Mahar routs Tribe, 63-32
Mahar swingman NickSlattery (21) splits Turners Falls defenders Nick York (15) and Malcom Smith (25) Monday night in Turners Falls, where the host Indians took a 63-32 beating from the visiting Senators in their Hampshire League boys' basketball game.
Turners Falls sharpshooter Malcolm Smith (25) looks for room to get off a baseline shot against Mahar defender Jake Paul (42) Monday night in Turners Falls, where the host Indians fell hard, 63-32, in their Hampshire League boys' basketball showdown.
TURNERS FALLS — Mahar Regional School was looking to kick off the second half of the regular season with a performance that would show Hampshire League boys’ basketball foes it was a force to be reckoned with.
Facing a Turners Falls High School team that had previously been the league’s No. 1 team on its home court, the Senators dominated early and choked out any comeback chances by the hosts en route to a lopsided 63-32 beat-down.
The Indians (9-3 overall, 7-2 HL) never got into any sort of an offensive rhythm, missing their first six shots to set the tone for things to come. In the first meeting of the season between the two teams back on Dec. 18, the Indians held a 27-18 lead at halftime and went on to win, 56-47. On Monday night, facing a 2-3 zone defense that the Senators’ played to near perfection, the Indians did not score their 27th point until three minutes remained in the fourth quarter and both teams had already emptied their benches. At one point in the fourth quarter, the Indians were shooting 8-for-46 from the field, a miniscule 17 percent, and 10 garbage points in the final five minutes helped avoid even further embarrassment.
“I don’t think we did anything well tonight,” flabbergasted Turners Falls coach Gary Mullins said. “We didn’t defend well, and obviously we didn’t shoot well. We’ve got to start over. I was concerned about a half-court game with these guys because they are so much bigger. And it showed up big time, especially when we got a little tired, a little depressed, and started feeling sorry for ourselves. Mahar played very well and I didn’t know we were capable of playing this bad, but we were. It’s a 20-game season, so we’ve got to put this one away, burn that ball, and go back to work.”
The Senators (8-3, 7-2) may be the hottest team in the HL right now, with wins over the other top three programs in the past two weeks. One reason for the emergence to the top of the league has been the play of swingman Nick Slattery, who may have been the best player on the court on Monday, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
“I think Nick is one of the best players in the league,” Mahar coach Chad Softic said. “He’s just a junior, but Slats is a kid who’s starting to get some attention. He does a lot of good things for us, and I thought he played big for us tonight.”
The Senators raced out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and wound up with a 15-8 lead after one. The momentum carried over into the second quarter and Mahar led by as many as 13 at one point and wound up taking a 29-17 lead into the break. For a brief moment in the third quarter, it looked like the Indians might make a run, when they came out and got an immediate 3-pointer from Melvin Moreno to get the deficit back to single digits. But Mahar would allow just two more points from Turners Falls in the third quarter (a 14-foot jump shot from Nick York with 5 minutes, 45 seconds left), and the Senators shut out the Indians the rest of the way in the third. Mahar wound up outscoring the hosts 19-5 in the frame to all but finish off the Indians, taking a 48-22 lead into the fourth.
“What we didn’t do in the first game against them was stay composed,” Softic said. “We played with too much emotion. Tonight, we stayed composed. Every time we needed a stop, we got one. And offensivley, when they let us run, we ran. But I think the word tonight was composure.”
Joey Verheyen finished with 8 points and nine rebounds for the Senators, while Troix Adams netted 10 points, and Malik Adams dumped in 9. Jake Paul chipped in 9 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
As for the Indians, Tyler Charboneau led the way with 7 points. Top scorers Liam Ellis and Malcolm Smith were never able to get going. Ellis finished with 5 points, while Smith hit a 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter for his only bucket of the night. Jalen Sanders and Melvin Moreno each added 5 points. York finished with 4.
“We did a great job of recognizing where the shooters were,” Softic said. “If they were going to beat us tonight, they were going to have to beat us on the perimeter. I thought our kids did a great job, especially on the weak side. We obviously had to recognize where Ellis and Smith were and I thought our kids did a great job.”
Both teams return to action on Wednesday night against independent opponents. Mahar hosts Hampshire Regional High School at 7, while the Indians host Narragansett Regional High School at 7:30.