Red Raiders end season with 81-27 loss to Greenfield

  • Athol’s Haley Bigwood takes the ball to the hoop during Tuesday night’s game against the Greenfield Green Wave in Greenfield. Athol Daily News/Mike Phillips

  • Athol’s Destiny Wrigley goes up with the jumper during Tuesday night’s game against host Greenfield. Athol Daily News/Mike Phillips

  • Athol’s Taylor Cleveland gathers in the rebound and goes back up with the ball during the first half of Tuesday night’s game against the Greenfield Green Wave in Greenfield. Athol lost 81-27. Athol Daily News/Mike Phillips

  • Athol’s Destiny Wrigley’s shot is blocked by Greenfield’s Samantha Smith during the first quarter of Tuesday night’s game against the Greenfield Green Wave in Greenfield. Athol Daily News/Mike Phillips

Sports Writer
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

GREENFIELD — Tuesday night sure left a sour taste in the mouths of the Red Raiders that will last until next winter.

Facing one of the top girls basketball teams in western Massachusetts, the Athol Red Raiders trailed from the very first basket and never recovered, losing to the Greenfield Green Wave 81-27 in their final game of the season.

The Red Raiders finished the season with a 3-16 record, losing their final six games of the season.

As the 2017-2018 season comes to a close, Athol coach Kelly Kacmarczyk didn’t seem to want this one to be what everyone remembers.

“I think we’ve played better in the past,” said Kaczmarczyk. “Going forward, I really know the things to work on going into next year and try to improve upon so that this doesn’t happen again. I’m proud of (the team). They didn’t give up, so that’s all I can ask for.”

Greenfield improved to 19-1 with the win and will move on to the Western Mass. Division III playoffs. They were led by Samantha Smith, who had a game-high 18 points — 12 coming in the second half — as well as 14 points from Katie Haselton, 13 points from Kirsten Ward and Elizabeth Howland, and 12 points from Raegan Hickey.

The Red Raiders were led by Taylor Cleveland, who scored 10 points and added seven rebounds. Haley Bigwood contributed nine points and five rebounds as well.

“They did well, that’s why we rewarded them and kept them in until the end of the game,” said Kaczmarczyk. Kaczmarczyk went with the reserves for the majority of the fourth quarter, except for Bigwood and Cleveland. “Haley did an awesome job getting rebounds and putting the ball back up, so hopefully going forward, I have two more years with them and they’re going to show a lot of promise for our team.”

The Green Wave used their height to their advantage, holding Athol to only 21 rebounds and only eight rebounds in the first half.

“A lot of teams we play are taller than us, so that’s when we really have to work on making sure we are boxing out and getting in front of them instead of standing behind them because they are bigger than us,” said Kaczmarczyk. “Those are just little things we have to work on in the future.”

The Green Wave outscored Athol 41-11 in the second half and 18-2 in the fourth quarter. Along with Smith’s 12 points, Haselton scored eight points in the second half, while Ward scored eight points as well. After Cleveland netted a layup with five minutes and eight seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Green Wave scored 15 straight points to end the game.

They outscored Athol 23-9 in the third quarter thanks to an 11-2 run to begin the half where Smith contributed six points during that span. Cleveland ended the run with a pair of free throws with four minutes and 26 seconds left in the quarter.

Greenfield outscored Athol 40-16 by halftime. They ended the first half on a 9-0 run thanks to six straight free throws and a 3-pointer from Jenna Silk. Athol’s largest run of the game came at the start of the second quarter when they scored six straight points, moving things to 25-14, Greenfield advantage.

Athol was outscored 25-8 in the first quarter. They began the game down 8-0 at the mercy of eight straight points from Howland. The two teams traded points until Greenfield held the 14-6 advantage. The Green Wave then went on a 9-0 run to move things to 23-6 with one minute and 26 seconds left in the quarter.

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