AMHERST, Mass. -- A bad second quarter Sunday put the Mount Greylock boys basketball team in a deep hole.
But a bad two-minute stretch in the fourth ultimately gave Turners Falls a 69-66 win over the Mounties in the Pioneer Valley Tipoff at Curry Hicks Cage.
Mount Greylock spent most of the second half fighting back from a 40-28 half-time deficit after the Thunder scored 27 points in the second quarter.
And Derek Paris’ 3-pointer with 5 minutes, 20 seconds left gave Mount Greylock (0-1) its first lead since it was up 10-8 back in the first. Paris put the Mounties up, 53-52.
But on Turners’ next trip, Liam Driscoll (23 points) drained a 3-pointer for the Thunder. Then a miss at the other end led to a putback of an offensive rebound by Driscoll to make it 57-53. The Mounties got to the line on their next possession but missed a pair, and Turners center Anthony Peterson (21 points, 19 rebounds) converted a three-point play at the other end to make it a seven-point game with four minutes left.
Mount Greylock got back within a bucket on four more occasions and had the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead five times but could not erase the deficit.
The 69 points scored by the Thunder on Sunday was the most the Mounties have allowed in a loss since a trip to Taconic last January, a span of eight games. Afterward, Mount Greylock coach Bob Thistle pointed to the first half -- and, more specifically, the second quarter.
“We give a lot of credit, certainly, to Turners Falls,” Mount Greylock coach Bob Thistle said. “They hit some big shots and shot the ball well in the first half. But, defensively, our first game, there are things all season long we’re going to need to work on.
“We just need to be tougher, physically. We got beat on the boards and we got beat down the floor. Those were the two reasons, and that’s what we talked about at half-time.”
The Mounties tightened up their defense, allowing just 29 more points the rest of the way.
And they got big contributions at the other end from Paris, who hit three 3s and scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half, and Toby Foehl, who also had three second-half triples and scored 16 of his game-high 29 after half-time.
In the early going, both sides struggled offensively. Turners Falls heated up early in the second quarter, scoring on five of six possessions in a 14-3 run that opened a 27-15 lead.
The lead got as high as 16 when Driscoll hit a 3-pointer late in the half to make it 38-22.
But Mac Waynick (12 points) scored three points on a free throw and a layup in transition, and Foehl converted a three-point play to get the Mounties to the locker room down by just 12, 40-28.
Foehl started the second half with a 3-pointer assisted by Pablo Santos to get the deficit under double digits, and it took just four minutes to get the Mounties within a bucket when Paris scored in the post to make it 43-41.
From there, the margin stayed five points or less until Turners’ decisive fourth-quarter spurt.
“We had the ball at the end and a chance to win the game, so when you’re down that much at half-time, that’s what you hope for,” Thistle said. “We’re disappointed that we lost the game, but we’re certainly ready to get back to work and ready to face South Hadley on Wednesday.”