Lenox Boys' Defense Keys Win Over McCann Tech
LENOX, Mass. -- The schedule put the Lenox boys basketball team in a hole.
The Millionaires just dug deep.
Shane Steinman scored 13 points, and Conor Prince added 12 Tuesday night as the Millionaires defeated McCann Tech, 47-43, for their third win in six outings.
Prior to the start of this six-game run, Lenox lost 11 straight to open the season, a stretch that included eight games against Berkshire County North Division foes.
“The kids haven’t given up,” Lenox coach Scott Sibley said. “They come out every night and play hard. It’s been a long year. … It was tough. It’s not a fun way to start a season. You’d like to get a couple of wins for some confidence in there.
“But the kids hung in there. We’re playing teams closer to our size now, and we’re in the ballgames and getting a couple of wins. I’m proud of them for keeping their heads up and competing no matter what our record is.”
That initial stretch also included a 13-point loss at McCann Tech which the Millionaires avenged on Tuesday night. On Friday, the Millionaires have a chance to avenge another of their losses, a three-point setback at rival Lee. A win there will keep Lenox’s hope alive of tying for second place in the South Division and earning a spot in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 tournament.
McCann Tech (9-6) entered Tuesday’s game with a chance to clinch a post-season berth, but turnovers proved to be the Hornets’ undoing.
McCann went without a shot on 27 possessions, including five in the last five minutes of a tight ballgame.
“It’s been a constant issue for us this year,” McCann Tech coach Chris Bullett. “The games we’ve been winning, it’s been fine. But every game we’ve lost, it’s been the same thing. We have a tendency to try to do too much ourselves when things are tough. We don’t work as a team, and that’s when we start turning the ball over.”
McCann Tech showed flashes of efficiency on offense, especially in the first and third quarters.
In the first quarter, the Hornets scored on four of five possessions in an 11-0 run to take a 12-6 lead.
Bruce Davis got thing started when he drove to the basket for his team’s first field goal, and Logan Tower (game-high 15) closed the run with the first of his three 3-pointers to give the Hornets a six-point lead.
Lenox responded with a 13-3 run that spanned the first and second quarters to go ahead, 19-15, when Averin Paradise fed John Illingworth for a bucket.
From there, it was a back-and-forth game with neither side going ahead by more than four points until late in the fourth quarter.
The Hornets took their last lead on a pair of Tower free throws with 3 minutes, 24 seconds left to make it 40-39.
But on Lenox’s next possession, Shane Steinman scored to retake the lead. Andre Collins drove the right side with 1:11 on the clock for a conventional three-point play to make it a two-possession game. And after a Nicholas Nicotra block at the other end, Conor Price made a spin move in the lane and scored to make it 46-40.
“Conor, I knew what he was about watching him at Monument for a couple of years,” Sibley said. “I’m glad he’s with us now. He’s fun to watch. He’s a great kid to have. He just goes out and plays hard, night in and night out. He’s just a pleasure to have on our team.
“It was nice to see him be a big factor in tonight’s win. I think he handles the ball well, along with Jett [Steinman], and he came through when needed with a couple of big shots, and think he had a big rebound for us in the fourth quarter, too.”
McCann Tech got a 3-pointer from Max Mitchell to get the margin back to three points with 11 seconds on the clock. Jett Steinman earned a trip to the line with 9.5 seconds ticks left and hit one of two shots, and Lenox’s defense denied McCann Tech a good look at the basket on its final possession.
A big factor for Lenox was the play inside from Nicotra, who accounted for 15 rebounds, including four defensive boards in the first five minutes of the third quarter.
“Nick, being about 6-foot-2, is our big man, and we ask a lot out of him because he’s actually pretty small compared to the Ben Hardings [Lee] and Sean McCormacks [Mount Greylock] and some of the kids at Wahconah and PHS,” Sibley said. “He’s in their battling for us every night. He does a good job. Tonight, I actually had him for seven steals, too, so he’s getting those passing lanes.
“He does everything we ask of him. He works hard. And I’m glad he’s only a sophomore.”
Lenox will honor servicemen and servicewomen at its Friday night home game against Lee.
McCann Tech goes to Gateway on Thursday.