WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Emmett Shepard scored 10 fourth-quarter points and made two key defensive plays down the stretch to preserve a 62-54 win for the Mount Greylock boys basketball team on Tuesday against Taconic.
Shepard (game-high 19) drew a charge in transition with 1 minute, 28 seconds left and the Mounties ahead, 58-48. Then, with eight seconds left, he grabbed a defensive rebound with Mount Greylock ahead, 61-54.
Shepard, who had two of the Mounties’ four second-half 3-pointers, finished the scoring at the foul line, where he went three-for-four in the fourth quarter.
Mount Greylock (1-0) built an eight-point lead midway through the second quarter but went to the locker room down a point after a 9-0 Taconic run that featured two buckets by Charles Davis and an assist and offensive putback by Deonte Sandifer (game-high 13).
“I thought we just made some adjustments at half-time and we were tougher mentally and physically,” Mount Greylock coach Bob Thistle said.
“The bottom line is we have a good group of athletic kids and high character kids.”
The teams again traded runs to start the second half.
Taconic (1-2) jumped out to a seven-point lead when Sandifer scored off a turnover created by his team’s full-court press.
But the Mounties responded right away. Shepard knocked down a triple to start a 7-0 run to tie it, 31-31.
Taconic took what turned out to be its final lead when Abdiel Cotto hit a deep 3 to make it 34-31.
Moments later, Pat Storie set up Eric Hirsch (16 points) for a 3 from way outside the arc to give Mount Greylock a 36-34 lead that it never lost.
It was 49-43 midway through the fourth quarter when the Mounties mounted a 7-0 run to get some breathing room. First Ian Brink (seven points, team-high 13 rebounds) hit a couple of foul shots. Then Shepard hit a 3 in transition, and Hirsch converted both ends of a one-and-one to make it 56-43 with 2:43 on the clock.
Just before that run, Mount Greylock center Jake Benzinger (seven points, nine rebounds) fouled out. And before the game ended, Hirsch followed suit.
Thistle was pleased with the way his team responded to the loss of the two starters.
“The key to any team is staying together,” he said. “It teaches you about your bench. We’re learning what we have and hope we can go as deep as we can.”
The Mounties face another big test on Thursday night when they entertain Hoosac Valley (1-0). Taconic travels to Smith Academy to face Ludlow on Friday.