Schools: Frontier breaks Mahar hex

Recorder Staff
Thursday, February 01, 2018

Frontier Regional School coach Ben Barshefsky knew his team’s trip to Orange was not going to be easy.

It had been six years since the Red Hawks had departed Grzesik-Bixby Gymnasium with a win over Mahar Regional School, but Carsten Carey scored a game-high 16 points and the Frontier defense turned in a commendable effort as Frontier earned a season-sweep over the Senators with a 44-42 victory.

“Going into the game, we knew it was going to be an absolute grind on both ends of the floor,” Frontier coach Ben Barshefsky said. “Mahar does an extremely good job at taking away the opposing team’s top offensive option. Carsten finished with a game-high 16 points, but every single one of those was hard-earned.”

Frontier (9-6 overall) led 28-24 at halftime but Mahar (10-4) came back and took a lead in the fourth quarter. The Senators pushed the lead to four but were unable to pull away. The Red Hawks dug in on defense and held the Senators down throughout much of the final frame, allowing Frontier to come back and take the lead late.

“It’s been our Achilles heel all year,” Mahar coach Chad Softic said. “We had two stretches tonight where we didn’t score. We went on a run early in the fourth and looked like we might pull away, but then we had a long drought where we didn’t score.”

Softic was disappointed that his team’s defense held Frontier to just 16 points in the second half but was unable to pull out the victory.

“Our defense played well,” he said. “We finished 16-for-56 from the field and 5-for-11 from the foul line. You aren’t going to win any games like that.”

Carey led the way with 16 points for Frontier, while Kalen Evans added 12. Ben Litskowski added 7. Frontier will try to clinch a postseason berth tonight when it travels to Palmer High School.

Sam Paul scored 12 points for Mahar, while Deven Patch and Charlie Barnes each had 7.

Mahar hosts Mohawk Trail Regional High School tonight at 7.

Pioneer 62, Smith Academy 51 — After allowing six 3-pointers in the first half, Pioneer Valley Regional School hit the reset button during its time in the locker room. The result was a much better defensive effort after intermission, as the host Panthers held Smith Academy to just 19 points in the second half to capture a 62-51 victory in an independent boys’ basketball game Thursday at Messer Gymnasium in Northfield.

Smith Academy (5-10) used the 3-point shot to take a 32-31 lead at intermission. That prompted Pioneer head coach Scott Thayer to urge his squad to use their heads when defending in the second half.

“It’s all a mentality,” Thayer explained. “Our awareness was just way better in the second half. We got better with our mental approaches and that makes such a difference in a game like this.”

The Panthers snatched control with a 17-9 advantage in the third quarter, and pulled away for the double-digit final with a 14-10 edge in the fourth.

Brendan Emond led the way with 22 points for the Panthers (10-4), which qualified for the WMass Tournament with the victory. Troy Emond added 12 points and Jordan Loughman tossed in 11.

“You never take for granted qualifying the right way with winning 50-percent of your games,” said Thayer. “Now it’s our job the last six games to get as good as we can get and win as many as we can and see where we’re seeded from there.”

Pioneer has a big test Monday night, as it returns to Hampshire League South action to play on the road at Hopkins Academy.

Hopkins 57, Greenfield 45 — Hopkins Academy hit six 3-pointers in a 26-point second quarter, topped off by a long-range 3 from Jon Morrison at the halftime buzzer, and the host Golden Hawks held on for a 57-45 victory over Greenfield High School in an independent boys’ basketball game Thursday in Hadley.

Trailing 35-11 at halftime, the Green Wave (3-11) didn’t go away easily in the second half. Buoyed by a better defensive effort, the visitors outscored Hopkins by a 34-22 margin after intermission to make things competitive.

“The biggest thing was we played defense as a team in the second half,” Greenfield head coach Tim Caplice offered. “We discussed where the shooters were going to be, and communicated much better. The problem was we didn’t do a good enough job of that in the second quarter.”

Morrison led all scorers with 19 points, while John Earle added 14 for Hopkins (14-1). The Hawks finished the night with nine 3-pointers.

Colin Cloutier’s 15 points were tops for the Wave, while Hunter Campbell (9 points) and Nate Haselton (8) also aided the cause.

