WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Mount Greylock boys basketball team, which won by 44 points the first time around against McCann Tech, Wednesday found itself in a dogfight in the rematch.
And when the Mounties’ starting center drew his fourth foul midway through the third quarter of a seven-point ballgame, it looked like a major break for the Hornets.
But Mount Greylock senior Liam Brady scored six fourth-quarter points and pulled down six of his game-high 11 rebounds after picking up foul No. 4 to power Mount Greylock to a 56-47 win.
“That big kid, Brady is tough,” McCann Tech coach Chris Bullett said. “We don’t have anyone that size. We did our best boxing him out, but he killed us in the fourth quarter there with a couple of putbacks when we were trying to dig as much as we can.”
Brady finished with nine points -- all in the second half. Toby Foehl led a balanced attack for the Mounties with 16, and Mac Waynick and Derek Paris finished with 15 and 14, respectively.
“I kind of lost track of [Brady’s] foul situation prior to the fourth quarter, and then we just said, ‘Look, you’re going to play, and when you come out you can be a coach for us,’ “ Mount Greylock coach Bob Thistle said. “He went strong to the hole. He and the rest of us have to work on our free throws. We left a lot of them out there. But he stepped up for us bigtime when shots weren’t going for us. That’s huge.”
Brady’s contributions down the stretch and Waynick’s 15 points, 11 boards and defensive effort on McCann Tech’s Bruce showed that the Mounties are more than the two lethal scorers, Foehl and Paris, who have been lighting up the scoreboard all winter.
“The Davis kid had a few 3s in the first half, but Mac [Waynick] has been that guy for us, he’s been the guy who guards their best player,” Thistle said.
Davis finished with 16 points, but just five of those came in the second half.
“To McCann’s credit, they found other guys to step up,” Thistle said. “But Mac gets lost, I think, with Toby and Derek getting good headlines since they’ve been scoring for us this year. Mac’s quietly putting up about eight [points] per game. But we kind of look at it as what he’s taking away from other teams, too. He’s taking away 10 points from their best player.
“Toby and Derek are deserving of the attention because they’re scoring, and that’s important. But the other things that people do are important. And we needed Liam. He put us on his back tonight.”
Mount Greylock (13-6) had momentum coming into the game with three straight wins, including a road triumph at Sabis on Sunday.
And the Mounties jumped out to an 11-4 lead in the first five minutes of the game.
But McCann Tech (9-8) answered with an 8-0 run that featured two Davis 3-pointers and a bucket by Sean Sumner (eight points) to take a 12-11 lead going to the second.
Mount Greylock quickly seized control with an 11-0 run out of the break to take a lead it never lost. Paris knocked down a 3-pointer and set up a pair of buckets by Foehl during the run, which also saw the Hornets commit a pair of turnovers.
“We’ve just got to take care of the basketball,” Bullett said. “We’re giving up like 20 possessions a game where we don’t get a shot. That’s what’s killing us. If we even score on a quarter of those possessions, we win the game by two.
“I thought our defense tonight was phenomenal. We had a plan for Toby [Foehl] and [Derek] Paris. Toby’s tough, so 16 out of him is good. A couple of time we lost our assignments on Paris and he got some open 3s. But, for the most part, 28 or 30 out of them … I’m pretty happy with the way we played defense overall.”
After absorbing that 11-0 run, the Hornets were able to whittle away at the lead and got within three late in the half when Davis hit from beyond the arc to make it 26-23.
But Mount Greylock got six points from Paris in the final minute to lead by nine in the locker room.
A couple of times in the second half, the Mounties were able to stretch their lead to double digits, but McCann Tech kept hanging around, trailing by just six with three minutes left in the fourth after scores on back-to-back possessions from Nick LaForest (13 points) and Sumner to make it 51-45.
But by that time, McCann Tech’s Lucas Jamros already had fouled out of the game, and the Hornets lost Sumner and Darius Tovani down the stretch. With three starters on the bench in the final minutes, McCann watched Mount Greylock score five of the game’s last seven points to put away the win.
Thistle said he was not surprised that the outcome was a lot different than the first time the teams played, when McCann Tech was going through a stretch of games when half the team was either out of action or limited by the flu.
“In nine years we’ve been coaching here, McCann always gives us a hard time,” Thistle said. “They always bring it. We expected a game like this. We blew them out last time, but there was a flu going around, and they were not themselves.
“What helped us, honestly, was seeing them knock off Lenox. I think it got everybody’s attention. I don’t think our kids overlooked this game at all.”
Mount Greylock plays its regular season finale and celebrates Senior Night on Friday against Lenox.
McCann Tech hosts Hampden Charter on Thursday.