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Athol downs Mahar

Julia Salmond scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Athol High School opened its Franklin County League North schedule at Mallet Gymnasium Monday night with a convincing 67-32 victory over rival Mahar Regional School.

The Red Raiders, who moved to 5-0 overall, were dominant from the start, outscoring Mahar 16-4 in the first quarter, and they never took their foot off the gas.

“We wanted to come out strong and really pressure them defensively, especially in the half court. We knew that it was their third game in three days, and we figured they’d be pretty tired, and we were able to go on a nice first-quarter run,” said Athol head coach Dan Bevis.

The Senators bounced back a bit in the second quarter, scoring 14 points to the Raiders 17, but the 15-point halftime deficit would only grow for Mahar (3-3, 0-1 FCLN) in the second half.

“Their tired legs really began to show in the third quarter,” said Bevis. “We were able to take advantage of that and make some steals and turn them into easy baskets.”

Molly Cleveland also had a big game for Athol, putting in 15 points, including three 3-pointers, and tacked on 7 assists. Tanner Favreau added 13 points and 5 assists. Kiki Guerin contributed 9 points and had a game-high 14 boards.

Ally Parker was the high scorer for Mahar with 7 points, and Kaydie Jillson, Keanna Whitmore and Natashia Patria each added 5. Patria had the lone 3-pointer for Mahar.

Frontier 62, Mohawk 21 — Amanda Calvo scored 29 points, had three assists, pulled down five rebounds, and had six steals to lead Frontier Regional School to a 62-21 victory over Mohawk Trail Regional High School in an independent girls’ basketball game at Goodnow Gymnasium Monday night.

Olivia Reardon added 13 points for the Red Hawks and grabbed five boards, had three assists, and six steals.

Laura Ward had 7 points for the Warriors, and Blaze Petco-Sands added 6 on two 3-pointers.

Boys’ hoop

Greenfield 65, Frontier 44 — Greenfield High School boys’ basketball coach Scott Thayer got an early Christmas present from his team in the second half of Monday night’s Hampshire League game against Frontier Regional School.

After looking nothing like the team that reached the western Mass. Division II championship game one season ago over the first three games of the 2013-14 season, the Green Wave began to put things together in the second half against the Red Hawks. Using a mix of strong defense and good ball-movement on offense, Greenfield outscored Frontier 41-23 in the final two quarters and knocked off Frontier, 65-44, at Nichols Gymnasium.

The game did not start off well for the Green Wave (2-2, 2-0) and it looked like more of the same struggles as Frontier (1-3, 1-1) jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Greenfield came storming back with a 15-0 run and led 15-8 after one quarter. Frontier did not go away and would regain the lead in the second quarter, but Greenfield managed to score a couple of late buckets and took a 24-21 lead into the break.

Everything changed in the second half and it began on the defensive end. Greenfield would outscore Frontier, 22-13 in the third quarter to take control of the game and did not take its foot off the gas in the fourth, outscoring Frontier 19-10 to win going away.

“It was a nice second-half performance,” Thayer said. “We were aggressive defensively. It was easily the best half we played this year and it’s a great building block for us.”

Tim Hoar had a big night for Frontier with more than half of the Red Hawks’ points. After scoring 15 in the first half, he netted 8 in the second to finish with 23. Thayer was pleased with his team’s change in play on Hoar in the second half.

“We wanted to get up on Hoar and make him play more,” he explained. “Nothing easy. The kids brought intensity tonight and played fundamental defense. Plus, we played hard and shared the ball on offense. We turned the corner here tonight a little bit.”

Three players finished in double-digit scoring for the Wave, including Robin Marchese who found his touch from behind the arc, banging five 3-pointers en route to a team-high 19 points. Connor Eckstrom had a big night with 12 points and seven rebounds, and Garrett Hudson added 10 points, six boards and four steals. Vincent Funari chipped in 7 points, and Connor Joy had 6 points and four assists.

Ben Ruddock added 10 points for Frontier, and Justin Farrick netted 6 points.

Turners Falls 71, Mohawk 50 — Liam Ellis netted 25 points and Turners Falls High School dismantled Mohawk Trail Regional High School, 71-50, in a HL boys’ basketball game Monday night in Buckland.

Ellis hit five 3-pointers en route to his game-high point total, but it was not the scoring alone that caught his coach’s eye.

“He’s a good player,” Turners Falls coach Gary Mullins said. “But as much as he played well offensively, his defense was even better.”

Teammate Malcolm Smith also had a big night, falling two assists shy of a triple-double. Smith poured in 21 points to go along with 11 rebounds and eight assists. Melvin Moreno also had a nice night for the Indians (4-0) with 8 points and eight dimes. Jalen Sanders finished with 6 points, and Brody Markol scored his first two career varsity points.

Mark Buck paced Mohawk (2-3) with 16 points, Jay Fortier added 14 points, and Alex Dekoschak dumped in 12.

FC Tech 51, Hol. Catholic 47 — In the Tri-County league opener for both schools, Franklin County Technical School beat Holyoke Catholic High School, 51-47, Monday night in Turners Falls.

Chris Wetherby had a big all-around performance, scoring 18 points, hauling in 16 rebounds and blocking four shots for the Eagles. Nate Boyer added 12 points for Tech, while Kyle Jarvis poured in 10.

“We’re a young team that’s learning how to win.” said Eagles’ head coach Rick Recore. “I was happy with the way they played tonight, especially defensively.”

It’s easy to see why Recore was pleased with the defensive play. Brett Martin contributed 3 points on the night, but was a beast on the boards, corralling 17 rebounds. Martin, a junior, also added 11 blocked shots, and the coach was thrilled with the performance.

“He’s just a freaky athlete, and when he grows into his body, he’ll only get better.” said Recore.

Recore also had high praise for CJ Daignault, who did not score, but had five steals and was a force on defense all night long.

“CJ is amazing. I stress how important defense is all the time, and with all the emphasis on scoring, it’s a hard message to get across sometimes. It’s our goal to keep our opponents’ scoring in the 40s. Tonight we did that, and it led to a good win.” he said.

Tech came out strong and took a 27-20 lead into halftime, and continued to cruise in the third, outscoring the Gaels 16-8, and taking a 15 point lead into the fourth. That’s when the Gaels turned it up a notch. Catholic outscored the Eagles 19-8 in the frame, but Tech would hold on for the hard fought victory.

“We controlled the tempo through three quarters, and then we kind of let them take it away,” said Recor. “That fourth quarter wasn’t pretty, but with all the young guys we have learning to play together as a team, that will happen at times. As I said, they’re learning how to win, and they had a good lesson tonight.”

Nathaniel Gobb led the Gaels with 15 points on the night. Andrew Foley and Kevin Johnson each added 11 for Holyoke Catholic.

Mahar 65, Athol 36 — Nick Slattery scored 16 points on Monday night and Mahar clubbed Athol, 65-36, in a HL boys’ basketball game in Athol.

Mahar led 30-10 at halftime.

Austin Leary finished with a career-best 10 points in the win, Brendin Woodard added 9 points, and Jake Paul and Malik Adams each netted 8 points.

Alex Page, Andrew Poor and Tyler Lajoie each had 6 points to lead Athol.

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