Saints rise above PVCICS again

WESTFIELD – Make that St. Mary’s 2, Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School 0.
For the second time this season, the St. Mary’s High School boys basketball team enjoyed a victory at the expense of PVCICS. Three players scored in double digits – – Colin Reed (13 points), Jonathan Baillargeon (12), and Nathan Campbell (11) – – to fuel a Saints win over the Dragons, 43-36, Friday night at Westfield Intermediate School.
“In my nine years here, my first year we had a really good team, and after that we struggled with numbers, we struggled a little bit with not enough talent, not enough height, not enough of everything,” St. Mary’s boys basketball head coach Joe Molta said. “This team is well-rounded. We have height. We’re young – – we only have two seniors – – but there’s a lot of enthusiasm. We’re more athletic. It’s up to me to get the most out of them, and we’re doing our best to do that.”

St. Mary’s Jon Baillargeon (22) goes up for a basket against Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School Friday night at Westfield Intermediate School. (MARC ST.ONGE/THE WESTFIELD NEWS)

Things got off to a bit of a cold start Friday night. Whether it was the frigid weather outside, pandemic fatigue, or what-have-you, points were scarce early on.
It was a stagnant first quarter offensively, especially for Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School, which was held without a single point over the quarter’s entire eight minutes. Colin Reed got St. Mary’s started with a 3-pointer 14 seconds into the game. Two and a half minutes later, Reed scored again on a breakaway, thanks to a perfect full court pass from Brady Collins. Baillargeon made it 7-0 a short time later when he converted an acrobatic lay-up in the paint. A key defensive rebound from Omario Nelson set up the play.
St. Mary’s extended its lead in the second quarter, going up by as many as 13 points before entering the half with a 10-point advantage, 19-9. Reed and Campbell delivered the quarter’s key baskets. Reed hit two corner treys, while Campbell made a pair of two-point buckets, including a sensational reverse lay-up on a baseline drive, and two free throws.
After combining for just 28 points through the game’s first two quarter, both teams surpassed that total with 29 points in just the third quarter alone with an offensive explosion.
PVCICS made a run, pulling to within five points, 24-19, with a 3-pointer from Hunter Palm late in the quarter. Baillargeon extended St. Mary’s lead with a two. Palm countered with another 3, making it 26-22. Both Jonathan Baillargeon and Tom Baillargeon responded with consecutive 3’s to regain a double-digit lead, 32-22. The Saints led 33-24 after three quarters.
“Obviously we weren’t hitting in the first half; we were a little stagnant around the perimeter,” Jonathan Baillargeon said, “but we found our spots. We started screening away, moving the ball around. …We get it to whoever’s hot. That’s all that matters. …Once we started playing as a team it all worked out.”
PVCICS went on one more spirited run in the fourth quarter, cutting its deficit to just three points late in regulation. A 3-pointer from Palm made it 38-31. A two-pointer from Palm, a made free throw and subsequent 2-pointer from Jesse Carnegie-Toutant closed the gap to 39-36.
St. Mary’s would not buckle though.
With 50 seconds remaining, Campbell made a key shot to take a five-point lead. One free throw apiece from Baillargeon and Reed iced the game.
“We worked as a team in the second half and came out with the win,” Reed said. “We respond to pressure. When things start getting close, we’ll come together as a team and work harder to get the bigger difference in the score. I also think our big men had a lot to do with it, rebounding the ball aggressively and doing what they had to do.”
Westfield next returns to action Tues., Feb. 2 with a home contest against Westfield Technical Academy. Tip-off at Westfield Intermediate School is at 5 p.m.
“It’ll be a challenge for us,” coach Molta said. “We’ll have a good barometer for how much more we have to do.”

Bombers chase Terriers
Westfield 38, West Springfield 27

The Pedolzky sisters, Emma and Chandler, paced the Westfield offense once again Friday.
Westfield built a 19-6 halftime lead and remained in command for much of the game. West Springfield made a mad dash late to pull within single digits. Ali Piper made a key and-one down the stretch for the Bombers.

Sat., Jan. 30
Lancers top Bombers again
Longmeadow 2, Westfield 1

Longmeadow’s Joseph Mikaelian and Michael French scored one goal apiece, and the Lancers held off Westfield at Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield.
Brandon Shuman scored the lone Westfield goal. Bombers’ goalie C.J. Czarnecki finished with 19 saves.
It was the second meeting between the two teams this season. The Lancers won the first matchup 7-2.

Lancers shut out
Shrewsbury 3, Longmeadow Co-Op 0

Longmeadow goalie MacKenzie Rae, a senior assistant captain from Westfield, made 29 shots.

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