MIAA Div. 5 girls basketball: No. 16 Mahar needs overtime to knock off No. 17 Lee (PHOTOS)

Mahar’s Taylor Paluk (3) dribbles past Lee defender Mia Puleri during the Senators’ 49-45 overtime victory in the MIAA Division 5 Round of 32  in Orange on Thursday evening.

Mahar’s Taylor Paluk (3) dribbles past Lee defender Mia Puleri during the Senators’ 49-45 overtime victory in the MIAA Division 5 Round of 32 in Orange on Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

Mahar’s Alivia Patch tries to split Lee defenders during the Senators’ 49-45 overtime victory in the MIAA Division 5 Round of 32  in Orange on Thursday evening.

Mahar’s Alivia Patch tries to split Lee defenders during the Senators’ 49-45 overtime victory in the MIAA Division 5 Round of 32 in Orange on Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

Lee’s Ari Noyes, left, and Mahar’s Taylor Paluk wrestle for a loose ball during the Senators’ 49-45 overtime victory in the MIAA Division 5 Round of 32  in Orange on Thursday evening.

Lee’s Ari Noyes, left, and Mahar’s Taylor Paluk wrestle for a loose ball during the Senators’ 49-45 overtime victory in the MIAA Division 5 Round of 32 in Orange on Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

Mahar’s Nevaeh Scribner (3) dribbles past Lee defender Payton Simmons during the Senators’ 49-45 overtime victory in the MIAA Division 5 Round of 32  in Orange on Thursday.

Mahar’s Nevaeh Scribner (3) dribbles past Lee defender Payton Simmons during the Senators’ 49-45 overtime victory in the MIAA Division 5 Round of 32 in Orange on Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

Mahar’s Taylor Paluk sizes up the rim against Lee during the Senators’ 49-45 overtime victory in the MIAA Division 5 Round of 32  in Orange on Thursday evening.

Mahar’s Taylor Paluk sizes up the rim against Lee during the Senators’ 49-45 overtime victory in the MIAA Division 5 Round of 32 in Orange on Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

Mahar’s Irati Martinez splits Lee defenders during the Senators’ 49-45 overtime victory in the MIAA Division 5 Round of 32  in Orange on Thursday evening.

Mahar’s Irati Martinez splits Lee defenders during the Senators’ 49-45 overtime victory in the MIAA Division 5 Round of 32 in Orange on Thursday evening. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL Franz

By THOMAS JOHNSTON

Staff Writer

Published: 02-29-2024 9:17 PM

Modified: 02-29-2024 9:34 PM


ORANGE — The No. 16-17 matchup is always highly anticipated in the Round of 32 in the state tournament.

The Mahar and Lee girls basketball teams didn’t disappoint on Thursday in the MIAA Div. 5 state tourney. 

Kenzie Garrity caught fire in the final minute of action for the No. 17 Wildcats, sinking a 3-pointer with 37 seconds to go, and after the No. 16 Senators made three free throws late, Garrity knocked down another trey with 11 seconds left to send the game to overtime tied at 38. 

Later tied at 45 in the final minute of overtime, Nevaeh Scribner got to the line for Mahar and made both. Lee missed on the other end, Taylor Paluk grabbed the rebound and was fouled with eight second to play. 

Paluk — an eighth grader — stepped up and made both to seal the deal, sending Mahar to the Round of 16 with a 49-45 victory. 

The Sens will travel to No. 1 Hoosac Valley for a Round of 16 game. The contest is set for Monday at a time to be determined. The Hurricanes beat Norfolk Agriculture, 63-13, in the Round of 32. 

“I wasn’t surprised when they came back and tied the game,” Senators coach Steve Bonk said of Lee. “We missed a lot of free throws and left the door open for them. They came well prepared tonight and did their homework. We turned the ball over quite a bit. Lucky we got some key steals in overtime. Overall I’m very happy with the girls. Coming out with a win is huge.” 

After the two teams played just one week ago in a non-playoff game — a contest Mahar won, 46-36 — there weren’t many secrets for either side going into Thursday’s rematch. 

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The game was close the entire way, with it coming down to a few shots at the  end.

“Both teams played well,” Lee coach Rick Puleri said. “There were a lot of big shots both ways. It was one play here or there that was the difference.” 

While both teams tried to throw new wrinkles, the game plan was simple for Mahar: get the ball in the hands of Nevaeh Scribner and Irati Martinez. 

Scribner led the way with 21 points in the win while Martinez added 13 points. 

“We were prepared for them to press us and we handled it well,” Bonk said. “We watched the previous game and pointed out the mistakes we made. We focused on keeping the ball in Irati and Nevaeh’s hands as much as we could because they’re our No. 1 go-to players. I’m happy we held [the] 16 [seed] and got the home game. Playing at home is huge for us.” 

Mahar (10-11) led 30-24 going into the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats (11-10) wouldn’t go away. 

Giana Carlino hit a 3 with four minutes to go that cut the Senators lead to 33-30. 

Mahar made a pair from the line before Garrity sank the 3 with 37 ticks to go. Martinez got fouled and made both before Scribner was fouled and made one of two. 

Garrity hit the 3 and Scribner’s shot at the buzzer didn’t fall, sending the game to OT.

It was all Scribner and Martinez for Mahar in the extra four-minute session. Both scored early baskets to give the Senators the lead, but Carlino swished a 3 that put the Wildcats ahead, 43-42. 

Martinez got to the rim for two and Scribner made one from the line to allow Mahar to regain a 45-43 lead. Mika Diller tied the game with 1:15 to play but Scribner was fouled in the final minute and made both shots before Paluk sealed the win at the charity stripe. 

Lee led 11-9 after one but Scribner took over in the second quarter to give the Sens the lead at the half. The junior scored all 13 of Mahar’s point in the quarter, draining a pair of 3’s late to give the Senators a 22-18 lead at the half.  

“Nevaeh is a player that is driven in the offseason,” Bonk said. “She’s a captain and a leader for this program. A lot of the girls look up to her. When the game is on the line I want the ball in her hands.” 

Following an and-one from Haylee Paluk, a free throw from Taylor Paluk and a bucket from Scribner, Mahar led 30-21 late in the third, but a basket from Mia Puleri and a free throw from Carlino cut the lead to 30-24 going into the fourth. 

Taylor Paluk scored six points, Haylee Paluk recorded five points and 12 rebounds while Thea Whitmore scored three points to go along with 12 rebounds for the Senators. 

Carlino tallied 14 points, Garrity scored 10 points, Diller finished with nine points while Payton Simmons added six points for Lee. 

No. 10 Pioneer 56, No. 23 Hull 37 — The Panthers are into the Round of 16, building a 24-15 halftime lead, hanging onto a 38-30 lead after three quarters before outscoring Hull 18-7 in the fourth to advance with a 56-37 triumph in Northfield. 

Pioneer (16-6) advanced to play No. 7 Maynard, which knocked off No. 39 Collegiate Charter School of Lowell, 70-18, on Thursday. 

Addie Harrington finished with a 16 points, 10 rebound, five assist double-double while Hailey Ring recorded a 16 points, 13 re bound, five assist double-double for the Panthers. 

Kyler McClelland finished with 12 points, Natalie Rios tossed in six points while Leah Potter added four points in the win.