By Stephen Dravis
11:30PM / Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Deserey Conaway (10) leads the Eagles to victory with 17 points on Tuesday against McCann Tech.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The first time the McCann Tech girls' basketball team played Mount Everett this season, the Hornets were a 5-5 team on a four-game winning streak. The Eagles, meanwhile, were a 2-6 squad looking for its identity.
Three weeks laster, the teams have gone in completely opposite directions.
The Eagles used 17 points by Deseraye Conaway and stifling defense on McCann's leading scorer Tuesday night to earn a 46-24 victory in the Hive.
Mount Everett improved to 7-8 on the season and kept its Western Massachusetts tournament hopes alive. McCann fell to 5-11 with four games left to play.
Unlike the back-and-forth 40-32 Mount Everett win in January's Coaches Vs. Cancer Showcase, Tuesday's contest was more like the 35-16 Mount Everett win the second time the two teams met. This time, the Eagles used a 15-2 third quarter to take an 18-point edge into the final stanza.
It was not until midway through that fourth quarter that McCann senior Mary Nguyen scored her first points after stealing the ball and going the other way for a lay-in.
Nguyen, who averaged more than 14 points per game coming into the night, finished with just four after being shut down by the combination of Natasha Macleay and India Ward.
"What's been big the last couple of times against them is Mary," Mount Everett coach Scott Rote said. "Obviously, you've got to focus on her. You could see today she was trying to get her whole team involved. That's a great team player over there.
"But we knew we had to focus on her as much as we could to have a chance here."
Nguyen finished with five assists, including four in the last three minutes of the first half as McCann went on a 7-2 run to pull within five points at the break.
The Eagles focused on keeping Hornet Mary Nguyen (21) away from the ball.
First, she set up Alex Wood for a 3-pointer. Then she fed Wood again for a basket in transition. The next time up the court, Nguyen drove to the lane and kicked to Breeana Rodriguez for a basket. Finally, she set up Kelly Dobbert for a triple that made it 21-16 going into the locker room.
At the break, Rote made a change he hoped would slow some of the momentum McCann created at the end of the second quarter.
"We had to focus on watching their outside shooters," Rote said. "We knew that their shooters could get hot. We made some adjustments after that first half, going to the zone. We took a chance because we were afraid Mary would get hot from the outside.
"But the kids played well. India Ward and Tasha Macleay have been doing a great job all year when we have them D-up on the scorers for the other team. That's been a plus for us."
Conaway also was a plus with a team-high 13 rebounds to go along with her 17 points. Mount Everett's two Hannahs — Herrick and Joynce — combined for 22 points and seven boards. And Brooke Moorehouse had eight points, five rebounds and a couple of assists.
Hannah Herrick scored eight in a 14-4 first quarter alone, including six on putbacks of offensive rebounds. In the decisive third quarter, Conaway scored nine including six straight to push the lead to double digits for good after Eileen Zajac's bucket in the post made it 27-18 with 5:25 left in the period.
Zajac led McCann in points (seven) and had a game-high 18 rebounds.
McCann will look to end a six-game losing streak on Thursday at Putnam.
Mount Everett travels to Hoosac Valley on Thursday. Its remaining games include two games against teams it lost to earlier this year (Mount Greylock and Lenox) and two against non-county teams it already has beaten (Pioneer Valley and Vermont's Twin Valley).