Mahar shuts down powerful Panthers, 47-34

Recorder Staff
Friday, January 12, 2018

It’s been a tough week and a half for the Mahar Regional School boys’ basketball team. The Senators dropped a pair of disappointing games to Southwick-Tolland Regional High School and Frontier Regional School, struggling in the process. Head coach Chad Softic said his team was pressing, and the results showed that.

Needing a win to right the ship, however, Mahar came through Friday night.

The host Senators smothered high-scoring Pioneer Valley Regional School on the defensive end, holding the Panthers to just 9 points in the first half. Mahar survived a run in the second half to pick up a key Hampshire League South victory, 47-34, at Grzesik-Bixby Gymnasium.

“We just played really good man (to man defense) tonight,” Softic explained of the defensive dominance. “We continue to struggle offensively. It wasn’t perfect, but certainly a good win over a really good Pioneer team.”

Quinn Gervais returned to the lineup for the Senators (7-2, 3-0), as he scored 10 points to go with 10 rebounds. Mahar, which stormed out to a 9-0 lead to set the tone, received a team-high 14 points from Sam Paul, while Matt Jenks added 11 points and 8 rebounds. Paul dished out 7 assists, while Jack Temple totaled 6 points and 8 boards.

“Having Quinn back was a steadying presence for us,” said Softic of Gervais’ return after missing the Southwick game. “He had a real solid game for us. And Sam Paul hit some big shots.”

Pioneer, which trailed 20-9 at halftime, made a third-quarter run to cut the deficit to 28-22. Mahar answered with a run of its own, pushing the gap back to double digits the rest of the way.

Jordan Loughman led Pioneer (6-3, 2-2) with 8 points. Brendan Emond added 7 points, and Mike Menard and Garrett Cote tossed in 6 each.

Mahar now sets its sights on a huge game Wednesday night. The Senators travel to Hadley to play fellow South-leader Hopkins Academy. Pioneer is off until Friday when it hosts Athol High School.

Frontier 67, Athol 30 — Frontier made a season-high 11 3-pointers and defeated Athol, 67-30, in a HL North boys’ basketball game Friday night in Athol.

The Red Hawks made 10 of its bombs in the first half to build a 55-13 lead at halftime.

Carsten Carey led a balanced attack with 13 points for Frontier, which has now won five straight games after beginning the season 0-4. Ben Litskoski finished with 12 points, Owen Morse added 11, and Brandyn Robinson and Donovan Hoffman each tossed in 10. Noah Graves chipped in 8 points.

Brymere Edwards led Athol with 9 points, while Mark Ferrari and Bryce King each netted 5.

FC Tech 55, Smith Voke 40 — Franklin County Technical School used a dominant third-quarter effort to pull away from Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School and went on to a 55-40 independent boys’ basketball victory Friday night in Northampton.

The Eagles held a 28-23 lead at halftime but picked up the defensive intensity and did a much better job rebounding coming out of halftime according to coach Matt Llewelyn, which helped the team outscore the Vikings, 17-6, in the third quarter. Smith Voke scored the first three points of the second half and was held to just three points the rest of the third quarter.

“We were getting killed on the glass in the first half but we did a better job in the second half,” Llewelyn explained. “The defensive rotation was also better in the second half. Once we got that out of our system, we were fine.”

Llewelyn said that despite his team improving to 6-4 on the season, he would like his players to do a better job of playing a 32-minute game.

“Sometimes we get stuck in third gear,” Llewelyn offered. “We just need to find those fourth and fifth gears to finish out games.”

The Eagles got another balanced offensive effort as Jared Bergmann and Joel Farrick each scored 14 points to lead the way. Max Charest added 12 points, Seth Aldrich finished with 7 points, and Garrett Cole notched 6 points.

Andrew Pierce led Smith Voke with 10 points, while Jayvan Cordova added 9.

Smith Academy 68, Mohawk 40 — For three quarters, Mohawk Trail Regional High School put together one of its best performances of the season. But host Smith Academy hit four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Warriors by a 21-4 margin, and the Falcons pulled away for a 68-40 HL North victory Friday night in Hatfield.

“Take that fourth quarter away and we were right with them every step of the way,” Mohawk head coach Jeff Herd said. “We’re getting better every time out.”

