Raiders Fall Short Against Greenfield

Raiders Fall Short Against Greenfield

Raiders Fall Short Against Greenfield

Games are won and lost down the stretch. For an inexperienced Athol High School boys’ basketball team, that was a problem.Greenfield High School broke open a 45-45 tie by outscoring Athol 16-5 over the final four minutes en route to a 61-50 Hampshire League victory, Friday night, in a game played at Franklin County Technical School. “We were right there and we have to figure out a way to get it done,” said Athol head coach Jason Donovan. Zack Dodge’s hoop with 4:27 to play tied the game at 45. Greenfield’s Kevin Mendez answered with a runner across the lane with 4:05 to play and the Wave never looked back. The Raiders were undone by costly turnovers and ice cold shooting over the final four minutes.

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to pull ourselves together and hang around any longer,” said Donovan. Athol had been fairly hot on the night up until those final four minutes. After making just 2-of-14 attempts in the first quarter, the Raiders had made 17-of-33 shots over the next 20 minutes before missing their final seven attempts of the game. “We got shots we wanted to take, but in the end we weren’t able to do it,” said Donovan. “We needed more than we had and we couldn’t get over that hump.”

Senior forward Erik Aikey led the Raiders with 16 points and 10 rebounds as he helped keep Athol (1-4) in the contest. “Erik’s fighting to keep us in games and doing what he can in the paint,” said Donovan. “He logged a lot of minutes and he was able to battle all night.” Athol chucked up eight three-pointers in the first quarter, hitting just two of them. The result was a 10-7 Greenfield lead after one.

An old-fashioned three-point play by Aikey with 4:20 left in the second quarter gave the Raiders a 13-12 lead and forced Greenfield to burn a timeout. The Wave answered with a 10-0 run to take a 22-13 lead with three minutes left in the half. Athol answered Greenfield’s run with a 7-0 run to close the half. A bankshot three-pointer from Dylan Gray with eight seconds left in the half cut the deficit to 22-20 at the break.

Greenfield slowly pulled their lead out to eight, 34-26, midway through the third. Dodge answered with a trifecta and he added another with 1:30 to play to make it a 37-34 Wave lead. After Greenfield pushed their lead back to four, 39-35, Dodge made a runner to send the Raiders into the fourth trailing by just two, 39-37.

Athol trailed 43-39 early in the fourth when Dodge and Aikey netted back-to-back hoops to tie the game at 43. Connor Joy answered for Greenfield and Dodge came right back before the Raiders went ice cold over the final four minutes. Dodge backed Aikey up with 12 points. Mark Brighenti tacked on seven points, five rebounds and three assists. Gray had five points and four assists. Tyler Lajoie chipped in four points and seven rebounds.