WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Hoosac Valley senior Sean Ryan-Kut may be having a little trouble findign his shot at the moment.
But he had no trouble finding the foul line at the right moment in Tuesday's 57-52 win over Mount Greylock.
Ryan-Kut finished tied for team-high honors with 13 points, and eight of those points came in the second half on free throws as the Hurricanes (3-0) overcame a five-point half-time deficit and handed Mount Greylock its second straight loss.
"He started to be a little bit more of a floor general for us tonight," Hoosac coach Bill Robinson said. "He facillitated offense, which is what we're asking him to do.
"His shot's just not there, and we're not going to mess with it. It is what it is. It's OK. You can take your occasional shot here and there, but just understand something: The offense still flows through you, and you create offense just by doing what you do.
"He's starting to get that. And tonight, he created for himself, where he went in off the pressure and got fouled."
Ryan-Kut also facillitated on the defensive end with four steals in the second half.
Matt Koperniak matched Ryan-Kut for team-high scoring honors with 13. Matt Braman scored 12, and Jameson Coughlin grabbed 14 rebounds.
Cole Jackson led all scorers with 16 points, and Jake Benzinger had 10 points and 17 rebounds for Mount Greylock.
Jackson had 10 at half-time as the Mounties built a 29-24 lead.
They led by as many as seven late in the second quarter when Robby Buffis drew a charge at one end of the floor and came down to set up Jackson for a conventional three-point play at the other. Jackson's free throw made it 24-17.
It was 34-26, Greylock early in the third quarter before Hoosac went on an 11-0 run.
Koperniak got things started with a 3-pointer off an assist from Braman to make it 34-29. Trevor Alibozek put back an offensive rebound, Ryan-Kut made four foul shots, and Couglin scored in the post to finish off the run.
Hoosac also forced five Greylock turnovers during the run. The Hoosac pressure was significantly more effective in the
pivotal third quarter than it was in the first half.
"The first half, Greylock had a lot of things they did to [the press], and we didn't do a good job adjusting on the fly," Robinson said. "And I'll take the blame for that. We went in at half-time and made a small adjustment.
"We wanted to be more observant of what was going on around them instead of just watching the ball. We got caught watching the ball too much in the first half. The second half, we didn't do too much of that."
The Mounties, despite closing within one point on four occasions in the fourth, never tied it or regained the lead.
Koperniak made three second-half 3-pointers, including a back-breaker with 1 minute, 50 seconds on the clock that gave Hoosac some breathing room at 55-49.
Jackson converted an Eric Hirsch assist in the post with 32 seconds left to make it a one-score game, 55-52, but Ryan-Kut got to the line with 21 seconds left and dropped in two shots to provide the final margin of victory.
Robinson said his club was a little rusty after two snow-outs kept Hoosac off the floor since its Dec. 20 win at Commerce. But he credited Greylock — not rust — with making it a game.
"I thought Jackson played a helluva game tonight," Robinson said. "And Benzinger played a great fourth quarter. He showed up when they needed him the most.
"That's a good club. [Greylock coach Bob Thistle] has done a nice job. He lost everything from last year. These kids didn't play last year. They were happy to sit and watch. To step up and play the way they played tonight and have been playing is a credit to coach Thistle and that club."