Boys basketball: Pioneer bounces back, hands Duggan 1st loss of the season 51-45

Pioneer’s Alex McClelland looks to shoot against Greenfield earlier this season.

Pioneer’s Alex McClelland looks to shoot against Greenfield earlier this season. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Reports

Published: 02-02-2024 9:45 PM

After back-to-back league losses, the Pioneer boys basketball team was in need of a big win Friday night. With undefeated Duggan Academy in town, the Panthers found a way to get their season back on track.

It was a balanced scoring effort as the Panthers handed the Jayhawks their first loss of the season, 51-45, at Messer Gymnasium in Northfield.

“We needed to prove to ourselves that we could beat a good team,” Pioneer head coach Scott Thayer said.

Pioneer, which was ranked No. 4 in the most recent Division 5 Power Rankings, improved to 10-4 overall. Duggan, which was No. 8 in Friday’s rankings, dropped to 14-1.

Pioneer struggled offensively in the second quarter, scoring just six points to fall into a 24-17 halftime deficit.

The hosts regained the lead 37-36 entering the fourth quarter, and used a big 3-pointer from Hugh Cyhowski with 4:35 remaining to take a 44-41 lead.

Josh Wood helped seal the deal late, as his layup with 1:02 left made it a two-possession game. The Panthers held firm defensively, and picked up win No. 10 in the process.

“We showed some grit and resiliency in the second half,” Thayer said.

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Pioneer’s Brayden Thayer scored a team-high 15 points to go with five assists and four rebounds. Alex McClelland drilled a trio of 3-pointers and finished with 12 points, while Cyhowski put together an impressive double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds. Down low, Wood pulled down a season-high nine rebounds to go with an 11-point outing.

Pioneer now takes to the road for a trio of Hampshire League South games next week. That stretch begins with Hopkins Academy on Tuesday in Hadley.

Greenfield 59, South Hadley 57 – The Green Wave picked up a huge road victory on Friday night.

In a battle of top 16 teams in Division 4, Greenfield held on for a 59-57 independent victory in South Hadley.

The Wave, ranked No. 14 in the most recent Div. 4 Power Rankings, improved to 10-4 with the win. South Hadley, No. 12 in the rankings, dropped to 8-6. Additional details weren’t available at print deadline.

Frontier 71, Hampshire 45 – A dominant fourth quarter powered the Redhawks to a convincing victory on Friday night.

Frontier outscored the visiting Raiders 27-12 in the fourth quarter, pulling away for a 71-45 independent win at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield.

Frontier (7-6) led just 27-25 at halftime but stretched the advantage to 44-34 after three quarters.

Late Thursday results

Girls basketball

Greenfield 64, Hopkins  20 — It was the Amber Bergero n show, as the senior dropped a season-high 40 points as the Green Wave cruised above the .500 mark on the season with a lopsided Franklin County League North win on Thursday night.

Greenfield improved to 7-6 overall with the victory. 

Carly Blanchard finished with 12 points while Anna Buca la and Tayler  Bergeron each had five points for the Green Wave.