School Roundup: Pioneer girls keep tournament hopes alive

Staff Reports
Published: 2/14/2020 10:44:25 PM

The Pioneer Valley Regional School girls basketball team entered Friday with its back against the wall. 

The Panthers sat at 7-10, needing to win their final three games to get into the tournament and came away with a much needed win in Springfield, topping Putnam 54-41 in a Franklin County League South matchup. 

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Pioneer coach Mike Churchill said. “It was a 32-minute effort from every player. Each player gave it everything they had and left it all out on the court.”

In a must-have game, the Panthers (8-10, 3-3) relied on their star players, with Paige Loughman scoring 17 points and Steph Scoville returning from injury to drop 15 points, both also finishing with double-digit rebounds. 

The duo wasn’t alone in helping in the win. Sophomore Alina Cecunjanin had the game of her life, scoring a career-high 12 points to propel Pioneer to victory. 

“Steph and Paige were monsters,” Churchill said. “Alina set the tone for us. She had eight of her points in first half. Giving us a third scoring option really opened the floor up for us, it opened things up for Steph and Paige inside.” 

The Beavers (10-8, 4-2) kept it close with Pioneer in just about every quarter, but the Panthers outscored Putnam 14-7 in the second quarter, which proved to be the difference. 

Pioneer is back in action Tuesday at home against Turners Falls before taking on Southwick on Wednesday in its season finale. 

“We’ve got two more 32-minute efforts to get to the tournament,” Churchill said. “We’ll sleep on this tonight and get back to work tomorrow.” 

Franklin Tech 64, Renaissance 27 — The Eagles outscored the Phoenix by double-digits in three quarters to run away with a 64-27 Tri-County League North victory on Friday. 

Jocelyn Crowningshield controlled the game at the point for Franklin Tech, scoring 17 points, dishing six assists and snagging five steals. 

The Eagles (16-3, 9-0) jumped out to a 19-8 lead after one, but scored just four points in the second quarter to go into the half with a 23-11 lead. 

In the third, however, Renaissance (7-11, 3-5) was outscored 20-7 as Franklin Tech took full control. 

Isabelle Duga scored 12 points and tossed four assists in the win, with Gemanaia Cruz finishing with 11 points and five assists. Jordan Hurlbert had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. 

Hopkins 44, Athol 26 — The Red Raiders were never able to get their offense going Friday at home, falling to the Golden Hawks 44-26 in a Franklin County League North matchup. 

Athol didn’t crack double digits for points in a quarter until the fourth, when it was too late, as it had fallen behind 36-15 after three quarters of action. 

Haley Bigwood finished with seven points for the Red Raiders (6-13, 0-8), with Taylor Cleveland adding in five points and Geca Baptista scoring four points. 

Sara Beauchamp finished with 12 points for Hopkins (12-7, 3-4). 

Southwick 33, Turners 28 — The Thunder were only able to convert eight field goals, falling behind 16-10 at the half en route to a 33-28 defeat to the Rams in a Franklin County League West matchup. 

A 12-point third quarter got Turners back in the game, but the Thunder weren’t able to close the gap enough in the fourth. 

Taylor Greene knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to finish with six points for Turners (5-14, 1-6), while Kendra Campbell, Karissa Fleming and Steph Peterson each scored five points. 

Easthampton 36, Mohawk 32 — Grace Ward was a force to be reckoned with in the paint for the Warriors on Friday in Easthampton. 

Ward finished with five points, pulled down 11 boards and blocked 10 shots, but Mohawk was unable to mount a large enough comeback in the fourth quarter, falling to the Eagles 36-32 in the Franklin County League West contest. 

The first-half offense proved to be the difference for the Warriors (3-15, 0-6), as they scored nine points in the first quarter and just one in the second quarter to fall behind 19-10 at the half. 

Mohawk was able to win the third and fourth quarter, but wasn’t able to get the final push on offense to get the victory. 

Stella Clark finished with 11 points in the loss, with Grace Poplawski chipping in eight points. 

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