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Indians turns back Panthers

  • Recorder/Peter MacDonald<br/>Pioneer 11 AJ Krawczyk TF 10 Wyatt Bourbeau P22 Cody Artus<br/>

    Recorder/Peter MacDonald
    Pioneer 11 AJ Krawczyk TF 10 Wyatt Bourbeau P22 Cody Artus

  • Recorder/Peter MacDonald<br/>P13 Brian Liewelyn TF 24 Nick Fisher

    Recorder/Peter MacDonald
    P13 Brian Liewelyn TF 24 Nick Fisher

  • Recorder/Peter MacDonald<br/>TF 22 Tony Gonzales P11AJ KrawczykP22 Cody Artys<br/>

    Recorder/Peter MacDonald
    TF 22 Tony Gonzales P11AJ KrawczykP22 Cody Artys

  • Recorder/Peter MacDonald<br/>Pioneer 11 AJ Krawczyk TF 10 Wyatt Bourbeau P22 Cody Artus<br/>
  • Recorder/Peter MacDonald<br/>P13 Brian Liewelyn TF 24 Nick Fisher
  • Recorder/Peter MacDonald<br/>TF 22 Tony Gonzales P11AJ KrawczykP22 Cody Artys<br/>

It was the classic look-ahead game for Turners Falls High School Tuesday night in Turners Falls.

The Indians appeared to be looking past Pioneer Valley Regional School in their final regular-season game before the WMass Division III Boys’ Basketball Tournament, falling behind early before holding off the Panthers late to register a 71-63 Hampshire League victory.

Turners Falls (14-6 overall, 13-5 HL) has been playing well of late, earning solid wins over Mahar Regional School and Frontier Regional School in the past couple of games and nearly toppling West Division champion Smith Academy before settling for a moral victory in a 55-52 loss. All the good feeling nearly came crumbling down against a Pioneer (8-12, 6-12) team that came out on fire and continued to lead after three quarters. Despite playing tight throughout, Indian assistant coach Jay Liimatainen said that he didn’t feel like the team was overlooking the Panthers, but simply that Pioneer played very well.

“They were making shots and our kids were not playing our usual in-your-face defense,” he said. “But Pioneer played very well. We came out slow and they came out of the gate pretty quickly on us.”

Lee Doiron came out firing for the Panthers, hitting three 3-pointers in the opening quarter as Pioneer raced out to a 13-2 lead. The Indians managed to cut the deficit to 18-14 by the end of the quarter, and the two teams each scored 17 points in the second quarter to give Pioneer a 35-31 lead at the break.

The Indians began settling in on defense in the third quarter, holding Pioneer to just 12 points, and the Indians went into the fourth trailing by one point, 47-46. The hosts finally gave their fans something to cheer about on Senior Night, outscoring the Panthers, 25-16, in the fourth quarter to win going away.

“We turned up the pressure,” Liimatainen said of the fourth. “The kids really executed some plays down the stretch. I think this was a good game for us heading into the tournament.”

Liam Ellis netted 19 points to lead the Indians, while Malcolm Smith finished with 18. Wyatt Bourbeau added 13 points and eight steals, Melvin Moreno dumped in 12 points, and Nick Fisher chipped in 2 points and nine rebounds.

Drew Hastings paced Pioneer with 15 points. Tyrus Gould poured in 14 points, Doiron finished with 13 and Lennon Robichaud added 12. C.J. Artus also tossed in 5 points and Brian Llewelyn chipped in 4.

Turners Falls will learn its seed Saturday at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield at noon.

Pathfinder 58, FC Tech 57 — Franklin County Technical School had its season implode down the stretch on Tuesday night.

The Eagles entered their final regular-season game against Pathfinder Regional High School needing a win to finish .500 on the season and qualify for the WMass Division III tournament, and despite leading late in the game, the team could not hold on, and the Pioneers came back to claim a 58-57 victory in a Tri-County League boys’ hoop game in Three Rivers.

The loss leaves Franklin Tech with a 9-11 record, 7-7 in the TCL. The team had already beaten Pathfinder earlier in the season but the Pioneer’s gained revenge. The Pioneers led 43-41 entering the fourth quarter but Franklin Tech came back to take the lead with three minutes remaining. Things fell apart down the stretch, however, and Pathfinder took advantage of some sloppy plays and bad decisions by the Eagles to eliminate Franklin Tech from the postseason

“We were horrendous down the stretch,” Franklin Tech coach Rick Recore admitted. “We were not taking good shots at the end of the game, we were sloppy with the ball, we were missing free throws and we made some ill-advised fouls. It was all of that tonight, unfortunately. We’re still young, and I don’t like to use that as an excuse, but we need to learn to play in pressure situations.

“But I’m very proud of my guys. They played very hard. We have never had any questions about effort all season.”

Eagle guard Jake Earl finished with 29 points and won the area scoring race with 26.8 points per game. Chris Wetherby added 9 points, Kyle Jarvis netted 7 and Gerald Richardson and Brett Martin each tossed in 5.

Cody Hess led Pathfinder with 23 points, Brad Lord added 17 and Joel Pikul netted 10.

Athol 78, Hopkins 70, OT — Brad Bousquet scored 8 of his 11 points in overtime and Athol High School finished the season on a high note with a 78-70 victory over Hopkins Academy in HL play in Athol.

The Red Raiders came back from a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit to send the game into overtime. Adrian Sexton (22 points) and Jerry Parker (16 points) combined to scored 12 points down the stretch to help the Raiders force the extra frame. Both players fouled out early in the overtime period but Bousquet stepped up to help the Red Raiders (7-13, 5-13) outscore Hopkins 14-6 in OT.

Zack Dodge finished with 14 points in the win.

Spencer Butterfield led Hopkins with 21 points. Zach Kelley added 15.

Greenfield 62, Mohawk 26 — Garrett Hudson scored 13 points on Tuesday and Greenfield High School knocked off Mohawk Trail Regional High School, 62-25, in an HL boys’ hoop game in Buckland.

Tyler Miller netted 12 points for the Green Wave (18-1, 17-0), which will try to finish unbeaten in HL play tonight in its regular-season finale at home against Mahar Regional School. Lew Borden and Vincent Funari each added 8 points. Parker Hickey tossed in 7.

Alex Buntin led Mohawk (2-18, 1-17) with 10 points, Jay Fortier added 6 points and Mark Buck scored 2 before leaving the game due to an injury.

Smith Academy 68, Frontier 49 — Mat Sulda netted 24 points, and Keith Natale added 16 to help Smith Academy to a 68-49 victory over Frontier in the regular-season finale for both teams Tuesday night in Hatfield.

Both teams qualified for the WMass Division III tournament.

Seaver Rickert added 11 points for the Falcons (17-3, 15-3) and Derek McMahon netted 8 points.

Paul Decker finished with 18 points for Frontier (11-9, 11-7), while Tim Hoar collected 10. Ryan Hoar tallied 9 points and 11 boards and Peter Watroba tossed in 7 points.

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