Division 3 boys basketball: Frontier Regional rally falls short in quarterfinal loss to Monument Mountain

  • Frontier’s Donovan Hoffman, left, drives to the hoop past Monument Mountain’s Kieran Santos in the third quarter Friday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Gabe Jones-Thomson goes up for a shot contested by Monument Mountain defenders Dion Brown and Zach Goffin in the fourth quarter Friday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier fans cheer against Monument Mountain on Friday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Gabe Jones-Thomson puts in a layup against Monument Mountain in the fourth quarter Friday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Iain Spearance, right, puts up a shot defended by Monument’s Caden Gidarakos in the fourth quarter Friday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Donovan Hoffman drives to the hoop to score against Monument Mountain in the fourth quarter Friday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Donovan Hoffman puts in a layup against Monument Mountain in the fourth quarter Friday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Owen Walkowicz dives for a loose ball past Monument Mountain’s Dion Brown in the third quarter Friday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Peter Carey winds back to dunk against Monument Mountain in the second quarter Friday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Peter Carey puts in a reverse layup against Monument Mountain in the second quarter Friday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Gabe Jones-Thomson puts in a shot against Monument Mountain in the third quarter Friday night at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 2/28/2020 10:42:50 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — The Frontier Regional boys basketball team could have gone away on Friday night.

The third-seeded Red Hawks faced a huge deficit at the end of the third quarter against No. 6 Monument Mountain in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 quarterfinals at Goodnow Gymnasium.

A miraculous comeback attempt came up short for the Red Hawks, as the Spartans held on, 67-59, to advance to the Curry Hicks Cage.

“They showed a lot of heart,” Frontier coach Ben Barshefsky said of his team. “They brought an intensity and a never-quit desire. It was legendary.”

The Spartans went on a 23-0 run in the third quarter, and led 55-29 at the end of the frame. But the Red Hawks began chipping away with aggressive defense and more assertive offense.

Frontier went on a 13-0 run to start the fourth quarter and ignite the student section.

Gabe Jones-Thomson was a catalyst during the comeback, scoring 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter.

A 3-pointer by Gabe Gochinski cut the lead to 64-59 with 32 seconds left.

But Monument did enough to hold on. The Spartans got a free throw from Dion Brown, and a layup by Connor Hanavan to close out the Red Hawks.

Brown was a terror for the Red Hawks whether it was from deep, mid-range, at the basket or the free-throw line.

“It all starts with (Dion) Brown,” Barshefsky said. “He requires so much focus. On top of that, they have other guys that can knock down shots.”

Brown scored 27 points for the Spartans, hitting four 3-pointers and connecting on 7-for-10 from the line.

The Spartans used their defense to fuel their potent offense, which went on two separate double-digit runs.

“Intensity on defense,” Brown said. “We are a fast, small team. We ran the floor the best we could. We knew if we kept our pressure up and our speed up we could run them out.”

After playing a little fast, the Spartans changed the pace with the lead.

“We slowed things down,” Brown said. “They were obviously coming back from a large deficit. Things weren’t going well for us so we knew time was our friend. We slowed it down an wasted the clock. It worked out.”

The Red Hawks outscored the Spartans 30-12 in the fourth quarter.

Point guard Iain Spearance’s ball pressure helped create some turnovers for the Red Hawks in the fourth.

Spearance and Sean Richter (seven points) both scored four points in the fourth. Donovan Hoffman scored 12 points, including a steal and a layup that cut the Monument lead to 55-38.

“We stopped playing defense,” Monument Mountain coach Randy Koldys said. “Haven’t been in that position before. But they rose to the occasion. We will take it. Survive and advance is all there is to it.”

Monument will play No. 2 Sabis International on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Curry Hicks Cage.

The Spartans had a sizable road crowd, which went crazy during the team’s 23-0 run.

“We got in passing lanes and defended really hard,” Koldys said. “We thought if we put some defensive pressure on their guards we could get some turnovers.”

Hanavan (13 points) and Caden Gidarakus (14 points) were both in double figures for the Spartans.

Peter Carey scored eight points for the Red Hawks, and left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury.

Carey returned in the fourth quarter after getting taped up.

Seniors Gochinski, Hoffman, Brett Robinson, Richter, Jones-Thomson, Collin Boudreau and Owen Walkowicz played their final game for the Red Hawks.

“I have known all of them since their early elementary school careers,” Barshefsky said. “They have grown into wonderful young men and I wish them the best of luck.”


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