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Athol receives wake-up call

Athol guard Molly Cleveland (4) drives past South Hadley defender Kelly Pouliot (11) Monday night at Mallet Gym in Athol, where the host Raiders lost to the visiting Tigers, 68-56, in their independent girls' basketball game.
Recorder/Mike Phillips

Athol guard Molly Cleveland (4) drives past South Hadley defender Kelly Pouliot (11) Monday night at Mallet Gym in Athol, where the host Raiders lost to the visiting Tigers, 68-56, in their independent girls' basketball game. Recorder/Mike Phillips

The Athol High School girls’ basketball team has shown that it should be considered a contender for a western Massachusetts Division III title this season, but on Monday night South Hadley High School reminded the Red Raiders that they still have plenty to work on.

The Tigers outscored the Red Raiders by 10 points in the third quarter and rode that momentum to a 68-56 independent girls’ victory at Mallet Gymnasium in Athol.

The Red Raiders held a one-point halftime lead (31-30), but the Tigers came out in the third quarter and put their stamp on the game, shutting down the Raider offense while turning defense into transition offense. South Hadley (11-2) outscored Athol, 20-10, in the frame and take command.

“They just took it to us,” Athol coach Dan Bevis said. “Offensively, they got whatever they wanted, and it was the difference in the game.”

The Tigers did not take the foot off the gas in the fourth, outscoring Athol, 18-15, to close it out. The Red Raiders struggled with outside shooting, and had trouble finishing even when they did penetrate the paint .

“We take away that we still have some issues that we must fix,” Bevis said. “We’re no longer playing in the old Franklin County League. These are the kinds of games we wanted, and these are the games that are going to make us better.”

Kelly Pouliot 18 points led a Tigers’ offense with four players in double figures. Sophie Gatzounas netted 17 points, Meghan Ginley finished 12, and Sam Gawron added 10.

Molly Cleveland paced Athol (10-2) with 13 points, while Kiki Guerin went 10-for-14 from the free-throw line en route to 12 points. Tanner Favreau netted 9 points, Emily Casella added 8, and Hope Parker dumped in 7.

Athol travels to Easthampton High School tonight at 7.

Frontier 53, Smith Academy 35 — Amanda Calvo turned in a stellar performance for Frontier Regional School as it rolled to a 53-35 independent girls’ basketball win over Smith Academy Monday night at Webb Gymnasium in Hatfield.

Calvo shot 48 percent from the floor, was a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line and drained a career-high 31 points to lead the Red Hawks. She also grabbed seven rebounds and registered eight steals.

“She knew what they were allowing her to do,” said Frontier head coach Frank Keimig. “She made some real good choices (tonight).”

Olivia Riordan added 13 points for the Red Hawks, who improved to 5-7 overall.

Ashley Higgins netted 15 points and Jen Adamites had 13 for the Falcons.

Frontier hosts Monson High School Thursday night.

Boys’ games

Hopkins 59, Pioneer 49 — Hopkins Academy outscored Pioneer Valley Regional School, 21-10, in the final quarter to earn a 59-49 HL victory in boys’ basketball play Monday night at Messer Gymnasium in Northfield.

The Golden Hawks’ Andrew Omer nailed a three-quarter court shot to end the third quarter and cut the Panthers’ lead to one, and Hopkins (7-5, 4-5 HL) used the momentum to dominate the final eight minutes.

Zach Kelley led a balanced Hawks offense with 14 points. Greg Pipczynski nailed 10 free throws en route to a 12-point effort, and Alex Curran chipped in 11. Hopkins also went 15-for-21 from the line.

Pioneer (5-6, 4-5) was led by Lennon Robichaud’s game-high 18 points. Brad Hastings finished with 14.

“We just couldn’t keep it gong in the second half,” said Panther head coach Dave Hastings, whose squad led by nine at the break. “We ran things well but missed some layups and some jumpers and it showed.”

Pioneer is right back at it tonight at 6:30 when it makes the long journey to Sheffield to take on Mt. Everett Regional High School.

