Division 3 boys basketball: Barnes, defense carry Mahar past South Hadley

Staff Writer
Published: 2/25/2020 10:34:02 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — Charlie Barnes extended his role for the Mahar Regional boy basketball team on Tuesday night.

Beyond his usual point guard duties, he played the part of a playoff assassin as Mahar defeated South Hadley, 55-38, in the first round of the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament.

Barnes scored 25 points and did it all for the Senators: defense, scoring in the paint and shooting from deep.

“This was my first playoff win,” Barnes said. “Ever. I came in here knowing that I needed that confidence to help my team win. I did what I had to do. Everyone around me helped me.”

No. 10 Mahar (11-10) advanced to play No. 2 Sabis International (12-8) in the quarterfinals in Springfield on Friday at 7 p.m.

“Tonight looked like an old Mahar win,” Mahar coach Chad Softic said. “Disciplined and nothing fancy. Making them work for everything. We can play with them (Sabis). If we go there and play with confidence and do the things that we do well I have no doubt we will have an opportunity to win in the fourth quarter.”

The Senators hadn’t won a playoff game since 2014 and had to fight until the final games of the regular season to qualify for the postseason.

“We had a lot of tough losses,” Mahar coach Chad Softic said. “I thought the kids were grinding. We were playing desperation ball. It really refocused us.”

Barnes hit four 3-pointers for the Senators, motioning to the home crowd after his first in the opening quarter.

Mahar needed a big third quarter to extend the lead and keep the home crowd quiet, and Barnes delivered.

Barnes scored 10 in the frame, signaling to the Mahar fan section after each bucket.

It was more of the same in the fourth quarter.

A deep 3-pointer from Barnes extended Mahar’s lead to 51-29 with 3 minutes, 38 seconds left in the game.

No. 7 South Hadley (14-7) never could get going offensively against the 2-3 zone of the Senators.

“We couldn’t execute our offense,” South Hadley coach Mike O’Neill said. “That’s all we worked on for two days.”

Foul trouble for 1,000-point scorer Hunter Carey did not help either.

“He’s a leader out there,” O’Neill said of Carey. “He takes the bull by the horn and creates the offense for us. He starts it. ”

Nick Cirone, Carey and Brady Marion played their final game for the South Hadley basketball program.

Carey scored nine points for South Hadley.

“They are a great class,” O’Neill said. “I’ve had them since they were freshmen here. Great players all-around. Helped the team to get to where we were. Helped the freshmen to get where they are.”

The Senators played without Zack Notre, who had a foot injury. Freshman Connor Sluder stepped in and gave the Senators quality minutes on the interior of the zone, adding three points and an emphatic block.

Mahar came out attacking the rim, building a 9-2 lead. Matt Lyesiuk and Barnes hit 3-pointers during the first frame.

South Hadley’s offense started slowly but gained some traction behind the play of point guard Dylan Cottingham, who finished with nine points.

Mahar opened the second quarter on a 7-0 run to extend the lead to 22-10.

A 3-pointer by Kyle Harris ended the run for the Tigers, who followed with an 8-0 run of their own. Carey nailed a 3-pointer to make it 22-18.

Sluder’s jumper from the foul line brought the lead back to 28-18 for the Senators.

A Barnes’ floater and 3-pointer gave Mahar its biggest lead of the game at 34-24 in the third quarter.

Barnes later scored again in the paint upping the lead to 38-24 with four minutes left in the third quarter. Another 3-pointer from Barnes extended the lead to 41-26.

Mahar 55, South Hadley 38

Mahar (11-10)

Barnes 10-1-25, Sanchez 3-2-8, Tenney 1-5-7, Carron 3-1-7, Lyesiuk 2-0-5, Sluder 1-1-3. Totals 20-10-55

South Hadley (14-7)

Carey 2-4-9, Marion 1-1-3, Cirone 0-2-2, Johnson 1-0-3, Robinette 2-0-4, Cottingham 3-3-9, Mathers 2-0-6, Wycowski 1-0-2, Valsquez 0-0-0. Totals 12-10-38

Mahar

15

14

13

13

—55

South Hadley

10

10

9

9

—38

3-Pointers—Mahar 5 (Barnes 4, Lysesiuk), South Hadley 4 (Carey, Johnson, Mathers)


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