MIAA Div. 4 boys basketball: Frontier blows past Madison Park and into Round of 32 (PHOTOS)

Frontier’s Sasha Dragicevich (20) splits a pair of Madison Park Tech defenders during the Redhawks’ 81-46 victory in the MIAA Division 4 preliminary round on Tuesday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield.

Frontier’s Sasha Dragicevich (20) splits a pair of Madison Park Tech defenders during the Redhawks’ 81-46 victory in the MIAA Division 4 preliminary round on Tuesday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Frontier’s Nico Fasulo is fouled by Madison Park Tech’s Devoney DeBaros during the Redhawks’ 81-46 victory in the MIAA Division 4 preliminary round on Tuesday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield.

Frontier’s Nico Fasulo is fouled by Madison Park Tech’s Devoney DeBaros during the Redhawks’ 81-46 victory in the MIAA Division 4 preliminary round on Tuesday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Frontier’s Max Millette tries to get a shot past Madison Park Tech’s Amir Mohamed during the Redhawks’ 81-46 victory in the MIAA Division 4 preliminary round on Tuesday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield.

Frontier’s Max Millette tries to get a shot past Madison Park Tech’s Amir Mohamed during the Redhawks’ 81-46 victory in the MIAA Division 4 preliminary round on Tuesday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Frontier’s Owen Babb is surrounded by Madison Park Tech defenders during the Redhawks’ 81-46 victory in the MIAA Division 4 preliminary round on Tuesday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield.

Frontier’s Owen Babb is surrounded by Madison Park Tech defenders during the Redhawks’ 81-46 victory in the MIAA Division 4 preliminary round on Tuesday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Frontier’s Garrett Dredge (12) rolls around the pick against Madison Park Tech during the Redhawks’ 81-46 victory in the MIAA Division 4 preliminary round on Tuesday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield.

Frontier’s Garrett Dredge (12) rolls around the pick against Madison Park Tech during the Redhawks’ 81-46 victory in the MIAA Division 4 preliminary round on Tuesday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Frontier’s Max Millette goes up for two against Madison Park Tech during the Redhawks’ 81-46 victory in the MIAA Division 4 preliminary round on Tuesday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield.

Frontier’s Max Millette goes up for two against Madison Park Tech during the Redhawks’ 81-46 victory in the MIAA Division 4 preliminary round on Tuesday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 02-27-2024 8:48 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — After going on the road for its lone state tournament game a season ago, the Frontier boys basketball team earned a home game in the preliminary round of the MIAA Div. 4 state tourney on Tuesday, and made sure to send its fans home happy. 

Hosting No. 37 Madison Park in the prelims, the 28th-seeded Redhawks came out swinging in the first quarter by building an 18-5 lead.  

Nico Fasulo had the hot hand for Frontier in the second quarter, scoring 10 of his 14 points to help the Redhawks take a 37-16 lead at the half. Frontier made sure the Cardinals didn’t have a chance for a second half comeback by keeping its foot on the gas in the third quarter, with the Redhawks ultimately advancing to the Round of 32 with an 81-46 triumph at Goodnow Gymnasium. 

Frontier (11-10) will play No. 5 Manchester Essex (19-1) on the road Friday at 6:30 p.m. 

“It’s awesome to win a state tournament game,” Redhawks coach Josh Morse said. “Last year we go on the road and lose a game that we thought we had a chance to win. It feels great to win here and have a home game. Now we’re in the Round of 32 and we’ll try to make some noise and see what happens.” 

It was Max Millette and Sasha Dragicevich who carried the scoring load in the first quarter for Frontier, Millette scoring seven of his team-high 18 points while Dragicevich had five points in the frame. 

Getting out to fast starts is always important, but it becomes particularly crucial during the postseason. 

“We came out hard,” Millette said. “Whenever we do that we usually play well the rest of the game. We really wanted it tonight. We wanted to keep playing and we didn’t want this to end for our seniors. I don’t think they were expecting us to play like that — with our energy and speed — but that’s what we do. We had no idea what [Madison Park would] be like. All we were focused on was our own energy and playing our own game.” 

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With their offense clicking, the Redhawks dialed in on defense to slow down the Madison Park offense. 

With plenty of size to protect the rim, Frontier was able to be aggressive up top and on the wing to create turnovers which led to easy baskets on the other end. 

“The difference tonight was our defensive effort,” Morse said. “We’re good defensively and we’re great in creating pressure and being aggressive. We’re a tall team who can outsize most teams. We worked the ball inside a lot but everything we do is fueled by defense. This game is still about fundamentals. A lot of our points are points in the paint and that’s how we play.” 

Owen Babb and Dragicevich both finished with 13 points, Caiden Manning knocked down three 3-pointers en route to nine points, Rowan Modestow tallied seven points while Luke Howard added five points in the win. 

The Redhawks enter the Round of 32 on a three-game win streak, gaining momentum as the season reaches its most important point.

Frontier is hoping to be peaking at the right time and will head to Manchester-by-the-Sea with the confidence it can get the job done. 

“I think we’re starting to click,” Millette said. “It was a struggle early in the season but we’re finding our groove. Hopefully we can make a run. We’re going to have to come out hard, we’re going to have to be ready and we’re going to have to jump on them early.” 

No. 21 Greenfield 86, No. 44 Bromfield 58 — The Trojans had no answer for Green Wave big man Jon Breor in the opening quarter, as he scored 13 of his game-high 24 points in the frame. 

He wasn’t the only one with a hot hand offensively for Greenfield, which scored 21 points in the first quarter and 20 in the second before exploding for 28 points in the third to run away with an 86-58 victory over Bromfield in the MIAA Div. 4 preliminary round on Tuesday at Nichols Gymnasium. 

The Green Wave (15-6) will next face No. 12 Tyngsborough in the Round of 32. That game will tip off at 5 p.m. in Tyngsborough on Friday. 

Caleb Thomas knocked down four 3s to finish with 23 points, Grayson Thomas scored 10 points, Petru Cojocaru tallied five points while Caleb Murray, Aiden Holliday and Gavin Arsenault each had four points for Greenfield.