FC Tech 82, Smith Voke 59 — Chris Wetherby netted 36 points and added 15 rebounds and three blocked shots as Franklin County Technical School made it three wins in a row with a 82-59 Tri-County League victory over Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School Monday night in Northampton.

While Wetherby had another huge offensive night for the Eagles (8-5), who moved to within two wins of qualifying for the WMass Division IV tourney, it was about far more than the Eagles’ big man in the win. Franklin Tech coach Rick Recore credited the play of a number of players.

Brett Martin had a big night for Franklin Tech inside with 7 points, 11 blocked shots and 16 rebounds.

“He probably altered at least 10 more shots,” Recore said of the blocks.

Freshman point guard Colin Gould also had perhaps his best offensive night of his young varsity career. Gould shot 10-for-11 from the free-throw line and finished with 18 points. Brett Como was the third Tech player to hit double figures in scoring with 12 points. He also dished out nine assists. Thomas Duffy finished with 9 points and 16 rebounds, and C.J. Daignault had a big night defensively, and came away with five steals.

The Eagles jumped out to a 14-7 lead after the first quarter and over the next two quarters the offense picked up. Franklin Tech outscored Smith Voke, 26-21, in the second quarter, and then edged the Vikings, 25-22, in the third.

Damon Soto led Smith Voke with 26 points, and Jeff Goralski added 15.

The Eagles host Pioneer Valley Christian School Thursday night.

Greenfield 52, Frontier 49 — Greenfield High School has not been playing great basketball of late. On Monday night, the Green Wave dodged another bullet.

Greenfield outscored Frontier Regional School, 17-9, in the fourth quarter to come from behind and avoid another upset loss by claiming a 52-49 HL boys’ victory at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield.

The Green Wave (9-6) moved to within one win of qualifying for the WMass Division III tourney, but it wasn’t supposed to be this difficult for the Wave, which returned all but one player from the team that went to the WMass Division II title game last spring. Greenfield had already dropped recent games to Hopkins Academy and Pioneer Valley Regional School, and while both of those teams are making a run at qualifying for the tournament, Frontier (4-10) is likely to end up on the outside of the tournament this season unless it can win its final six games.

Frontier held a 26-19 halftime lead and still led by five points entering the fourth quarter. The Red Hawks built the lead by pushing the ball down low on offense, but they got away from that in the second half, much to the chagrin of their coach.

“We went away offensively from what had made us successful over the first three quarters,” Frontier coach Ben Barshefsky said. “Screening, being aggressive, and not fiddling with the ball 50 feet from the basket. Give Greenfield credit, they made the plays defensively, and I’m proud of the way my guys competed, but from an execution standpoint, I’m disappointed with the fourth quarter.

“We felt like we had advantages inside and we went away from that in the second half,” he continued. “Tim Hoar had maybe two chances inside in the second half. We just weren’t finding him.”

Garrett Hudson finished with 18 points to lead the Green Wave. Parker Hickey added 12. Robin Marchese was off his usual pace with just 7 points, and Connor Eckstrom netted 6.

Niko Ames led Frontier with 12 points. Justin Farrick dumped in 9 points, Ben Ruddock and Ian Blight each had 8, and Hoar finished with 7.

Things won’t get any easier for Greenfield when it heads to Smith Academy Thursday. Frontier travels to Hopkins Academy the same night.

Turners 65, Mohawk 42 — Nick York led three double-digit scorers with 15 points and registered five assists as Turners Falls High School downed Mohawk Trail Regional High School, 65-42, in HL boys’ basketball action Monday night in Turners Falls.

Malcolm Smith drained 14 points, Jalen Sanders hit for a dozen points and pulled down nine rebounds, and Liam Ellis added five assists for the Indians (12-3, 9-2), who erupted for 21 second-quarter points en route to a 39-17 halftime lead.

Mark Buck and Javier Morales both finished with 9 points, and Jay Fortier had 8 for the Warriors.

“The kids shared the ball (tonight), they were just making great passes for open shots,” said Indians assistant coach Jay Liimatainen, who added that 13 of the team’s 14 first-half baskets were assisted .

Turners Falls hosts Greenfield at home Monday night at 7:30.

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