McCann Tech Boys in Western Mass Tourney
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The first time the McCann Tech boys basketball team played Westfield Voc this season, it was a 22-point win for the Hornets.
One month to the day, McCann beat the Tigers, 76-41, on Thursday night in a game that was not really that close.
The Hornets jumped out to a 25-4 lead and never looked back in winning their 10th game overall and ninth in the Tri-County League, where they are in sole possession of first place.
The win sent McCann (10-5) into the Western Massachusetts tournament on a night when its starters played limited minutes.
McCann is 10-2 in its last 12 games with the two losses coming against Berkshire County opponents Lenox and Mount Greylock. And as the Hornets showed in the first half Thursday night, they are playing their best basketball of the season going into the month of February.
"We beat [Westfield Voc] by 20 the first time, but we had trouble putting them away," McCann coach Mike Nykorchuck said.
"I think [our improvement] is a tribute to two things: One, we have a lot more players knowing what their roles are, accepting them and doing them. Tonight ... in the first half, the ball movement was so much better, and we work a lot on the ball movement against zone.
"We were swinging the ball, the ball wasn't touching the floor, and it was creating open shots. As a coach, you love to run your offense without the ball touching the floor. They did that, especially in the first quarter."
Junior Shane Fuller scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in that first quarter.
He had six in the first big run of the night to establish a double-digit lead McCann never surrendered.
Fuller started the 8-0 spurt by getting to the line for two foul shots that made it 8-2. Then, after Kyle Parada (six points, game-high eight rebounds, four blocks) put back an offensive rebounds, Fuller scored twice in transitions off turnovers created by McCann's press.
Nykorchuck pulled back on the press fairly early and went deep into his bench early in the second quarter.
Nine different Hornets found their way into the scorebook. Rahmer Vincent backed up Fuller with 13 points to go with four rebounds and five steals. Reserve Chrstian Montoya scored 11 and grabbed five boards. Justin Schneider scored four points, dished out three assists and had seven rebounds.
The Hornets took a 45-20 lead into half-time and scored the first 13 points of the third quarter before things got a little sloppy.
Three different players finished with seven points each for Westfield Voc. Tyler French had seven points -- all after half-time -- and a team-high six rebounds for the visitors.
McCann travels to face St. Mary's on Monday night. With five games left, the Hornets have a chance to lock up a home game in the State Vocational tournament and are in contention for a home game in the Western Mass tourney.
But Nykorchuck is not looking that far ahead. He is more worried about what McCann still has to do to improve itself.
"Now that we're in the tournaments, we've got to be able to execute our offense consistently," he said. "If we're lucky enough to play Lenox again in Western Mass, we hung with them for three quarters. If we execute a little bit better, maybe we execute for four quarters, and who knows what happens.
"Our biggest weakness is rebounding. Part of it is our size, but we don't box out well. We're really going to work on boxing out. ... Again, as we play better teams, we're going to be undersized. The only way we're going to rebound is by boxing out."