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Elizabeth Whitney powers Easthampton past Frontier

  • Elizabeth Whitney of Easthampton, left, absorbs a foul from Jordyn Roberts of Frontier, background, beside Camilla Baronas Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Elizabeth Whitney of Easthampton, left, absorbs a foul from Jordyn Roberts of Frontier, background, beside Camilla Baronas Thursday in Easthampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Olivia Riordan of Frontier, left, shoots against Rachel Connell of Easthampton Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Olivia Riordan of Frontier, left, shoots against Rachel Connell of Easthampton Thursday in Easthampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Courtney Nelson-Denucce of Easthampton, left, grabs a rebound against Jordyn Roberts of Frontier Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Courtney Nelson-Denucce of Easthampton, left, grabs a rebound against Jordyn Roberts of Frontier Thursday in Easthampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Amando Calvo of Frontier, left, and Kelly Avard of Easthampton try to win a rebound Thursday in Easthampton. Elizabeth Whitney of Easthampton looks on.JERREY ROBERTS

    Amando Calvo of Frontier, left, and Kelly Avard of Easthampton try to win a rebound Thursday in Easthampton. Elizabeth Whitney of Easthampton looks on.JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Amanda Calvo of Frontier, top, shoots against Elizabeth Whitney of Easthampton Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Amanda Calvo of Frontier, top, shoots against Elizabeth Whitney of Easthampton Thursday in Easthampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Courtney Nelson-Denucce of Easthampton, left, and Mindy Esposito of Frontier go after a loose ball Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Courtney Nelson-Denucce of Easthampton, left, and Mindy Esposito of Frontier go after a loose ball Thursday in Easthampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Kelly Avard of Easthampton, left, grabs a rebound beside Camilla Baronas of Frontier Thursday in Easthampton.JERREY ROBERTS

    Kelly Avard of Easthampton, left, grabs a rebound beside Camilla Baronas of Frontier Thursday in Easthampton.JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ali Dabek of Easthampton, right, looks for a shot while defended by Amanda Calvo of Frontier Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Ali Dabek of Easthampton, right, looks for a shot while defended by Amanda Calvo of Frontier Thursday in Easthampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Olivia Riordan of Frontier, right, holds onto a rebound beside Courtney Nelson-Denucce of Easthampton Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Olivia Riordan of Frontier, right, holds onto a rebound beside Courtney Nelson-Denucce of Easthampton Thursday in Easthampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ashley Sharp of Easthampton, right, shoots against Olivia Riordan of Frontier Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Ashley Sharp of Easthampton, right, shoots against Olivia Riordan of Frontier Thursday in Easthampton.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Elizabeth Whitney of Easthampton, left, absorbs a foul from Jordyn Roberts of Frontier, background, beside Camilla Baronas Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Olivia Riordan of Frontier, left, shoots against Rachel Connell of Easthampton Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Courtney Nelson-Denucce of Easthampton, left, grabs a rebound against Jordyn Roberts of Frontier Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Amando Calvo of Frontier, left, and Kelly Avard of Easthampton try to win a rebound Thursday in Easthampton. Elizabeth Whitney of Easthampton looks on.JERREY ROBERTS
  • Amanda Calvo of Frontier, top, shoots against Elizabeth Whitney of Easthampton Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Courtney Nelson-Denucce of Easthampton, left, and Mindy Esposito of Frontier go after a loose ball Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Kelly Avard of Easthampton, left, grabs a rebound beside Camilla Baronas of Frontier Thursday in Easthampton.JERREY ROBERTS
  • Ali Dabek of Easthampton, right, looks for a shot while defended by Amanda Calvo of Frontier Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Olivia Riordan of Frontier, right, holds onto a rebound beside Courtney Nelson-Denucce of Easthampton Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Ashley Sharp of Easthampton, right, shoots against Olivia Riordan of Frontier Thursday in Easthampton.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

EASTHAMPTON — For the second time this season, Elizabeth Whitney ran into foul trouble against Frontier Regional on Thursday night.

But this time, the Easthampton girls basketball senior center had enough time to put her team firmly in control before being forced to the bench.

Whitney scored a season-high 30 points to go with 14 rebounds in a 60-43 win over the Red Hawks. Whitney, who played less than half of the teams’ first matchup, went to the bench with four fouls with her team ahead by 14 with 6 minutes, 13 seconds left in the game.

“I had none in the first half, so that really saved us. (The foul trouble) came late in the fourth, so we had a good lead,” said Whitney, who had 25 points at the time. “I was worried a couple of times (when I was on the bench) when there were a couple of turnovers, but I was confident that (my teammates) could keep it in control until I got back in there.”

Whitney returned with 4:23 left and her team ahead 47-39, and the Eagles immediately pushed the lead back to double digits.

“She’s an incredibly tough matchup for us, and their team is a tough matchup,” said Frontier coach Frank Keimig, whose team scored the first nine points of the game before Easthampton took over. “We came out strong and then (Easthampton coach) Jay (Fortier) got into his game. I marvel watching them because their game is very simple, but it’s very effective. They worked everything through her. It’s really impressive to watch.”

In the first matchup on Dec. 28, the Eagles won 36-31 despite not scoring in the entire third quarter while Whitney sat on the bench. She entered the game in the fourth and scored the final 10 points to finish with 23.

From that performance, “we knew we had a weapon that they couldn’t match up with,” Fortier said.

The victory put the Eagles (13-3, 12-3 Franklin South) in prime position to win their second straight league title. They are now two games ahead of Frontier (8-7, 7-5) and Hopkins Academy (8-7, 8-5) in the loss column. Easthampton and Hopkins shared the title last year.

“Who would have thought four years ago we would be in this position,” Fortier said of his first season on the Eagles’ sidelines. “I was picking kids out of gym class to play basketball. Four years ago, we had 13 kids try out for basketball. I had to get seventh- and eighth-graders and literally coming into gym class to talk to kids.”

Thursday’s loss was the most lopsided of the season for a Frontier team that has played everyone tough. The Red Hawks entered the game having fallen in their six prior losses by an average of 8.0 points and were coming off their best win of the season — a 42-39 defeat of Hopkins that has those teams neck and neck for second in the league. Even Thursday’s game was just a 10-point deficit with 1:11 left before Frontier started fouling and the Eagles started knocking down free throws.

“I think Frank has done as good a job as anybody anywhere with that team,” Fortier said. “That team is playing great, but they don’t match up well with us. They match up with Hopkins and they played a great game against them.”

Frontier took control with nine straight points to open the game, but Easthampton answered with a 10-3 run to close the first quarter and took the lead at 23-21 on a Kristen Windoloski 3-pointer. The Eagles never trailed again.

“I think that big run in the second quarter, which started at the end of the first, was huge,” Whitney said. “Once that happened, I felt pretty confident about (the outcome).”

Kelly Avard added 13 points in the win, while Windoloski had eight. Amanda Calvo led Frontier with 19 points, while Jordan Rowe added 11.

Frontier will now turn its attention to qualifying for the postseason.

“I think we are in a good place,” said Keimig, whose team has won five of its last seven games. “I think we are playing some of our best ball. But I do think we are making too many mental mistakes for kids who have had some experience. Overall, I’m happy with where we are at.”

Jim Pignatiello can be reached at jpignatiello@gazettenet.com.

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