Schools: Hopkins leaves Mahar in dust, 63-47

  • Mahar’s Brennan Mailloux (11) goes up for a layup in the first half against Hopkins Wednesday in Hadley. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Brennan Mailloux (11) puts in a breakaway layup defended by Hopkin’s Nathan Kelley (14) in the final seconds of the first half Wednesday in Hadley. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Above, Mahar’s Quinn Gervais (22) drives past Hopkins defender Caleb Grave (31) in the second half of the visiting Senators 63-47 Hampshire League South boys’ basketball loss to high-flying Hopkins Academy Wednesday night in Hadley. Below, Mahar’s Matt Jenks (23) fights for possession against Hopkins’ John Earle (13). RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Matt Jenks (23) fights for possession against Hopkins’ John Earle (13) in the second half Wednesday in Hadley. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Sam Paul (13) attempts a 3-pointer in the second half against Hopkins Wednesday in Hadley. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar's Mat Jenks (23) and Hopkins' Jonathan Morrison (25) fight for a rebound in the first half Wednesday night in Hadley. Hopkins won, 63-47. RECORDER STAFF/DAN LITTLE

Recorder Staff
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

It was a tale of two halves in Hadley Wednesday night.

Out of the gates, Mahar Regional School played exactly the type of game required to pull off a huge road victory against three-time defending WMass champion Hopkins Academy. But like they have at times this season, the Senators struggled on the offensive end in the second half. Those problems don’t lend themselves to success against the Golden Hawks, and they turned the tides with a big turnaround after halftime en route to a 63-47 victory in a battle of the top two teams in the Hampshire League South Division.

The visiting Senators (7-3, 3-1) put together a stellar opening 16 minutes, staking themselves to a 31-27 lead at intermission.

The third quarter was a different story, however.

Mahar managed just four points in the period, and the offensive output featured just one field goal in a 12-minute span. Hopkins (8-1, 4-0) outscored the visitors by a 19-4 margin in the third, taking a 47-35 lead into the fourth quarter. All told, the Hawks held a 36-16 advantage in the second half.

“We played a great first half and then the offensive wheels came off, which has been our Achilles heel all year,” Mahar head coach Chad Softic explained. “One field goal in 12 minutes isn’t going to get it done.”

Hopkins senior big man Jon Morrison poured in a game-high 26 points. John Earle added 19 points in the win.

Brennan Mailloux and Sam Paul finished with 11 points apiece for Mahar, while Matt Jenks added 8 points. Deven Patch tossed in 5 points and Jack Temple recorded 4 points.

Mahar looks to regain some momentum Friday night. The Senators return home for a game against Smith Academy at 7 p.m.

Frontier 50, Smith Academy 43 — Despite a fourth-quarter charge from visiting Smith Academy, solid late-game execution enabled Frontier Regional School to continue its impressive win streak Wednesday night.

After the Falcons whittled a 12-point deficit to just two with three minutes remaining, the Red Hawks buckled down defensively and iced the game away at the free-throw line. The result was the team’s sixth consecutive win, as they defeated Smith, 50-43, in a Hampshire League North boys’ basketball game at Goodnow Gymnasium.

“Offensively we did not shoot the ball well tonight,” admitted Frontier head coach Ben Barshefsky. “It was a grind-it-out type game. Shots that we have been knocking down were not falling for us.”

Despite holding a double-digit lead in the second half, Smith Academy’s Carter Woodward (16 points) drained a 3-pointer with just over three minutes remaining to cut the Frontier lead to just 41-39.

Riding a defensive effort that took away the 3-point line, the Red Hawks (6-4, 4-0) responded by not allowing another field goal until the waning seconds of the game. Frontier’s Ben Litskoski (7 points, 8 rebounds) hit a jump shot with two minutes left to push the lead to 43-39, while free throws from Brandyn Robinson (3 points) and Owen Morse (7 points) extended the advantage to 46-39 with 37 seconds to play. The hosts were able to finish the job from there.

The defense, buoyed by several key blocks in the final three minutes, was propelled by Carsten Carey in the middle. The junior center finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds, while registering 7 blocks.

“I thought we did a good job defending the perimeter down the stretch,” said Barshefsky, who pointed to a key block from Robinson late that helped seal the deal.

Kalen Evans finished with 14 points, his second double-digit scoring performance in Frontier’s last three games.

Frontier is back in action Friday night when its hosts Turners Falls High School in an independent contest at 7:30.

Smith Academy fell to 4-5 overall, 2-2 in the HL North.