ATHOL, Mass. — The Wahconah girls' basketball team faced a tough road test against Athol in its season opener on Friday night. Although the Warriors got off to a good start, it was the Red Raiders, who made it all the way to the Division 2 Western Mass. semifinals last year, who went on a late run to pull out a 53-44 win at home.
Wahconah started the game off well, using a strong second quarter to earn a five-point lead at halftime. Senior guard Gabby Lavinio scored 15 of her game-high 20 points in the first half, knocking down three shots from behind the arc to give June Blake's squad the early edge. Lavinio only netted five points in the second half, however, as the Athol defense tightened up and held Wahconah to just five points in the fourth quarter.
"We got off to a good start in this one but by the end of the third quarter, we were tied at 39 points apiece," Blake said. "We only trailed by two points with 1:40 left, but we were hampered by five turnovers in that time. Athol went on a 9-2 run to end the game. We never really settled down offensively in the second half, and Athol did a good job keeping us off balance and forcing us to turn the ball over. They were able to capitalize on our mistakes."
Lavinio finished with 20 points, six rebounds and three assists, while fellow senior captain Shannon Lussier added 13 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore forward Maddie Sprague also had a good game in the post, scoring four points to go along with 12 boards.
Tanner Favreau led the Raiders' offense with 14 points, while Alexa Whitney and Shelby Bronnes each chipped in with 10 points apiece.
The Warriors next play at Hoosac Valley at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.