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Mount Greylock Boys Get Season Sweep of Drury

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Sports - Print
09:40PM / Tuesday, January 14, 2014


WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Because Ian Brink was raised right, he was able to help lift the Mount Greylock Regional boys basketball team to a 64-56 win over Drury on Tuesday night.
 
Brink did not lead the Mounties in any statistical categories, but he made the biggest hustle play of the night late in the fourth quarter to stem a Drury rally and preserve Mount Greylock's third win against four defeats this season.
 
The home team was up four, 54-50, with 1 minute, 30 seconds left, when Drury's Kareen Becket stole the ball and started a fast break the other way.
 
Brink got back on defense and grabbed the rebound of a missed lay-in, then got fouled and hit both his free throws to make it 56-50. The lead got to 11 before drury scored again with half a minute to go.
 
"Growing up, I was always taught to finish the play, so I ran down and followed up the shot, and instead of it being a two-point game, it was a six-point game after that," Brink said.
 
Brink had two more of his 12 rebounds down the stretch to keep the Blue Devils (4-6) at arm's length.
 
The big numbers for Mount Greylock belonged to Cole Jackson and Jake Benzinger, who finished with 28 points and 20 rebounds, respectively.
 
Jackson scored 19 in the first half to help Mount Greylock build a 25-21 lead going into the locker room.
 
"We've been talking a little bit about composure, so Cole went out and went about his business and got to the line a bunch and was tremendous at the free throw line," Brink said.
 
The last time Greylock played Drury, it was Benzinger who carried the scoring load with 17 in the Mounties' third game of the year.
 
"We've come to accept that in every game, [Benzinger] will be getting doubled," Brink said. "So we've worked around that and created offenses to open up other guys too and get other opportunities. Maybe that had something to do with Cole's tremendous game, but he's just been working really hard."
 
Jackson scored 19 of his points -- including all nine of his second-half points -- at the foul line.
 
"He takes great pride in his free throws," Greylock coach Bob Thistle said. "Our whole team does. We put a lot of pressure on the kids in practice. There's incentives not to miss. It's a big part of the game, and it was the deciding factor tonight."
 
The fouls cut two ways against Drury: allowing the Mounties to score 31 of their 64 points and getting an already short-handed Blue Devil lineup into foul trouble.
 
Drury, which was missing two starters going into the game, saw two more and a key reserve foul out of the game in the fourth.
 
At no point was the foul trouble more pronounced than during a 12-3 Greylock run early in the third quarter.
 
Brink got the spurt started with a pair of baskets off assists by Jackson and Eric Hirsch. And Jackson finished the run with four straight foul shots in the same possession; after he was fouled in the post, the offending Drury player was hit with a technical foul for arguing the call, and Jackson made all four free throws count to make it 37-26.
 
It was 45-38 early in the fourth before Beckett hit a mid-range jumper and a 3-pointer to get his team back within two points.
Brink hit a hook shot in the post for two of his 10 second half points that started a 5-0 Greylock spurt and led to a 50-43 lead. But the teams traded baskets from there until the Brink transition rebound that ended up being a turning point.
 
Drury coach Jack Racette said he was disappointed with the outcome but pleased with his team's effort in the face of adversity.
 
"We had two freshmen on the floor, and it was 54-50 with one and a half minutes to go," he said. "We kept scraping and hanging and being around it. But we couldn't get over the hump.
 
"We played hard. But hard doesn't win you basketball games at the varsity level. You've got to play hard and smart."
Both teams get into league play on Friday night. Drury travels to play Taconic, and Mount Greylock heads to Lee.
 
Greylock heads into league play with a 3-4 record overall after getting a much needed win.
 
"That's good pressure that the kids are facing," Thistle said. "You certainly don't want to get to 2-5, which our record would been. It was a huge night and big one for the kids to step up.
 
"But it just doesn't get any easier. Berkshire County basketball is a great challenge every night. If you're not prepared, if you're not mentally ready to go every night, you're going to get beat. We have another huge challenge against Lee down in Lee, another road game. Our kids are trying to take the road warrior mentality, that we can do it on the road."

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