Athlete of the Week: Tyrell Thomas
No boys basketball team in the area had a better week than the Mount Greylock Regional High School Mounties.
And no player had a bigger week than Tyrell Thomas.
Thomas led Division 3 Greylock in wins over a team with strong Division 1 tournament aspirations on Wednesday. Then two nights later he followed that up with a 21-point performance in a win over defending Western Massachusetts Division 3 champions.
And, by the way, in the process the Mounties punched their own ticket to this year's D3 tournament with an 11-2 record and seven games left in the regular season.
While his 51 points against Pittsfield and St. Joseph are enough to earn Thomas Athlete of the Week honors, it is what he does off the court that really impresses his coach.
"Tyrell is really a pleasure to coach," Mount Greylock coach Bob Thistle said on Sunday. "He's a terrific young man. He's really working not only on his game but, like all of us are, he's working on himself as a person.
"I think he is not only embracing his role as a leader on the team but also learning that our emphasis at the school is to be a good student first and working on those things is paramount and almost trumps basketball.
"That's the privilege I've had over the last year and a half, watching him grow as a person."
Mount Greylock has won eight in a row heading into the third leg of its three-game stretch against the Pittsfield schools, Tuesday at Taconic.
Thistle said his team still has a long way to go, but it is proud to have beaten the Crusaders on Friday, especially at the Boys and Girls Club, where St. Joe has been invincible in recent years.
While Thistle is sure to find plenty of ways his team can get better, one area the Mounties have not been lacking is on defense. Only one opponent has scored more than 61 points against Greylock this winter -- 2012 North Division semi-finalist Wayland in a holiday tournament game.
Thomas has been a big part of the Mounties' success on defense.
"His mental toughness is something he's been working on since day one in our program," the second-year Greylock coach said. "You can be a great offensive player, like he is, but if you want to play at the next level, you have to be committed to defense. And he's done that."