Spartans Hold Off Hoosac Valley, Stay Unbeaten

By Stephen Sports
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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. – The Monument Mountain boys basketball team led wire-to-wire in Thursday’s rematch with Hoosac Valley.
But the Hurricanes made things interesting down the stretch.
After trailing by as many as 20 midway through the third quarter, Hoosac Valley battled back to cut the margin to nine when Frank Field drove to the basket from the right wing to make it 65-56 with fewer than three minutes left in the fourth.
But on the Spartans’ next possession, Manny Brown knocked down an NBA-range 3-pointer to put the Spartans up by 12 with 2 minutes, 27 seconds remaining.
And Monument Mountain went on to a 74-59 win.
Brown finished with a game-high 25 points, and Khalil Carlson had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds as Monument Mountain ran its record to 12-0 with its second victory this month over its Bi-County East Division rival.
The end result was the same as their meeting in Cheshire at the beginning of the month, but it was a much different game this time around.
“A little better than last time,” Hoosac Valley coach Bill Robinson said. “We made some adjustments, we tried some things, and they helped us out a little bit.
“But, man, they’re good. They’re just good.”
Both programs have been good this winter.
While Monument Mountain started the day as the No. 4-ranked team statewide in Division 4, Hoosac Valley is ranked third in Division 5, and it now has two losses, both to the Spartans.
In addition to Brown and Carlson, the Spartans got 13 points and eight rebounds from Griffin McElroy.
Field finished with 23 points and a game-high 17 boards for the Hurricanes (8-2), who got 10  points from Joey McGovern.
Monument Mountain got off to a hot start with an 8-0 run to start the game.
The Hurricanes recovered and cut the margin to five at 18-13 on one of Field’s four first-quarter buckets. But the Spartans closed with a 6-0 spurt that featured two baskets by Carlson and a transition score from Brown to take a 24-13 lead into the second quarter.
Monument’s early success keyed on its press, which produced several turnovers that led to easy scoring chances in the first eight minutes.
“We talked about coming in tonight playing 32 minutes of hard, focused … and we were anything but coming out of the locker room,” Robinson said. “It was the same show we saw at Hoosac: We buckled to their pressure, wrong guys in wrong positions, so guys don’t know what they’re doing and doing the wrong thing. Then we got ‘em set and they’re doing the right thing, and we’re throwing over the top.”
The Spartans extended their lead to 17 points by the end of the second quarter. McElroy hit a triple, and Isaiah Keefner (six points) scored in transition down the stretch in a 5-0 spurt to send Monument Mountain into the locker room up, 43-26.
A Sean Scarbro 3 gave Monument Mountain a 20-point margin midway through the third quarter, but Hoosac Valley closed the quarter on a 9-2 run that included a conventional three-point play from Trevor Moynihan (seven points) to get within 13 at 56-43.
With 5:35 left in the fourth, Brown connected from behind the 3-point arc to give Monument Mountain a 65-50 margin, but Hoosac Valley scored the next six.
First, Adan Wicks (nine points) put back an offensive rebound. Then Wicks drove to the basket and drew a hard foul; Will Hakes hit his two free throws to get Hoosac within 11. Then Field scored to get the margin down to single digits for the first time since late in the first.
But Brown’s third 3-pointer of the quarter was a dagger.
“NBA? He shot it from Russia,” Robinson said of that triple from the left side. “But that’s who they are. They’re good.”
Monument Mountain coach Randy Koldys had mixed emotions about the play.
“That was huge right there,” Koldys said. “Sometimes, I’m glad for the 3, but it’s like, ‘No, no, no … great shot.’ Because we had like 25 seconds left in the shot clock. So I thought maybe we should work clock.
“But I’ll take responsibility. We haven’t done a good job working on game situations. That’s on me. We’re going to work a lot on those, especially coming up next week.”
Monument Mountain, which is home against Southwick on Friday night, faces perhaps its biggest challenge of the winter on Tuesday when it plays its last road game of the regular season at reigning state champion Taconic, currently the second-ranked team in Division 3 according to the latest MIAA in-season power rankings.
Hoosac Valley is home on Friday against Ware.
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