WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- With five minutes left in the third quarter of Thursday’s Western Massachusetts Division 3 quarter-final, the Mount Greylock boys basketball team had a 29-27 lead.
Then, it went on a 32-4 run.
Sean McCormack got things started by scoring seven straight on his way to a 25-point night as the Mounties defeated Southwick, 63-38, to earn a trip to Curry Hicks Cage at the University of Massachusetts and a rematch with Wahconah in the sectional semi-finals.
“I think all our guys really stepped up,” Mounties junior guard Sam Dils said. “Sean, especially, being physical, taking his shots.
“We were a little colder than we’d like to be in the first half. I think we took a few too many 3s, and we were a little lower percentage than we’d like. But guys just started hitting shots, and that builds up energy, and we all just kind of fed off that and kept going until the end of the game.”
It was the end of the line for the Mountie Dome -- at least as generations of Mount Greylock students have known it.
The Mount Greylock boys went into Thursday’s game knowing it would be the final varsity game in the school’s gym before its doors are closed for a major renovation that begins next month.
But they did what they could to make sure that the facility will host a few more practices, at least.
Seniors Patrick Storie and Cameron Hadley had big nights in their final home appearances. Storie had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds and passed out four assists. Hadley scored nine with a game-high 14 caroms.
Toby Foehl scored eight, and Dils matched Storie with four assists.
“It’s definitely a great feeling to win my last game on this court,” Storie said. “I don’t think I’d want to be anywhere else playing my last home high school game. It’s a great feeling, and it’s definitely nice to get back to the Cage for the second year in a row. We have some unfinished business to handle.”
Mount Greylock will be making its second straight trip to the Western Mass semis. Last year, the Mounties dropped a 68-47 decision to Easthampton. As for more recent history, fifth-seeded Mount Greylock beat No. 9 Wahconah, 54-36, back on Feb. 17.
Wahconah (14-8) has since gone 3-1, including Thursday’s 69-58 upset of top-seeded Sabis.
Mount Greylock (17-5) has won 15 of 16. And it looked to be cruising to its 17th win of the year when Dils drove the lane to put his team up, 27-19, just before half-time
McCormack scored in the post for the first points of the second half, putting his team up by 10, but No. 13 Southwick (11-11) rallied with an 8-0 run to make it a one-score game when Matthew Daley knocked down a pair of free throws with 4 minutes, 59 seconds left in the third.
McCormack answered with a 3-ball from the right wing to stretch the lead to five. The Rams were whistled for a foul away from the shot with the ball in the air, and the Mounties regained possession. McCormack’s jumper from the elbow turned it into a five-point trip and a 34-27 lead.
Mount Greylock went on to score the next seven, capped by Storie’s triple on a feed from Toby Foehl to make it a 41-27 cushion.
It was a 15-point lead at half-time, and the Mounties scored 15 straight to open the fourth quarter before Mounties coach Bob Thistle pulled his starters.
“It’s a great feeling to go back [to the Cage] back-to-back years,” Thistle said. “I don’t think it’s happened in the history of the school. I think this is our fifth time since ‘61, and we’ve been there three of the last six years. So we’ve been knocking at the door.
“We’re excited. We’re going to enjoy it tonight, but we’re not satisfied. We’re going to be prepared for Wahconah or Sabis, whoever we play. There’s great teams from here on forward.”