Hampden Charter Boys End McCann Tech's Season
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- All season, the McCann Tech boys basketball team has been about playing short-handed.
On Wednesday, it came up just a little short in its quest to reach the Western Massachusetts tournament.
Inoah Lewis scored 27 points and two key runs propelled Hampden Charter to a 69-62 win that ended the Hornets' winter in their regular season finale.
McCann Tech, which seldom had its full team on the floor this year due to injury and illness, went into Wednesday's must-win game at the Dunbar Community Center without seniors Darius and Darian Tovani, who were in street clothes.
"It's kind of been up and down the last two months with injury, sickness, everything and then just trying to put it together," McCann Tech coach Chris Bullett said. "I'm proud of the guys that played tonight. We had guys -- Cole [Boisvert] is off the JV team a month ago, and he played great and gave it his all."
"I'm not trying ot make excuses, but without our two best defenders and probably the guys who gave us the most energy, it was hard. I'm happy that the guys stepped up, and we got good performances from pretty much everybody else tonight who played. I mean, everybody did the best they could."
The outcome was similar to a 67-59 loss to the Wolves in North Adams last week.
This time around, the Hornets were within one or two possessions most of the fourth quarter after sustaining a gut punch to open the second half.
McCann Tech actually led big early, using a 13-3 run that spanned the first and second quarters to take a 26-15 advantage when Bruce Davis (17 points, eight rebounds) knocked down a 3-pointer with an assist from Nick LaForest (17 points, seven rebounds.
That made it 26-15 with 5 minutes, 25 seconds left until half-time.
But Hampden turned that score around quickly with a 16-0 run that included three buckets by Lewis.
"That's why he's got 1,000 points," Bullett said of the Hampden Charter senior. "He's a good player. We had a plan going in, but it's hard. Once he gets going downhill, it's super hard. I would have liked to step in there and take charges, but he avoids charges.
"He's tough, and they've got to go to him in the tournament."
Colby Ranck scored 14 and had a game-high 12 rebounds for the Wolves. Curen'cee Smith (eight points) capped Hampden Charter's second quarter run with a pair of free throws to make it 31-26.
The Hornets got back within three points at half-time thanks to baskets by Davis and Sean Sumner (11 points).
Hampden Charter started the third quarter with a 12-2 spurt to open up another double-digit lead at 45-35.
The Hornets quickly closed to within six on one of Davis' five 3-pointers, and that set the tone for the second half, when McCann Tech kept getting close but could never quite get over the hump.
"Our guys don't quit," Bullett said. "It's just a matter of needing that next guy to make a basket when everybody gets tired to get ahead instead of just getting it back to four down.
"It seemed like it went from like four seven to nine about five times there, and we could never get it past four. So that one extra basket that we needed to get it down to one and maybe get another one after that and get ahead ... "
When Lucas Jamros put back his own miss with abou three minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Hornets were within give at 65-60. But Ranck answered with a bucket in the post, and Lewis hit a pullup jumper to quickly get the cushion back to nine.
The Hornets scored the game's last five points but ran out of time at the end after Connor Griswold (nine points) hit a 3 in the closing seconds.