Late 3 Trips McCann Tech in Season Opener

By Stephen Sports
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TURNERS FALLS, Mass. – Ware’s Camden Balicki knocked down a 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds on the clock to complete a fourth-quarter comeback and give his team a 41-39 win over McCann Tech on Thursday in the first round of the Eagle Holiday Classic at Franklin Tech.
After a pair of timeouts, the Hornets got a desperation try at the try by Jacob Howland at the buzzer from about 35 feet that hit the back of the iron.
McCann Tech had taken the game’s biggest lead at 33-26 early in the fourth when Howland knocked down a 3 on his way to a game-high 17 points.
But the Eagles fought back into the contest, doing a lot of damage at the foul line, where they were 5-for-8 down the stretch.
Balicki scored three at the charity stripe in the fourth and eight of his team-high 13 in that quarter.
Despite the disappointing ending and the overall tough night finding the bottom of the net, McCann Tech coach Chris Bullett was encouraged by what he saw from his team, especially considering the last time they were on a floor in McCann Tech uniforms was February 2020.
“I was happy with a lot of things,” Bullett said. “We only have one guy [Owen Gagne] who has played varsity, so we’re trying to get everybody comfortable and moving in the flow of the offense.
“The motion looked good. Our spacing was good. Passing was good. I can’t complain about that. I just need them to be a little more aggressive. Right at the end of the play, we don’t want to shoot. It’s good that we’re making the extra pass, but at the same time we’ve got to want to put the ball i n the basket.”
A game that ended, effectively, on a Ware 3-pointer, began with one from McCann Tech’s Walter Mazza. Mazza then set up Howland for his first 3 to give the Hornets a 6-0 lead out of the gate. The lead grew to seven on a triple by Howland late in the quarter to make it 11-4, but Ware drew within a bucket at the end of the quarter and took a brief two-point lead late in a low-scoring first half.
It was 19-18, McCann Tech, at the break, and the Hornets led by as many as five in the third quarter when Cole Boisvert fed Gagne for a bucket in the post to make it 28-23.
Gagne scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half.
“We need that from Owen,” Bullett said. “He’s our one guy with experience, and we need him at times like that when the game is in doubt to carry us. He steps up. He’s a good leader. And throughout the course of the season, I think you’ll see more and more from him.”
Ware got back within two points at the end of the third, but the Hornets opened the fourth with five straight – a pair of Gagne free throws and a Howland triple – to lead again by seven at 33-26.
Ware whittled away, but it was still a four-point bulge at 39-35 with about a minute and a half to play after Howland drove the baseline for two.
But those were the last points for the Hornets. At the other end, meanwhile, Balicki hit the front end of a one-and-one, Carter Moorehouse made both ends of his one-and-one and Balicki drained the pressure 3 to close the scoring.
One advantage all night for the Hornets was rebounding, where they were led by Boisvert, who had seven caroms to go with four points.
“Much better than at [Monday’s Bucky Bullett] Jamboree,” Bullett said. “We spent a couple of days working on that in practice, high-pointing the ball and really attacking the ball, being aggressive. We’ve been focusing on them to get after it, and they did tonight.”
McCann Tech Friday will face tournament host Franklin Tech in the consolation game. The Eagles Friday lost to Mount Everett in the first round of the tourney.
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