“We did a better job handling their pressure in the second half,” Caplice said. “And we got the ball inside and attacked the rim. In the first half, we settled a lot for outside shots.”

Greenfield hosts Smith Academy on Monday.

Turners Falls 80, Athol 56 — Ten different players scored points and Turners Falls High School registered 24 assists on 31 made baskets in a convincing 80-56 win over Athol High School Thursday night during the nightcap of the Coaches vs. Cancer event in Turners Falls.

Anthony Peterson led the way with 25 points and 13 rebounds, and the sophomore added three blocks in a strong all-around performance for the Powertown (6-10). Chace Novak had 14 points and Jimmy Vaughn added 12, while Kyle Kucenski had his best outing of the season with 7 points and 12 rebounds.

“The kids shared the ball really well tonight,” lauded Turners assistant coach Jay Liimatainen.

The Powertown stormed out to a 48-34 halftime lead and limited Athol (2-12) to 22 second-half points.

Mark Ferrari was the high-scorer for the Red Raiders. Noah Pottinger and Evan Saisa had 9 points each, while Maysin Tarbell added 7.

FC Tech 76, St. Mary’s 54 — Seth Aldrich scored a career-high 21 points to lead the new-look Franklin County Technical School boys’ basketball team to a 76-54 victory over St. Mary’s High School in boys’ hoop action Thursday night in Turners Falls.

The Eagles recently had three players leave the team, and were also playing without point guard Joel Farrick.

That did not slow down the Franklin Tech offense, which not only featured Aldrich hitting blackjack, but also saw Garrett Cole score 15 points, and Jared Bergmann add 14. Cole Littlewood netted 9 points, and Sim Maniatty chipped in 8.

Jacob Butler had 29 points in the loss.

Girls’ hoop

Turners Falls 56, Athol 46 — Chloe Ellis continued her stellar recent run of play, scoring 15 points and pulling down 12 rebounds, and host Turners Falls High School survived a lackluster fourth quarter to collect a 56-46 win over Athol High School in an independent girls’ basketball game Thursday night in Turners Falls.

Ellis was 9-for-12 from the free-throw line and added three assists and two steals for Turners, which moved within one victory of postseason qualification. The Powertown (9-5) hosts Smith Academy tonight.

Turners jumped out to a 15-5 lead after one quarter and a 31-15 advantage at halftime. The lead was 18 points going into the fourth quarter, but Athol (2-11) closed the gap late and got within nine points before the hosts shut the door.

“We came out strong and started the game pretty well, I thought,” Turners coach Ted Wilcox said. “I think we thought the game was over in the second half and let down a bit which is never a good idea.”

Maddy Chmyzinski joined Ellis in double figures with 11 points, while Aliyah Sanders added 8 points and Dabney Rollins tossed in 6.

Athol received a huge performance from Destiny Wrigley, who led all scorers with 25 points. Wrigley drained four 3-pointers en route to the high total. Haley Bigwood contributed 11 points in the win.


It was a good day for area girls’ skiing programs.

Frontier’s Corriann Delaney took top-spot honors in the giant slalom, and Mohawk captured the top team spot during the PVIAC Meet 6 race Thursday evening at Berkshire East in Charlemont.

Delaney raced down the mountain in 25.18 seconds to place first overall. She was followed by Mohawk’s Ashley LaCross, who finished in second place in 25.40, to lead a strong contingent of Warrior finishers. LaCross continued her strong season by finishing inside the top five skiers in every meet. Mohawk wound up with four skiers in the top 10 and another in the top 20 to help the Warriors once again win the team title on the day as they have swept every meet this season.

Mohawk’s Taylor Loomis finished fifth in 25.77, and Erin Laffond was sixth in 26.10. Lizzie Herzig was ninth in 27.16, and Amalie Rowehl was 18th in 28.62. Areia Heilman was 26th in 29.80, and Sarah Herzig was 31st in 31.57.

Anna Zera took 14th in 28.51, and Maddie Raymond was 27th in 30.86.

• On the boys’ side, Mohawk’s Dan White was the top local finisher in the slalom with a seventh-place time of 36.04.

Bennet Boucias was 13th overall in 38.90 for Mohawk, and James Harrison was 25th in 43.96. Frontier’s Ben Martino led his team with a 27th place finish in 44.86, which was good enough for 10th in the South Division.