Hoosac Uses 3s to Shoot Past Drury
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – After a close loss to Pittsfield last week, Hoosac Valley boys basketball coach Bill Robinson admitted to himself that his offense needed a spark.
He found that spark a week later, and it helped helped his offense catch fire from behind the 3-point line to lead the Hurricanes to a 57-44 win at Drury on Friday night.
Hoosac earned a split against its longtime rival thanks mainly to a solid shooting night that saw Robinson’s squad sink nine 3-pointers. Sophomore Colin Rousseau made three of those long-range shots on his way to a game-high 14 points. It was quite the performance for the young guard, who was the spark Robinson was looking for when he called him up from the JV team last week. Rousseau started his first varsity game in a close loss to Taconic on Tuesday but saved his breakout performance for the Blue Devils in his second outing.
“He’s been our JV point guard all season,” Robinson said. “I didn’t like the way things were going, and he’s been playing with some confidence. Our JV’s went on a 12-game winning streak, and he played a big part in it. I just said, ‘I have to make a move. I have to shake things up here.’
“I took a chance and, tonight, I look like a genius, but it’s all on him”
Rousseau wasn’t the only Hurricanes’ player to have his shots go down on Friday, though. Fellow guard Matt Koperniak was also sharp from behind the arc, knocking down three triples in the first half on his way to tying Rousseau with a game-high 14 points. The crisp ball movement from the perimeter helped the visitors solve Drury’s zone defense and provided Hoosac the opportunity to get open looks.
“We haven’t been getting much offense at all, but we really broke out today,” Koperniak said. “We played as hard as we could, we got open shots and we made them. It’s a great feeling [when you make your threes]. It just opens up the whole game and makes things easier by taking the pressure off of our guards.”
The Hurricanes sank three of their treys in the first quarter alone, using one by senior Nate Tomkiewicz (nine points) and a pair of lay-ins by junior Peter Barrow to spark a 7-0 run to close out the frame and give Hoosac an early 14-9 lead. The Blue Devils answered right back, however, getting a conventional three-point play from point guard Nick Trombley and a 3 from Justin Girard from the left corner to retake the lead.
The first half was very entertaining for a packed house at Bucky Bullett Gymnasium, featuring seven lead changes and eight 3-pointers overall. Ultimately, a turnaround jumper from junior center Jameson Coughlan gave Hoosac a two-point lead at the break. Coughlan had a modest eight points on the night, but was a force on the boards with a game-high 14 rebounds.
Six of those rebounds were on the offensive end, and two of them led to putbacks that seriously killed Drury’s momentum in the second half. After a short jump shot by senior Cameron Lesure helped even the score at 30 points apiece midway through the third quarter, Coughlan scored on putback to give the ’Canes the lead again. Koperniak then got a long rebound and went the length of the floor to score on a lay-up to give Hoosac a four-point lead heading into the fourth.
“Defensively, we didn’t play great,” Blue Devils head coach Jack Racette said. “We made a lot of mental mistakes early. We picked who we wanted to shoot them. Hats off to Rousseau, but Koperniak and Tomkiewicz shouldn’t get their shots off. We gave up some big offensive rebounds when the game was close in the third and fourth quarter.”
Coughlan scored on another putback to start the Hurricanes’ scoring in the fourth quarter, and the game started to look like it was getting away from Drury when junior Avery Hall nailed a three on Hoosac’s next trip up the court. The Devils answered right back on consecutive buckets by Hayden Bird and Kareen Beckett, however, trimming a seven-point deficit down to three. Rousseau quickly responded with his final three of the night, though, and Coughlan followed that up with a finish inside to bump the lead right back up to seven points.
A technical foul call on Beckett with 3:33 remaining was the final dagger for Drury, who was outscored by the Hurricanes 11-1 in the middle of the fourth quarter. The game was quite the opposite of Drury’s six-point win in Cheshire three weeks ago. In that game, the Devils executed well on offense, while Hoosac shot just 7 of 32 from the 3-point line.
“We packed it in, and they made shots and we didn’t,” Racette said. “We rattled a lot in and out, but we just couldn’t get the flow of our offense going. Their zone affected us a lot, and we couldn’t get a good attack in it, so hats off to them.”
Friday’s outcome leaves both Drury and Hoosac with identical 12-7 records with one more game left in the season. Although the Blue Devils were playing for the season sweep on Senior Night, it was clear the Hurricanes had a ton of motivation to play well, one to avoid the sweep to their bitter rivals and the other to get back in the winning column after a pair of tough, hard-fought losses to Pittsfield and Taconic recently.
“It’s big for us to get back on that winning streak,” Robinson said. “To start something different instead of losing three or four in a row before tournament time. We faced some pressure tonight. Somebody said it’s been 20 years since they’ve beat us twice [in a season]. That was important, and we laid that on them tonight.
“We had to play better, and I thought we did that tonight.”
NOTES: Koperniak also chipped in with five rebounds and five assists. Bird, Beckett and Lesure led Drury with nine points apiece, while Girard chipped in with eight points and seven boards. Both teams face tough tests in their final games. Hoosac plays at Lenox on Tuesday night, while the Devils visit Pittsfield on the same night.