MIAA Div. 4 girls basketball: Frontier routs Lunenburg in state tourney opener (PHOTOS)

Frontier’s Jazzy Hayes (1), right, battles for possession with Lunenburg’s Julia Acampora (3) during the Redhawks’ 59-34 victory in the MIAA Division 4 Round of 32 on Thursday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield.

Frontier’s Jazzy Hayes (1), right, battles for possession with Lunenburg’s Julia Acampora (3) during the Redhawks’ 59-34 victory in the MIAA Division 4 Round of 32 on Thursday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Frontier’s Abby Schreiber (32) goes up for a layup against Lunenburg during the Redhawks’ 59-34 victory in the MIAA Division 4 Round of 32 on Thursday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield.

Frontier’s Abby Schreiber (32) goes up for a layup against Lunenburg during the Redhawks’ 59-34 victory in the MIAA Division 4 Round of 32 on Thursday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Frontier’s Skyler Steele goes to the basket against Lunenburg during the Redhawks’ 59-34 victory in the MIAA Division 4 Round of 32 on Thursday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield.

Frontier’s Skyler Steele goes to the basket against Lunenburg during the Redhawks’ 59-34 victory in the MIAA Division 4 Round of 32 on Thursday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Frontier’s Olivia Machon goes to the basket against Lunenburg during the Redhawks’ 59-34 victory in the MIAA Division 4 Round of 32 on Thursday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield.

Frontier’s Olivia Machon goes to the basket against Lunenburg during the Redhawks’ 59-34 victory in the MIAA Division 4 Round of 32 on Thursday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

Frontier’s Hailey Hutkoski (22) defends Lunenburg’s Ellie Zivojinovic (24) during the Redhawks’ 59-34 victory in the MIAA Division 4 Round of 32 on Thursday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield.

Frontier’s Hailey Hutkoski (22) defends Lunenburg’s Ellie Zivojinovic (24) during the Redhawks’ 59-34 victory in the MIAA Division 4 Round of 32 on Thursday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/JEFF LAJOIE

By GEORGE MILLER

For the Recorder

Published: 02-29-2024 8:42 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — It's got to do a basketball coach's heart a world of good when his team doesn't allow a single basket in the first quarter.

Frontier Regional flexed its typically strong defensive muscles Thursday night, running out to a 20-2 lead after the first eight minutes that provided more than enough cushion in the Redhawks' 59-34 conquest of Lunenburg in the MIAA girls Division 4 Round of 32 at Goodnow Gymnasium.

Eleven players cracked the scoring column for the 11th-seeded Redhawks (17-4), which moved into a Round of 16 game against either No. 6 Cohasset or No. 27 Ayer Shirley. Those two teams play Friday in Cohasset.

Olivia Machon scored 13 points and Hailey Hutkoski added 11 for Frontier, with Skyler Steele scoring seven and Whitney Campbell draining a pair of 3-pointers off the bench.

“We hang our hat on our defense, and it's a huge part of our game prep,” said Frontier coach Dave Machon. “It's a good feeling. The girls respond to that. That's the reward, seeing it work in practice and in games.”

The Redhawks had allowed roughly 35 points per game through their first 20, and stayed true to that number with Thursday's defensive showing.

Lunenburg (8-14), the No. 22 seed in Division 4, trailed 8-2, having made 2-of-4 free throws, before Frontier closed the first quarter on a 12-0 run. Steele got it going with a pair of foul shots, Claire Kirkendall and Molly Gates added baskets, and Campbell and Olivia Machon each sank a three within the final minute as the hosts opened up 20-2.

The Blue Knights hit back quickly off turnovers with their first two baskets by Emma Kibbe and Erin Peplowski in the first minute of the second quarter, but Frontier later stabilized matters and erupted for a 13-0 burst, with five different players scoring during that run, to jump the count from 22-8 to 35-8 with just over a minute to play.

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Peplowski, a key scorer for Lunenburg, left the game with 42 seconds left after an apparent ankle injury and did not return. The Knights managed to put up the final five points of the half to create a 35-13 score at the break.

Frontier then pushed the game into wipeout territory with a 10-0 run, including six points by Hutkoski, to lead 47-15 late in the third, and eventually 50-21 after three.

With a raft of substitutes in for both sides, Lunenburg won the fourth quarter 13-9. Freshman reserve Rowan Reilly (five points) capped off the scoring for the Redhawks with a 3-pointer coming with 33 seconds remaining.

Turnovers bogged down both teams at times, with Frontier guilty of 24 giveaways compared to Lunenburg's 20. 

Kibbe, Chloe Koziol and Katelyn Whitney each scored six points to lead the Blue Knights.

“We're looking forward to the competition. We're excited to play these teams we've never played before,” said Dave Machon. “The girls play their game more, rather than playing into the teams that we know. They're happy and relieved to be through the first round, and on to the next.”