Mahar girls best Red Raiders

  • Athol’s Taylor Cleveland (21) goes up with the ball over Mahar’s Tori Tenney (4) and Sam Rowe (22) during the matchup between the two schools on Monday night in Athol. ATHOL DAILY NEWS/MIKE PHILLIPS

Sports Writer
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

ATHOL — The Senators are on a roll.

The Mahar girls basketball team notched its fifth consecutive win Monday night, defeating longtime rival Athol, 63-43, and have now been victorious in nine of their past 10 games.

“Obviously it’s a rival forever and it’s always nice to come over here and win and I think this is probably one of the games at Athol that we were able to actually take control and maintain control of the whole game,” said Mahar coach Larry Fisher. “I’m proud, they didn’t really let (Athol) make a run at us and (the) kids played hard.”

The Senators led 29-13 at halftime and 47-27 at the end of the third quarter.

The Senators scored the first basket of the game and never looked back, with leads as large as 14, 20 and 23 points at times.

“We didn’t seem to have a lot of energy in the beginning,” said Athol coach Kelly Kaczmarczyk. “I think toward the second quarter, we started to get a little bit of our kick, but we just couldn’t come back from the deficit created in the first quarter.”

Mahar improved to 12-6 with the win. Athol fell to 3-15 and has now lost three straight, after having won two of their previous three games.

Mahar started the game on an 8-0 run and ended the first quarter with a steal by Delaney Parker as the Red Raiders tried to bring the ball up following an inbound pass. Parker turned it into two points to bring the Senators’ lead to 13-6 by the quarter’s end.

Mahar also outscored Athol 16-7 in the second quarter. Up 13-8, Mailloux netted a pair of free throws to spark an 11-2 run that lasted five minutes and eight seconds and ended with a 3-pointers from Mailloux and a pair of free throws by Bigwood.

For Athol, Haley Bigwood scored a game-high 16 points, while Taylor Cleveland scored 10.

“We were telling them to take it to the hole and they did that,” said Kaczmarczyk of the duo. “Obviously it capitalized for them.”

Hannah Paul led the Senators with 15 points, while Tori Tenney and Jazmyn Vautour contributed 10 points apiece.

After scoring seven points in her previous three games, freshman Micalyn Mailloux contributed 13 on Monday, including a team-high nine by halftime. She was also four for five from the free-throw line.

“She’s got a chance to be a real good player,” said Fisher. “She’s helping us out a lot right now.”

The Senators twice led by 22 in the fourth quarter, going up 53-31 following a layup from Vautour and then back up by 22 thanks to two free throws by Mailloux with three minutes and 16 seconds left. The Red Raiders scored a quarter-best 16 points in the fourth. They went to the free throw line 18 times during that span, sinking 10 of those shots.

“I don’t think we were ever in foul trouble. I mean, you want the time to expire in a game like that, rather than foul,” said Fisher about letting the Red Raiders get to the free-throw line. “It was kind of, somewhat ugly at the end though.”

The Red Raiders have one game left, home against Turners Falls. The Senators have two games remaining on their schedule, one home game against Greenfield High School and an away game against Frontier Regional.

The Senators have clinched a playoff spot by achieving at least 10 wins and are now playing to better their playoff positioning.

“Right now, we’re definitely not going to be in the top five,” said Fisher. “But I think we are in a position, maybe, where we can get a home game first round.”

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