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Senators bust loose, 59-40

Nothing like turning to your defense to get your offense going.

Mahar Regional School had been downright anemic offensively over the past two games, but that changed Tuesday night when the Senators used defense to create offense in a 59-40 thumping of Easthampton High School in their Hampshire League boys’ basketball game at Grzesik-Bixby Gym in Orange.

The Senators (7-3 overall, 7-2 HL) entered the game riding a two-game losing streak after taking on the league’s top two teams — Greenfield High School and Smith Academy — in their past two contests. Mahar managed to score just 62 points combined in those two losses, including just 28 against Smith Academy, which is not known for its defense. The defending Division II state champs managed to right the ship against the Eagles (4-6, 3-6), though, and it turned out to be the defense — a staple last season — that turned things around.

“We did a really nice job defensively,” Mahar coach Chad Softic said. “Particularly, we rebounded well, which allowed us to get out and get some easy hoops in transition early on.”

Mahar scored 16 points in each of the first two quarters and led 32-20 at halftime. Easthampton held the Senators to just seven points in the third quarter and managed to cut the deficit to nine. But Mahar put the game away with 20 fourth-quarter 20 points.

Another big piece of the puzzle was the added presence of Malik Adams. The freshman point guard scored a career-high 7 points, but the big difference was that he finished with a team-high five assists. Brendin Woodard led the Senators with 19 points. Joey Whitman and Joey Verheyen each added 8 points.

Chris Starcun led all scorers with 25 points for Easthampton.

Greenfield 74, Mohawk 30 — Seven players scored eight points or more for Greenfield Tuesday night and the Green Wave clobbered Mohawk Trail Regional High School, 74-30, in a HL boys’ hoop game at Nichols Gymnasium in Greenfield.

Greenfield, which remained unbeaten on at 9-0, led 38-20 at halftime.

Lew Borden led Greenfield with 12 points, while Parker Hickey drained three 3-pointers en route to 11. Tyler Miller netted 10 points, Robin Marchese, Garrett Hudson and Connor Eckstrom each netted 9 points, and Ryan Roberts added a career-high 8.

Connor Maloney led Mohawk with 7 points. Alex Buntin added 6.

Smith Academy 67, Frontier 54 — Smith Academy used a big fourth-quarter effort to pull away from pesky Frontier Regional School and take a 67-54 HL boys’ hoop game Tuesday night in South Deerfield.

The Red Hawks (5-5, 5-4) had closed to within two points early in the fourth quarter in their bid to upset the Falcons (9-1, 8-1), but Mat Sulda scored nine of his 19 points in the final frame and the Falcons shot 8-for-8 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to post the win. Despite losing for the third time in four games, Frontier coach Ben Barshefsky said that he was again pleased with his team’s effort.

“I’ve been very pleased with their effort the entire year, and that’s what we focused on in our postgame talk,” the coach said. “The guys put themselves in the position to win the game. Smith Academy just made a few more plays in the fourth quarter.”

While Barshefsky did not have the final numbers, he said that another key to the Falcons’ win was their rebounding dominance, particularly on the offensive boards. The Frontier coach said that he was pleased with his team’s defensive effort, particularly against Sulda, who also scored nine points in the second quarter, but scored just one point in the first and third quarters combined to finish with 19 points.

Keith Natale added 19 points for Smith Academy. Derek McMahon added 18 points.

Paul Decker had a huge night for the Red Hawks, scoring a career-high 27 points, including five 3-pointers. Ryan Hoar added 11 points, while Peter Watroba and Tim Hoar each added 6.

Athol 64, Hopkins 37 — Adrian Sexton netted 18 points and added 12 boards as Athol High School knocked off Hopkins Academy, 64-37, in HL boys’ basketball action Tuesday night in Hadley.

Andrew Poor and Tyler Guerin each finished with 9 points for Athol (4-6, 3-6). Dakota Melanson added 8.

Spencer Butterfield led Hopkins with 11 points. Zach Kelly finished with 10.

St. Mary 79, FC Tech 72 — Justin Crosby netted 31 points to help St. Mary overcome a first-half deficit and outlast Franklin County Technical School, 79-72, in a Tri-County League boys’ basketball game Tuesday night in Turners Falls.

Crosby — who will attend Suffield (Conn.) Academy next year as a post-graduate student — was followed in the scoring column by Matt Plasse, who drained five trifectas en route to 21 points. Anthony Garde chipped in with 13 and Sam Thresher tossed in 10.

Jake Earl turned in another sold performance for the Eagles, finishing with a game-high 33 points with nine assists, five rebounds and four steals. Chris Wetherby also produced in a big way, tossing in 26 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and blocking three shots. Gerald Richardson added eight rebounds.

“We played great defense and had the lead at the half (35-33), so there were a lot of things we did well,” said Eagles head coach Rick Recore. “I told the kids I was proud of the effort. We just need to get through these games and learn how to win, (but), they’re working hard and I can’t ask for any more. We’re becoming a team.”

Franklin Tech visits Smith Vocational & Agricultural School on Friday night at 6:30.

Four Rivers 41, Eagle Hill 14 — Jackson Reeves-Henning netted 13 points to lead Four Rivers Charter School over Eagle Hill School, 41-14, in a River Valley Athletic League boys’ basketball game Tuesday night at Indoor Action in Greenfield.

Ben Garbus added 9 points for the Otters (4-3), who visit Hartsbrook School on Thursday.

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