‘We can beat anyone’

  • OFFENSIVE CAPABILITY — Mahar’s Quinn Gervais (22) goes up with the ball while Sam Paul (13) looks on. The Senators will need to rely on their seven seniors and offensive capabilities when it comes to the Western Mass. Division III playoffs. Athol Daily News/Mike Phillips

Athol Daily News
Friday, February 23, 2018

ORANGE — In basketball, there are countless amounts of numbers and statistics a team can use to create an advantage. It can scout and game plan without end, but yet, the game can be broken down so simply as well. Give a full 32-minutes and a team can win any given game.

For the Mahar Senators and their Western Massachusetts Division III playoff endeavors, it is just as simple as that. Give a full effort every night and the team can defeat anyone, according to coach Chad Softic.

“When we play 32 minutes of basketball with some urgency and some passion, we can beat anyone,” said Softic. “It’s as simple as that. Guys have to pay attention to details. We’re sitting there defending people we shouldn’t have been (against Hopkins Academy) and it hurt us. You’ve got to pay attention to what coach Softic says and those little things will come back to bite you. There’s a reason why we scout. There’s a reason why we have game plans and if you ignore them, it just makes it that much tougher.”

The Senators had a mix bag of performances against playoff teams, losing to Frontier Regional twice and Southwick High School, but defeated both Easthampton and Pioneer Valley Regional, two teams that earned a playoff bid. They defeated Belchertown High School as well, which has had success this season.

In essence, Division III is wide-open for anything to happen.

“It’s nice there is no team you can’t beat,” said Softic. “There’s no beast out there that can’t be tamed. That’s the cool thing. We have to play really well though. If we don’t play well, we’re not going to do anything.”

The Senators are expecting anywhere from a sixth seed to a ninth seed, but Softic doesn’t believe seeding will impact the team heavily.

“It’s going to be interesting,” said Softic. “Like I told the guys, we can beat anyone, so seeding this year isn’t — it’s important, but it’s not the end all.”

The Senators will have to put things in the hands of seven seniors in Ryan Donaldson, Quinn Gervais, Matt Jenks, Treyton Pasakinskas, Sam Paul and Jack Temple. Paul and Mailloux will need to provide the heavy lifting, as they have all year, with Paul contributing 258 points and Mailloux 191, the top two scorers on the team. The combo possess the ability to take over a game, offensively and defensively, but as Softic mentioned, it will take a full 32 minutes of harnessing that ability, taking the right shots without forcing anything and keying in on the defensive end.

“We go as we shoot,” said Softic. “We’ve got to make shots. We have these funks where it just drains the life right out of us and we start pressing, much like the Southwick (playoff) game last year. We all start pressing and you know, but when shots go in, everyone feels good and everyone looks good, coaches smarter, it’s just the way it is.”

Both the Mahar boys and girls teams earned playoff bids and will await their seeding, which will be announced Saturday at noon at Springfield Central.

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