H.S. Roundup: Big first half powers Frontier girls basketball past Mahar (PHOTOS)

Mahar’s Nevaeh Scribner, left, is defended by Frontier’s Skyler Steele during the host Redhawks’ victory in South Deerfield on Thursday evening.

Mahar’s Nevaeh Scribner, left, is defended by Frontier’s Skyler Steele during the host Redhawks’ victory in South Deerfield on Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

Mahar’s Dakota Cleveland, left, is defended by Frontier’s Olivia Machon during the Redhawks’ victory in South Deerfield on Thursday evening.

Mahar’s Dakota Cleveland, left, is defended by Frontier’s Olivia Machon during the Redhawks’ victory in South Deerfield on Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Frontier’s Skyler Steele takes the tip off in for a quick layup to start the game against Mahar in South Deerfield Thursday evening.

Frontier’s Skyler Steele takes the tip off in for a quick layup to start the game against Mahar in South Deerfield Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Mahar’s Irati Martinez looks to shoot over Frontier’s Halley Hutkoski in South Deerfield Thursday evening.

Mahar’s Irati Martinez looks to shoot over Frontier’s Halley Hutkoski in South Deerfield Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Frontier’s Halley Hutkoski ducks below the defense of Mahar’s Alivia Patch (35) and Irati Martinez (25) in South Deerfield Thursday evening.

Frontier’s Halley Hutkoski ducks below the defense of Mahar’s Alivia Patch (35) and Irati Martinez (25) in South Deerfield Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Frontier’s Claire Kirkendall is defended by Mahar’s Irati Martinez in South Deerfield Thursday evening.

Frontier’s Claire Kirkendall is defended by Mahar’s Irati Martinez in South Deerfield Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 01-25-2024 9:43 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD – Behind its defense and transition game, the Frontier girls basketball team was able to build a 17-point halftime lead against Mahar on Thursday. 

The Redhawks defense smothered the Senators attack, keeping Mahar off the scoreboard for the opening five minutes of the game and limiting the Sens to just one field goal in the first quarter to take a 16-2 lead after eight minutes. 

While Mahar was able to knock down a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter, the Frontier defense didn’t give them anything easy. All the while the Redhawks were able to rebound the ball, use their speed to create advantageous situations on the break which led to easy layups and Frontier taking a 27-10 lead at the half. 

Mahar fought back in the game in the fourth quarter but the early lead proved too much to overcome, as the Redhawks walked away with a 56-41 Franklin County League North win at Goodnow Gymnasium. 

“We’re watching a lot of film, the coaches are watching film, we’re texting late night and it’s full basketball right now to do everything we can to win games,” Frontier coach Dave Machon said. “I told the girls we want to keep pushing by every team that comes on our floor and keep pushing forward.” 

Machon credited freshman Skyler Steele for the job she did defending Mahar’s leading scorer Nevaeh Scribner, holding her without a point in the game. 

“Skyler did a great job tonight,” Machon said. “We’re hanging our hat on our defense. We work hard at it.” 

It was going to be an uphill battle for Mahar (4-8) going in, as it had played an overtime game against Palmer on Wednesday and had a thrilling win over Easthampton on Monday. 

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Still, the Sens fought back in the fourth quarter, as Irati Martinez scored 13 of her game-high 28 points in the frame. Her fifth basket cut the lead to 50-39 with three minutes to go but Frontier went on a 6-0 run to put the game away. 

“We had a close game against Lenox, the Easthampton game was a drainer and Palmer in overtime last night,” Mahar coach Steve Bonk said. “The girls are tired. Frontier is a phenomenal team. Every team in our league is super tough. We’re finding our way. I think we’re finding our groove at the right time.” 

Steele got Frontier (12-2) going on the right foot, scoring a pair of baskets in transition before knocking down a trey that gave the Redhawks a 9-0 lead. 

Martinez put the Sens on the board with a jumper but Whitney Campbell answered with a bucket for Frontier before Hailey Hutkoski closed the quarter on a personal 5-0 run to give the Redhawks a 16-2 lead after one. 

Martinez and Alivia Patch sank 3s for Mahar in the second quarter but the speed of Frontier gave it easy look at the rim in transition. Olivia Machon knocked down a jump shot, Hutkoski swished a 3 before the Redhawks closed the quarter on a 6-0 run following a Jazzy Hayes free throw, an and-one by Molly Gates and a layup on the break from Campbell to take a 27-10 lead at the break. 

Mahar found its footing offensively in the third quarter, as Martinez scored eight points while Dakota Cleveland and Taylor Paluk knocked down 3’s. While Scribner was held off the scoreboard she found a way to impact the game, finishing with 13 assists. 

“Second half was good,” Bonk said. “The girls moved the ball a lot better. Nevaeh found Irati with some great passes.” 

The Sens couldn’t get a stop defensively, however, as Frontier got in the bonus early and made its free throws. 

Five different Redhawks scored baskets in the third to pull ahead 47-28 after three quarters. 

Steele finished with 12 points, Kirkendall scored 11 points, Hutkoski tossed in 10 points, Hayes and Harper Modestow each had six points while Gates added five points in the win. 

Patch had five points while Cleveland and Paluk both scored three points for Mahar. 

Franklin Tech 42, Pioneer 37 – The Eagles won their eighth game in a row on Thursday, holding off the Panthers to secure at least a share of the Franklin County League South title.

Franklin Tech, which hasn’t lost since a Dec. 19 defeat at Frontier, improved to 12-2 overall, 8-0 in the FCL South.

Pioneer held a 23-21 lead at the half before the Eagles took a 32-30 lead going into the final eight minutes. 

It was Hannah Gilbert who led the charge on offense for Tech, finishing with 24 points. Lea Chapman scored 10 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, Kyra Goodell recorded five points while Kait Trudeau provided two points and seven steals in the win. 

Lenox 54, Greenfield 40 – Despite 22 points from Amber Bergeron, the Green Wave were unable to take down high-powered Lenox on Thursday.

The Millionaires improved to 10-1 overall, while the Wave dropped to 6-5.

Greenfield led 12-11 after one quarter before Lenox rebounded for a 29-24 halftime advantage.

Anna Bucala, Tayler Bergeron and Niya Strohman all scored six points for the Green Wave.

Putnam 45, Mohawk Trail 35 — Rachel Pease scored 16 points for the Warriors in a Franklin County League South loss to Putnam in Springfield on Thursday. 

Mohawk Trail led 17-15 at the half but Putnam outscored it 30-18 in the second half of action. 

Bella Pettengill tossed in six points, Valerie Bzomowski and Riley Giard each scored four points while Natalie Lanoue knocked down a 3 for the Warriors. 

Late Wednesday results

Girls basketball

Palmer 51, Mahar 47 (OT) — Trailing 34-33 going into the fourth quarter, the Sens were able to win the quarter and tie the game at 44 and force overtime. 

The Panther defense smothered Mahar in the overtime period, not allowing the Sens to convert a field goal as Palmer came away with a Franklin County League North win in Palmer on Wednesday. 

Irati Martinez tallied 14 points while Nevaeh Scribner finished with 12 points for the Senators. Alivia Patch finished with eight points, Haylee Paluk scored six points while Taylor Paluk added five points for Mahar.