Mount Greylock Boys Pull Away From McCann Late
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A bad week for the Mount Greylock boys' basketball team almost got worse on Saturday night, but the Mounties blew open a tight game with McCann Tech in the second half on their way to a 62-37 win at The Hive.
Greylock (6-2) started the season off by winning its first five games, but double-digit losses to Hoosac Valley and Pittsfield earlier this week had Bob Thistle's squad searching for answers. The Mounties were still scratching their heads in the first half, as the Hornets opened up a quick 8-2 lead out of the gate.
Junior Collin Racette was lethal from behind the arc in the first two quarters, knocking down three triples on his way to a game-high 13 first-half points.
"Collin was on fire for a little bit," McCann head coach Mike Nykorchuck said. "For whatever reason, Collin has his best games against Mount Greylock. He had 17 against them the last time we played. I couldn't be happier with how we executed in the first half."
With an edge in both rebounding and turnovers in the first half, McCann (5-3) was able to maintain its lead throughout the first quarter and even stretched it to a seven-point cushion when senior forward Cody O'Neil scored on a transition lay up midway through the second frame. Greylock's defense began to stiffen, however, and the visitors showed they could knock down some 3s as well, as Patrick Storie and Emmett Shepard both connected from downtown to spark a 13-4 run to end the half and give the Mounties a 28-26 lead at the break.
"We gave them different looks and changed our defenses in both halves, but we just did a better job collectively defensively in the second half," Thistle said. "The kids hung in there. We knew this team would be tough here, we know how well coached they are and we knew they would be hungry for the game.
"We felt like [our team] gave us a great effort in the first half, but the kids made a commitment to defense in the second half, just talking more and getting on the glass."
When these two teams met 11 days ago, it was a poor fourth quarter for the Hornets that led to a close game turning into a 21-point win for Greylock at home. Unfortunately for McCann, history repeated itself on Saturday night. Things started to unravel for the hosts in the third quarter when Racette and fellow guard Shane Fuller (eight points, four boards) went cold from behind the arc. After combining for 18 of their team's 26 points in the first half, the duo only managed three points after halftime.
"For our team to be successful, we have to shoot the 3 well, especially against these teams because we just don't match up physically down low," Nykorchuck said. "I've never seen Shane have a shooting night like this before. I think if Shane has a normal shooting night we probably stay in it right through."
While the Hornets' scorers went cold in the second half, Mounties' forwards Ian Brink and Mike McCormack started to heat up. Brink scored nine of his 10 points in the third quarter, helping Greylock turn a one-point deficit into a 12-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
After scoring a team-high 10 points in the first half, McCormack helped seal the victory with a pair of 3s from the left corner in the second half. He finished with a game-high 16 points to go along with seven rebounds, while Brink and Shepard were also key on the boards with a team-high 10 rebounds apiece.
"We've had a couple of bad quarters this week, but it's nice to end on a good note with this one tonight," Thistle said. "This is our first road win, and we're happy to be 6-2. I think this group just needed to push through the noise of the crowd and the fact that [McCann] came out and shot well because they have three great guards.
"It was just a great team effort overall."
The Hornets, who also received a nice outing from Rahmer Vincent with six points and game-high 13 rebounds, will next play at Pioneer Valley Christian School at 7 p.m. on Monday. The Mounties, meanwhile, will play at North County rival Drury at 7:30 p.m. the same evening.