Athol down Mahar B

Sports Writer
Published: 6/13/2018 10:15:20 PM

GARDNER — Mahar B controlled play for the entirety of the first half Wednesday, but Athol attacked the basket from underneath during the second half to win 26-21 in summer basketball action.

“At halftime I just told them we need to be a little more aggressive,” said Athol coach Tim Cleveland. “I know it’s summer league, but they’re here to try to work on things and not just be lazy, per se, so just get out there and play. Play and be aggressive like they know how to play and they kind of did that.”

Mahar B consists of players currently in grades 6-8. Athol’s summer squad resembled largely what the varsity team will look like next winter season.

“It would have been great to get the win against the rivaled town,” said Mahar B coach Pat Kaltner. “I love the way our girls are scrapping and fighting for everything.”

Athol went on an 11-3 run in the first eight minutes of the second half to go up 19-14 after starting the half down 11-8. Taylor Cleveland created a majority of Athol’s scoring chances, netting six points during that span.

She began with a basket through traffic to put her team up 13-12 just more than six minutes into the second half. She followed it up with a basket on an inbound pass created on a Mahar B turnover. She then netted two free throws to put her team up by five with 12:01 to play. Taylor Cleveland also had multiple offensive rebounds during that span.

“We’ve got a couple of kids that are going to be juniors, they’re going to play down low,” said Tim Cleveland. “They’re going to be aggressive, they’re going to get rebounds, have some blocks and I thought they did a pretty good job of that.”

Mahar B tried catching up, getting as close as three points on two occasions, but a 3-pointer from Reily Polana ultimately buried Mahar B, putting her team up by six with 5:39 left in the game.

“They’re working and they’re not getting discouraged,” said Kaltner. “They’re happy at the end of the game because they know what this is for.”

Mahar B led 7-4 midway through the first half and started the game on top 3-0. Athol scored its first points five minutes and 52 seconds into the game on a jumper by Taylor Cleveland.

She had a game-high 10 points, while Athol’s Geca Baptista and Emma Bacigalupo added four points each. Mahar B’s Kendra Doane had a team-high nine points, while Ava Liberty added seven points.

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