Sens/Hawks kick off second half of season

  • FCTS Max Charest (35) shoots vs TFHS Friday night. December 15, 2017 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Jack Temple (33) and Mahar travel to Hadley tonight (weather permitting) to face Hopkins in a battle of first-place teams in the HL South. RECORDER file photo

Recorder Staff
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The top of the Hampshire League South Division standings should look much clearer after tonight.

Weather-permitting, the top two teams in the league meet in Hadley this evening, as Mahar Regional School travels to Hopkins Academy for a 7:30 tipoff.

The three-time defending WMass champion Golden Hawks (7-1, 3-0) have continued right where they left off a year ago. Despite losing all-everything performer Sam’i Roe to graduation, Hopkins has rolled through its competition this winter. The team’s lone loss came to Division I West Springfield High School, and their offensive numbers have remained solid with a 66.9 point per game average.

Hopkins relies on three players offensively to do the bulk of its damage. John Earle (20.3 ppg), Jon Morrison (17.1) and Justin Ciaglo (15.6) have combined to score 53 points per game this season. Earle and Morrison joined the 1,000-point club in the same game just last week.

Despite a rocky last couple of weeks that saw it lose two of its last four games, Mahar (7-2, 3-0) bounced back with an impressive 47-34 win over Pioneer Valley Regional School on Friday.

The defensive-minded Senators have allowed 50 or more points just twice through nine games, and opponents have managed just 42 points per game with tonight’s tilt marking the halfway point of the regular-season campaign.

Mahar’s offense has been powered by Quinn Gervais and Sam Paul, as both players are averaging in double figures with 12.9 and 11.2 points per game, respectively. Brennan Mailloux isn’t far off that pace, checking in with 9.3 points per game.

For the Senators to have a chance to pull the road upset, their offense will need to perform. In the team’s two losses this season to Frontier Regional School and Southwick-Tolland Regional High School, Mahar scored just 34 points each. The team should be able to slow Hopkins down a bit from its average, but 34 points certainly won’t be enough to match the defending champions.

Big 3 rolling along

It may only be mid-January, but the Franklin County League North Division looks all but decided.

That’s because Greenfield High School has separated itself from the pack in a big way. After the first time through the league slate, the Green Wave are 4-0 with an average margin of victory of 33.3 points per game. The closest of those league games came against Hopkins (a 77-53 win), and overall head coach John Hickey’s team has won seven games in a row entering today.

Greenfield (9-1, 4-0) has enjoyed tremendous success this winter thanks in large part to what has turned into a Big 3 of Raegan Hickey, Samantha Smith and Katie Haselton. Hickey, a junior, leads the way with a healthy 16.8 point per game average, but Haselton has stepped up during her freshman year (14.9 ppg) and Smith has bounced back nicely since missing the bulk of the field hockey season recovering from an ACL injury to average 13.9 points per game. All three players have multiple 20-plus point scoring games.

To put it in perspective on a league basis, the trio of scorers are averaging 45.6 points per outing. Compare that to the rest of the teams in the FCL North, and here’s how scoring averages look:

• Hopkins, 48.4 ppg

• Hickey/Haselton/Smith, 45.6 ppg

• Mahar, 40.3 ppg

• Frontier, 37.3 ppg

• Athol, 36.9 ppg

TCL scrum getting good

There’s a logjam of boys’ basketball teams in the Tri-County League North Division, with local squad Franklin County Technical School right in the thick of things.

Prior to the season, head coach Matt Llewelyn knew his Eagles were going to be in for a difficult league slate. That’s held up, as all but one team enters the crux of the TCL North schedule with a .500 record or better.

Franklin Tech sat at 6-4 overall (1-1 TCL) at the season’s midway point entering Tuesday night’s game against Duggan Academy (7-2, 2-0). The Eagles need four wins the rest of the way, or to finish in the top two of the TCL standings to earn a postseason berth. The schedule is daunting, with two games against Baystate Academy (5-2), two against McCann Technical School (4-3), one more against Duggan and one against Hampden Charter School of Science (4-5).

Should the Eagles qualify however, a challenging regular-season slate should have them prepared for the postseason grind. Stay tuned.

Potential postseason teams

On the boys’ side of things, local programs Mahar, Pioneer and Frontier look to be in good shape for postseason berths. Frontier has won five straight games after an 0-4 start and sits atop the HL North at 3-0. Mahar (7-2) and Pioneer (6-3) should have no issues reaching double-digit victories.

In addition to Franklin Tech, Greenfield (2-6, 1-1) has some work ahead of it. The good news is that the Green Wave have a chance to earn a top two spot in the HL North, and even if they finish with a sub-.500 record they could still qualify.

The Greenfield girls’ team is one win away from qualification, while Frontier (7-3) and Turners Falls (6-3) are closing in as well. Mahar (6-5) has played better of late and needs a 4-5 record in its last night games to qualify, while Franklin Tech sits at 5-3 and is in decent shape as well.

The Mohawk girls’ team is 4-5 overall but currently leads the FCL West with a 3-1 mark. Taking care of business in its final four league games would get the Warriors in the dance.