Coughlan Leads 'Canes Past Drury Boys

By Stephen Sports
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Hoosac Valley boys basketball coach Bill Robinson said the best thing about Jameson Coughlan is that he is a sophomore.
Perhaps most of the time. But on Friday night against Drury, the best thing about Coughlan was his rebounding, followed closely by his scoring.
Coughlan scored 21 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, and Hoosac used a 9-0 fourth-quarter run to earn a 66-53 win over the Blue Devils in Bucky Bullett Gymnasium.
"Jameson had a huge game," Hoosac senior Sean Ryan-Kut said. "He couldn't be stopped on the boards. I don't know how many points he had, but he's a real asset to our team and an important player."
Coughlan credited Hoosac's coaches with helping him make the most of his 6-foot-1 frame.
"Coach always stresses we've got to box out," Coughlan said. "That's how we start our practices every day, boxing out - box out drills. He can't stress that enough, and we take that to heart."
Matt Braman scored 13 points, including seven at the line and five on one key sequence midway through the fourth quarter.
With Hoosac ahead, 56-51, Braman drove to the basket from the right wing, hit his shot and got fouled. Then Drury was assessed a technical foul on the play, giving the Hurricanes two more foul shots.
Braman completed the conventional three-point play and hit both technicals to make it 61-51 with 3 minutes, 7 seconds on the clock and effectively put the game out of reach.
Robinson said he had noticed that Drury defenders were moving into position a hair late defensively, and the 'Canes got the block call on what turned out to be the biggest posession of the game.
"I don't know if it was because I was barking about it or not, but that was a perfect example," Robinson said. "Braman leapt here, and the Drury kid was still coming across the lane."
The Blue Devils (4-10, 0-3 North) jumped out to 6-0 lead and led most of the first half thanks largely to the 3-point shooting of Tyler Briggs and Kareen Beckett, who combined for five of Drury's six triples at half-time.
Drury's long-range shooting led to some adjustments by the 'Canes.
"We run multiple defenses," Ryan-Kut said. "We adjust to what they're doing to us. They started out hitting a lot of threes, so we altered our defense to try to take away what they were trying to do."
It was a Nate Tomkiewicz 3 that helped give Hoosac (8-1, 2-0) a 32-28 lead at half-time.
But Drury kept coming at the 'Canes in the second half, mounting a 9-4 run to take a 37-36 lead and a 7-2 spurt to make it 49-48 early in the fourth quarter.
Drury's Nick Trombley hit a 3 to make it 53-51 with 5:30 on the clock before Hoosac went on the 9-0 run fueled by Braman's "five-point play."
Drury coach Jack Racette said his team's inexperience contributed to its fourth-quarter woes, as it has several times this year.
Another big difference: the play of Coughlan in the post.
"We got killed on the boards," Racette said. "We got absolutely annihilated on the boards. That was the difference in the game, I think.
"They're just physically bigger than us. We're not a big, physical team by any stretch. We're small, and I think they wore us down."
Briggs led Drury with 11 points. Justin Girard and Alex Heck each scored 10; Girard added a team-high seven rebounds.
It was the sixth straight loss for Drury. Hoosac won its third straight and made it a very happy birthday for Robinson.
"I don't like it," Robinson said when asked how he feels about the rivalry game coinciding with his birthday. "It's happened a few times in 23 years, believe it or not.
"But it's fun. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else, to be honest with you. I love this. This is what it's all about: playing a game like this against good, quality competition like this with a bunch of kids who just go out there for the spirit of the game. It's awesome."
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