The Warriors (0-9, 0-3) were within shouting distance, down 47-36 entering the fourth. Jackson Hicks was the team’s leading scorer with 12 points, while Anthony Moffatt hit a pair of 3-pointers to finish with 6 points. Will Guyette added 6 points and Luke Viens tossed in 5.

Jack Zigmont led all scorers with 22 points for Smith Academy (4-4, 2-1), while Carter Woodward sank four 3’s en route to 16 points.

Mohawk is back in action Wednesday when it hosts St. Mary’s Parish School.

Girls’ basketball

Frontier 43, Lenox 42 — Freshman Olivia Deane hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining, putting the finishing touches on her best game of the season, and host Frontier pulled off a wild 43-42 victory over Lenox Memorial High School in an independent girls’ basketball game Friday at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield.

The Red Hawks (6-3) rallied from a 7-point deficit with 4:30 remaining, and the hosts trailed 42-40 when Deane sank the 3-pointer to give her squad a 43-42 advantage. Lenox missed a potential game-winning shot on the other end, and Frontier held on for an impressive home win.

“We really went into a funk offensively for a big stretch late in the third and into the fourth quarter,” Frontier coach Marty Sanderson admitted. “But our kids hung in, kept playing. And our defense kept us in the game to give us a chance. We finally started to hit some shots late.”

Deane finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds in a solid all-around effort, while Lexa Boyden posted another double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Amelia Sobieski had 6 points and 6 boards, while Ella Deane tossed in 6 points and 5 assists.

Lenox (3-7) was paced by Alice Najimy’s 20 points. The Millionaires held a 15-14 lead at halftime before carrying a 29-27 advantage into the fourth quarter.

Frontier takes to the road to play at Ware High School Monday night.

Pioneer 48, St. Mary’s 33 — Another big performance from Olivia Rowe propelled visiting Pioneer Valley Regional School to its second win in three games Friday night.

Rowe scored 14 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and recorded 5 blocks as the Panthers thumped St. Mary’s Parish School, 48-33, in an independent girls’ basketball game at North Middle School in Westfield.

“It was a great team effort by all 11 players,” Pioneer coach Meg Burrington said. “They worked hard to get an early lead and maintained it.”

Freshman Paige Loughman had 10 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals and 3 blocks in a stellar all-around effort for Pioneer (2-5). Steph Scoville also scored in double figures in the win, dropping 13 points. Emily Tibbetts tallied her first career varsity point.

The Panthers jumped out to a 26-7 lead at halftime, and kept St. Mary’s at arms’ length in the second half. Madie Donais powered the Saints with 13 points, while Jessica Crosby added 10.

Pioneer travels to Mount Everett Regional School for another independent game Monday.

Boys’ swimming

Palmer 66, Turners Falls 23 — Nick Taylor was the lone winner of the afternoon for Turners Falls High School, as he captured first in the 500-yard freestyle, but host Turners Falls fell to Palmer High School, 66-23, in a Constitution League boys’ swim meet Friday.

Taylor’s time of 6 minutes, 29.06 seconds put him atop the leaderboard in the event. He added a runner-up finish in the 100 butterfly (1:06.10).

Nik Martin was second in the 200 freestyle (2:40.57) for Turners (2-5, 0-2), while Will Turn was the runner-up in the 100 freestyle (1:18.04).

The 200 medley relay team of Turn, Taylor, Martin and Tommy Hall took second in 2:30.28, while the 200 freestyle relay of Taylor, Turn, Tommy Hall and Ricky Hall were also second in 2:26.72.

Girls’ swimming

Palmer 45, Turners Falls 37 — Olivia Whittier and Jade Tyler won two individual events each, but Palmer completed the sweep of Turners Falls with a tight 45-37 win in Constitution girls’ swimming action Friday.

Whittier was a double-winner in the 50 freestyle (28.87) and 100 breaststroke (1:18.57), while Tyler won both the 200 individual medley (2:34.47) and 100 backstroke (1:13.06).

The duo teamed with Catie Reynolds and Allison Wheeler to capture first place in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 5:16.98.

Wheeler was the runner-up in the 100 freestyle (1:11.43), while Abigail Johnson took second in the 500 freestyle (8:28.15).

Wheeler, Whittier, Tyler and Jordan Muniz were second in the 200 medley relay (2:20.02), while Reynolds, Muniz, Johnson and Lillian Poirier were the runners-up in the 200 freestyle relay (2:29.02). 

The Powertown returns to the pool Thursday for an away meet at Holyoke High School.