WMass girls basketball: No. 8 Frontier gets past No. 9 Palmer

  • Palmer's Jillian Lombardi (3) and Frontier's Amelia Sobieski (12) chase after a loose ball during the eighth-seeded Red Hawks’ 54-46 victory in the Western Mass. Division 3 first round at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Frontier's Marie Diemand (22) makes a pass against Palmer during the eighth-seeded Red Hawks’ 54-46 victory in the Western Mass. Division 3 first round at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Palmer's Jillian Lombardi (3) and Frontier's Sierra Warren (1) chase after a loose ball during the eighth-seeded Red Hawks’ 54-46 victory in the Western Mass. Division 3 first round at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Frontier's Rebecca Bridwell (21) and Palmer's Saige Youngberg (10) vie for a rebound during the eighth-seeded Red Hawks’ 54-46 victory in the Western Mass. Division 3 first round at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Frontier's Marie Diemand (22) passes up court against Palmer during the eighth-seeded Red Hawks’ 54-46 victory in the Western Mass. Division 3 first round at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Kaitlyn Mackin, right, of Frontier Regional, powers into the paint against Palmer during their Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament first-round game, Monday in South Deerfield. The eighth-seeded Red Hawks won 54-46 at Goodnow Gymnasium on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Frontier's Amelia Sobieski (12) tries to save a loose ball against Palmer during the eighth-seeded Red Hawks’ 54-46 victory in the Western Mass. Division 3 first round at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Frontier and Palmer players vie for a loose ball during the eighth-seeded Red Hawks’ 54-46 victory in the Western Mass. Division 3 first round at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Palmer's Jillian Lombardi (3) tries to dribble around Frontier's Amelia Sobieski (12) during the eighth-seeded Red Hawks’ 54-46 victory in the Western Mass. Division 3 first round at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Frontier's Kaitlyn Mackin (11) and Palmer's Madalyn Theriault (42) chase a loose ball during the eighth-seeded Red Hawks’ 54-46 victory in the Western Mass. Division 3 first round at Goodnow Gymnasium in South Deerfield on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 2/25/2020 12:22:14 AM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Marie Diemand started strong and finished strong for the Frontier Regional girls basketball team, lifting her side to a 54-46 win over Palmer in the first round of the Western Massachusetts Division 3 Tournament on Monday.

Diemand scored 20 points for the Red Hawks, including four 3-pointers in the first half at Goodnow Gymnasium.

“I was just open,” Diemand said. “I wanted to play, take chances and not hold back. I knew this was going to be my last home game.”

The No. 8 Red Hawks (15-6) advance to play top-seeded Wahconah (16-4) in the quarterfinal round on Thursday in Dalton.

The two teams met in the second game of the regular season, when the Warriors handed the Red Hawks a 54-28 loss in South Deerfield.

“We have changed as the season has gone on,” Frontier coach Dave Machon said. “If we can fix all the sloppiness that we had today I will be a lot better about going there (Wahconah). We have come a long way.”

With Frontier protecting a lead late in the fourth quarter, Diemand went 4-for-6 from the free-throw line to help put away the ninth-seeded Panthers.

Frontier avenged a 53-42 regular-season loss to Palmer back on Feb. 5.

“We went over our roles in practice,” Machon said. “We knew our game plan and we stuck to it. We came through.”

Frontier’s Amelia Sobieski had one of her better games of the season with 11 points, 18 rebounds and seven steals.

The Red Hawks had a hard time scoring in the paint in the first half, but the interior opened up in the second half with some adjustments.

“They were really closing in on me,” Sobieski said. “So I just stayed down low more and boxed out. I carved out room for the drive and the kick out.”

Frontier’s overall defense included several different looks, including man-to-man, zone, and a mix of both.

“We were just flying around,” Diemand said of the defense. “Getting on the floor and going for loose balls. Last time we played them, they got more easy looks. This time we buckled down and got more aggressive.”

Defensive specialist Alena Maes-Polan shadowed Palmer star Madalyn Theriault, who scored 21 points for the Panthers during the regular-season matchup.

Theriault finished with 10 points in Monday’s tournament game.

“I just kind of put my shoulders to her shoulders and made sure she doesn’t get the ball,” Maes-Polan said. “When I can, steal the ball.”

After leading for most of the game, the Red Hawks were clinging to a 42-38 advantage with 4 minutes, 13 seconds left in the game.

Kaitlyn Mackin went 2-for-2 from the line to extend the lead to 44-38.

A strong take from the top of the key all the way to the rim by Mackin had the advantage at 46-40. After a free throw from Diemand, Mackin fed Sobieski in transition to make the score 49-43.

With the deficit, Palmer began to foul. Rebecca Bridwell connected on two free throws to help seal the game for the Red Hawks.

Frontier scored nine points in the first quarter, all on 3-pointers. Diemand hit two of them with Warren canning another, but the Red Hawks trailed 13-9 after the opening stanza.

A 10-0 run in the second quarter gave the Red Hawks the lead for good.

During the run, Diemand connected on two of her four 3-pointers. The senior also collected a steal and fed Mackin, who scored eight points in the win, for another bucket during the run. Mackin was a force on the boards for the Red Hawks, collecting 24 rebounds.

Warren (six points) and Meghan Self (seven points) chipped in offensively with outside shooting.

Self hit a baseline jumper just before half to send the Red Hawks into intermission with a 21-17 lead.

The Red Hawks build their lead up to 38-29 in the third quarter after a corner 3-pointer by Warren.

Palmer finished its season 10-11 overall.




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