WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass -- The Mount Greylock boys basketball team played some solid hoops in its first two games of the season, but had nothing to show for it after two losses by a combined three points. But Friday night the fruits of that labor shined as the Mounties rallied for their first victory, in an emotional and physical battle with the Hoosac Valley Hurricanes.
Facing a 10-point deficit going into the fourth quarter, Greylock stormed back with a barrage of offense to turn the tides for a 68-59 home win. The Mounties outscored Hoosac 26-7 in the final eight minutes of play, with six different players contributing a basket.
“Tonight I think the kids just came together,” Mt. Greylock head coach Bob Thistle said. “There was some finger-pointing early on and some fireworks. It is okay to argue with your brothers and things like that, but not if you haven’t talked on defense. But they weathered that fine, and it was a rock fight out there tonight. I am really proud of the kids.”
The Hurricanes (2-3) proved to be no small obstacle, as they got their offense going in the second quarter and maintained a fast and intense pace all night long. Senior guard Izaha Stubbs led the way with a game-high 31 points, including six three-pointers. He also had 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
But the Mounties held Stubbs to just two points in the fourth quarter
“This is a great Northern Berkshire rivalry,” Thistle said. “Hoosac is hard-nosed and they have a football mentality. They got a substantial lead in the second half, and hats off to Stubbs because he is a great player and he had a ton of points, But in crunch time Mac Waynick really wanted him. You can’t really cover him one-on-one, but Mac did a great job of leading the charge for our guys. We went to junk defense in the fourth quarter with a little diamond-and-one and it threw them off a little.”
Trailing 52-42 going into the fourth, the Mounties went right to work. Senior Toby Foehl quickly got Greylock going with a three-pointer. Thomas Martin followed with a bucket, and Mitchell Jezouit fed a great pass to Mac Waynick, who drained a three to complete an 8-0 run that made it 52-50.
With things close again, the action began to intensify as momentum swung back-and-forth like a seesaw. Cole Desroches sunk a trey for Hoosac, and Liam Brady answered with a layup for the Mounties. Waynick then connected on a pair of free throws that pulled his club within one point, before Derek Paris dropped in an open shot to give Greylock a 56-55 lead that brought the home fans roaring to their feet.
Jackson Owensby laid one in off the glass to push the Hurricanes back on top, before Waynick grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back up to swing the Mounties back ahead.
Foehl took it strong to the hoop to make it 60-57 with just under 1:30 remaining to account for the winning points.
The Mounties kept hitting all their shots to pull away to victory. Jezouit found nothing but net on a jumper in front of the hoop, Paris followed with a layup, and then both Foehl and Paris connected on a pair of free throws to complete the scoring for Greylock.
“There are going to be nights where we stand on our heads to get the ball in the hoop, but if you play hard every night you will be in it,” Thistle said. “We had two great games the first two games of the season, but both were losses. There is no moral victory, and losing two games by a total of three points can sometimes break a team apart. We had free throws at the end against South Hadley that did not go our way, but the kids went right back in the gym.”
Foehl led Greylock in scoring with 21 points, along with four rebounds. Paris contributed 18 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists, and Waynick had 16 points and seven rebounds. Brady had seven points and seven rebounds, and he had a strong second quarter before being slowed by an ankle injury.
Greylock also played its best at the start of the action, when it took a 17-8 advantage after one quarter of play. But in the second quarter Izaha Stubbs caught fire and rallied his team back for a 34-29 halftime lead, after Hoosac outscored Greylock 26-12 in the second.
Stubbs had 15 points in the second quarter to lead the comeback, and he ignited an 11-0 run to start the rally. Stubbs grabbed a defensive rebound after Greylock did not convert its first possession of the quarter, and he took it all the way across the court himself to lay it off the glass. An open three then found nothing but the net, and next Stubbs came up with a steal and fed a pass to Joe Delmolino, who sank a triple of his own.
“I made that first shot and just kept my shot going, and they just kept going in,” Stubbs said. “So I just kept relying on myself to get the team back to where we needed to be.”
Delmolino got Hoosac on top with a layup and Desroches increased that advantage with a three-pointer off the glass. But Greylock answered back with a trey from Foehl and a free throw from Brady that tied it up at 21-21 with 3:17 left in the half.
That was when Stubbs got cranking and became nearly impossible to stop. He went strong to the basket for a tear-drop bucket that got the lead back, then he went up-and-under for a layup, before next going off glass. Desroches fed him for a three-pointer that he quickly followed with another layup, before finally converting a free throw with 13.6 seconds left to end the scoring in the first half.
“You have to have confidence in every shot you take, no matter if it is a full-court shot, a half-court shot or a free throw. Keep putting up that confidence in everything that you do,” Stubbs said. “We ended up taking a tough loss though. There is a lot that we can work on. We are going to go and study the film and fix our mistakes, and we come back next week to try and get another ‘W’ and make our season.”
The third quarter proved just as thrilling as the rest, as each side went on a scoring run. Hoosac opened the action with an 8-0 run, before Greylock responded with a 10-0 run. Things got to within one possession, before Stubbs again caught fire and sunk three deep and consecutive three-pointers to balloon the lead to ten points.
The Mounties made all the right adjustments in crunch time, and Thistle is pleased with the direction of things. With so much left of the season there is plenty of time for their record to reflect the effort he is seeing on the floor.
“We feel like we have been in some tough battles already, and we are going to run the gauntlet now in the north and south,” Thistle said. “Wahconah and Pittsfield are going to be a great challenge for us, but it is who is playing the best at the end of the season. You’re building your team all year long to be healthy and hopefully playing your best ball at the end.”