ only meeting this winter.

The winner will play in the semifinals set for Wednesday at the Cage against the winner of Wahconah and Narragansett Regional High School.


No. 3 Greenfield (14-4-2) vs. No. 2 Easthampton (10-3-7), WMass Div. IIIA semifinals, 1:30 p.m. — Olympia Ice Center, West Springfield

How they got there: Both teams received byes in the five-team bracket. The other semifinal features top-seeded Chicopee High School against No. 5 Belchertown High School. That game will follow the Greenfield-Easthampton game at the Olympia at 3:30 today.

Series history: Not much separated the two teams during the regular season. The Wright Division foes tied twice on the year, as they skated to a 3-3 draw on Jan. 3 in Easthampton and followed that with a 4-4 tie on Feb. 3 in Greenfield.

It’s been awhile since either team played a postseason game. Neither team has been in the WMass Tournament since 2014, when Greenfield lost in the semifinals to Chicopee, and Easthampton lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Wahconah.

Notes: If the first two meetings were any indication, it should be quite a game in West Side this afternoon.

The bad news for Greenfield is the squad is playing without star forward Evan Simmons, who is serving a two-game suspension after being ejected from the regular-season finale against Amherst.

Greenfield is 4-0-1 in its last five games, and Easthampton is 4-1-4 in its last nine.