Freshman Pottinger coming up big for Athol

  • Athol’s Noah Pottinger (15) goes up for the basket over a Mohawk Trail Regional player. Pottinger has progressed nicely since joining the varsity basketball team, scoring 41 points in his previous six games after being called up to varsity. Athol Daily News/Mike Phillips

Thursday, February 15, 2018

ATHOL — Since being called up on Jan. 22 to play full-time on the Athol Red Raiders’ varsity boys’ basketball team, freshman Noah Pottinger has made the most of his offensive opportunities, scoring 41 points in the past six games.

He scored a career-high 12 points against the Mahar Senators on Monday night, giving him 48 points on the season.

“The kid can shoot,” said Athol coach Dan Bevis. “The kid plays hard. He’s getting better. Obviously we saw some things out of him early in the season to warrant that call-up and when he plays like that against a very good team like that, it justifies him being here.”

Since Pottinger’s call-up, he ranks third in scoring on the team, tied with Brymere Edwards with 41 since Jan. 22. He’s found success from all parts of the offensive court, netting 10 baskets from beyond the arc, seven points from within the paint and four free throws.

The Red Raiders have scored 742 points this season and are on pace to score the most points the team has recorded in the last three seasons. The Red Raiders have also netted 99 3-pointers this season and Pottinger’s ability to stretch the floor bodes well for a Red Raider team that has primarily scored from beyond the arc this season.

And defensively, at 6 feet tall, Pottinger could help the defensive efforts of picking up man-to-man defense. When paired with 6-foot-3 forward Mark Ferrari, the combo gives the Red Raiders two players over 6 feet for years to come on a team that lacks size in the interior paint.

“We’ve primarily been a zone team this year and moving forward, we’re going to try and improve our man-to-man defense,” said Bevis about development of Pottinger and the team moving forward. “I think it’s something that, in order to be successful in the future years, we have to be able to play man, so I think that’s what we’re going to focus on in the next week or so.”

Pottinger still has room to improve defensively. He has the potential to rebound well due to his height and reach. It becomes about the ability to progress and not becoming satisfied with his game, according to Bevis.

“He’s only a freshman,” said Bevis. “He does make mistakes at times, but I think we’ve seen him grow and develop throughout the course of the season and I think he’s getting better and he has to continue to get better and not be comfortable with where he’s at.”

The Red Raiders are 2-15 on the year, an improvement on their 1-19 season a year ago. However, they have lost five in a row and have yet to take advantage of any team outside of Mohawk Trail Regional High School, which is 1-16 on the year and 0-7 within the Hampshire North conference. Athol defeated Mohawk twice — 51-31 on Jan. 9 and 51-36 on Jan. 26.

Athol has three games left this season and will face the 11-7 Frontier Red Hawks on the road tonight at 7:30 They will finish their season with two home games, first against the 3-10 Lee High School Wildcats on Friday and then against the 6-12 Greenfield Green Wave on Monday night. The Green Wave defeated Athol, 64-55, on Jan. 16.

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