The Hudson High School boys’ basketball team came crashing back to reality Monday night. After dismantling Narragansett Friday night, expectations were high for the Raiders. Athol fans may have gotten a little ahead of themselves as Turners Falls waltzed into Mallet Gymnasium and beat down the Raiders for a 63-40 victory.
“Turners outworked us, outplayed us, outhustled us and outrebounded us,” said Athol head coach Jason Donovan. “They came to play and we did not and we can’t afford to do that. We’re a team and we have to play as one for all 32 minutes. They took it to us, period.”
This one was never close as Liam Ellis led the Indians to the lopsided victory. Ellis tallied 15 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, four steals and a blocked shot in the win. He sat out the entire fourth quarter with his team leading by 30, 55-25, after three quarters.
“Liam Ellis was the best player on the floor, by far,” said Donovan.
The Raiders shot their foot off in the first quarter as they committed 10 turnovers. Turners took advantage by opening the game on a 12-2 run and led 18-9 after a quarter.
Nelson Leadbetter made it an 18-11 game with his bucket to open the second quarter, but the Raiders never got any closer as the Indians pumped in the next nine points and went on to take a 32-13 halftime lead.
“We got down early and we didn’t respond well,” said Donovan. “You have to be able to figure out how to get a good shot. Tonight we were unable to get a lot of good shots and when we did we missed them. Bottom line is Turners was a much better team than we were.”
Athol committed 17 first half turnovers in digging themselves a hole they had no chance of getting out of.
“They put some pressure on that was a little bit tough but it’s not like they were all over us,” said Donovan. “We looked unsure and made some poor decisions. Turnovers will kill you and they capitalized on pretty much every single one.”
The Indians also dominated on the glass, including 20 offensive rebounds in the first three quarters. Turners’ halftime lead would have been even greater had they not missed 9-of-12 free throws in the first half.
Mark Brighenti (seven rebounds) led the Athol offensive with seven points. Erik Aikey (eight boards) tacked on six points. Brandon Wagner added five. Bryce Melanson, Zack Dodge, Leadbetter and Dylan Gray tacked on four points apiece. Ryley Saisa tossed in three points. Tyler Lajoie added two. Nick Whelpley had one. Dodge scored a game-high 25 points in Friday’s win, but was just 2-of-12 from the floor on Monday.
Athol (1-1) returns to the floor on Saturday when they host rival Mahar.
“We’ll find out if we can bounce back,” said Donovan. “Everyone has to shake it off and move on. We have to find some unity as a team. Everyone has to play better and we have to coach better. It’s a team deal. We have a lot of work to do and a short time to do it.”