Hale leads Pioneer to 47-30 triumph
Natalie Hale scored a career-high 25 points Tuesday night and Pioneer Valley Regional School moved back above the .500 mark with a 47-30 victory over Mohawk Trail Regional High School in a Franklin County League girls’ basketball game in Buckland.
The Panthers (5-4 overall, 3-4 FCL) pulled away in the second half after leading 22-15 at halftime. Pioneer took a 10-point lead (32-22) into the fourth quarter when Hale and Hailey Raymond took over, combining for 11 of the team’s 14 points in the final 8 minutes to put the game away. Hale finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds and received praise from Mohawk coach Chuck Miner after the game.
“She’s a solid all-around ballplayer,” Miner said. “She sees the floor really well, knows where to be. And defensively, she talks a lot and is in the right place. You can see that with the 11 rebounds. She’s a very smooth player.”
The Warriors (1-7, 0-7) struggled to deal with the defensive press in the first quarter and they turned the ball over numerous times while managing to score just four points. The Panthers converted the turnovers into 14 points and led by 10 entering the second.
“We were very timid in the first quarter,” Miner said. “As soon as Pioneer came up and pressed us, we panicked and threw the ball away.”
Mohawk settled in during the second quarter and outscored the Panthers, 11-8, to keep it close, but eventually the 38 turnovers committed by the hosts were too much to overcome.
Raymond finished with 8 points in the win. Gabby Carpenter contributed 4 points and 12 rebounds.
Makayla Hicks entered the game with five points scored on the season but wound up netting a career-high 7 points to lead the Warriors. Danielle Hartnett finished with 6 points, while Laura Ward and Blaze Petko-Sands each finished with 5.
Athol 52, Frontier 45 — Athol High School held leads of 14 points in the first half and 19 in the second half before fending off a frantic Frontier Regional School rally to earn a 52-45 FCL girls’ basketball win Tuesday at Mallet Gymnasium in Athol.
The Red Raiders, playing for the first time in 11 days and without injured sophomore forward Julia Salmond, jumped out to a 17-5 lead after the first quarter and extended it to 19-5, but were plagued by serious foul trouble. That helped the Red Hawks rally to close the halftime deficit to just five (23-18).
Athol, which was led by Shelby Bronnes’ 17 points, took a 15-point lead after three quarters and led 48-29 with 4:07 remaining before Amanda Calvo drained three 3-pointers during a 14-1 Red Hawk run to trim the gap to six (49-43 with 1:03 left. Athol was able to make three late free throws for insurance to remain unbeaten (7-0, 6-0).
Alexa Whitney drained 14 points and Tanner Favreau dropped in a dozen for the Raiders.
Frontier’s Olivia Riordan led all scorers with 20 points. Calvo finished with 14 while Camilla Baronas contributed 7.
Turners Falls 43, Smith Academy 34 — Ted Wilcox made his first game coaching against his former team a successful one Tuesday night as Turners Falls High School knocked off Smith Academy, 43-34, in a FCL girls’ hoop game in Turners Falls.
The Falcons (2-6, 1-5) took advantage of a slow Indians start and led 9-6 at the end of the first quarter. The Indians (5-4, 3-4) picked up the play in the second quarter and outscored Smith Academy 18-4 to take control of the game. The teams played evenly in the second half, but the disparity in scoring in the second half carried the hosts to the victory.
The Indians surpassed their win total from last season, moved above the .500 mark for the season and are on pace to snap an 18-year tournament-qualifying drought dating back to 1993-94 season. Since that time, the most wins the Indians have had in one season is eight (1996-97), and since the turn over the century, the Indians have enjoyed just one season of more than four wins, a 7-13 2007-08 campaign. Through nine games that season, the team was 4-5.
The win was bittersweet for Wilcox, who coached the Falcons for the past four seasons before taking over the job of his hometown team prior to this winter.
“It was hard,” Wilcox said. “I’m glad we won but (Smith Academy is) a great bunch of girls. The relationships are still there.”
Wilcox watched as Falcons freshman center Ashley Higgins put up 22 points and Emiko Barker added 12 as just two players managed to score for the visitors.
The Indians had a freshman threat of their own in Jenna Putala, who led the team with 16 points and is now averaging 12.2 on the season. Katelyn Dodge finished with 10 points, giving her back-to-back games in double figures. Brittany York tossed in 6 points.
Mahar 62, Greenfield 29 — Jill Valley scored a game-high 27 points and moved to within three points of hitting the 1,000-point career mark as Mahar Regional School defeated Greenfield High School, 62-29, in a FCL girls’ hoop game Tuesday night in Greenfield.
Valley will likely hit the mark Friday night in her home gym when the Senators (6-2, 6-1) host Smith Academy at 7 p.m.
Valley was the only Senator to reach double figures, as the rest of the team displayed balanced scoring. Cassie Verheyen finished with 6 points and six blocked shots while Kianna Whitmore added 6 points. Natasha Patria finished with 6 points and 11 rebounds and Brandy Castillo finished with 3 points and eight rebounds.
Siena Isotti hit three 3-pointers and led the Green Wave (2-7, 1-6) with 9 points. Tori Adams finished with 8 points, and Erika Glabach added 5 points.
FC Tech 38, Dean Tech 19 — Jaime Judge led a balanced offense with 10 points to help Franklin County Technical School beat Dean Technical High School, 38-19, in a Tri-County League girls’ basketball game Tuesday night in Holyoke.
Megan Aldrich collected 8 points and six rebounds, Jasmine Farr-Marcum had 7 points and Brooke Meuse contributed 6 points for the Eagles, who led 17-10 at the half.
Tiana Ojeda led the Hawks with 8 points, while Rosabel Velazquez added 6.