NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Waiting is hard sometimes. Waiting 28 years is even harder.
t had been a long wait for the McCann Tech Hornets to taste victory in the Western Mass Tournament, but that wait ended Monday night.
Lucas Zelazo scored 13 points to lead the sixth-seeded McCann Tech boy’s basketball team to a 63-54 win over the 11th-seeded Pioneer Valley Christian Academy in the first round of the Divisiion 4 Western Mass Tournament.
Zelazo did all of his damage in the second quarter, scoring 13 of the team’s 27 second quarter points to help open up a 16-point lead, 36-20, heading into halftime. The Hornets did not relinquish that lead on their way to a huge Western Mass win.
“It was 1989 the last time we had a win in Western Mass,” said first-year head coach Chris Bullett, reflecting on what this means to the program. “This win is huge for us. We set this goal after the very first practice and new if we got a home game we would have a chance.”
For McCann Tech (17-5), Jake Tower added 12 points, Steve LeMire added 11 and Logan Tower chipped in with 10 to help lead a balanced Hornet attack.
Both teams found it hard to score in the first quarter, but McCann ended on a 7-2 run to take a 9-7 lead heading into the second quarter of play. The Hornets used an 11-2 run to open up the second quarter as Jake Tower began penetrating the zone of PVCA finding teammates to help outscore PVCA 27-13 and head into halftime with a 16-point lead.
“We weren’t driving and were just sitting there moving the ball around the outside,” Bullett said. “We talked after the first quarter about getting to the rim and putting some pressure on them.”
After halftime, both teams settled in going back and forth most of the quarter until McCann junior guard Cody Jordan took control of the game.
After a 6-0 run by PVCA, McCann was forced to call a timeout with 2:40 left to play. Jordan came out of the timeout and hit a 3-pointer to put the hornets back up 19. He then stole the ball on the next possession leading to an easy fast break layup. Two possessions later he would drive the lane and hit a runner capping his own 7-0 run and help take a comfortable 52-28 lead heading into the final quarter of play.
That lead became uncomfortable as PVCA began to chip away at the lead once they switched out of their typical 2-3 zone to man-to-man defense. Behind strong play down low by Steven Sansouci, who was bothered by foul trouble most of the game, the Eagles went on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 58-34 with 5:35 left to play.
That spark continued as the Eagles would continue to push their run to 19-0, behind Noah Connor’s 10 fourth-quarter points, cutting the McCann lead all the way down to nine, 58-47, with just under three minutes to play.
Finally with 2:43 left to play, senior guard Jake Tower made a much-needed tough layup in the lane to push the lead back to double digits 60-47. Tower made two free throws down the stretch to secure the 63-54 victory.
“We owe a lot to our crowd,” senior guard Jake Tower said. “Me making that basket and them getting wild gives our team lots of energy.”
For PVCA (13-8), Connor led the way with 18 points and Matthew Porter and Tadju Ondrick chipped in with 12 points a piece.
With the win, McCann Tech will head off to play third-seed Monson Thursday night at 7 in the quarter-finals.