Morrison, Wahconah Boys Grind Out Win Over Greylock
DALTON, Mass. -- Through three quarters on Monday night, Cole Morrison had six points and, not coincidentally, the Wahconah boys basketball team trailed Mount Greylock by five.
In the fourth quarter, Wahconah woke the sleeping giant.
Morrison scored six in the final eight minutes to lead his team to a 42-38 win.
The difference, Wahconah coach Dustin Belcher said, was not what the 6-foot-4 Morrison did but what his teammates started doing to get him the ball in the post.
"Our angles weren't very good early on," Belcher said. "I thought we did a better job getting passing angles. It helps when everyone else is moving, and we did a better job cutting and moving and spacing than we did early.
"I'm definitely proud of the way we played in the fourth quarter, but we've got to be more consistent about it and put four quarters together."
Morrison set the tone for the fourth quarter by scoring in the post on Wahconah's first possession. That sparked a 9-2 run that he capped with another bucket underneath to give his team a 35-33 lead, its first since midway through the second quarter.
Mount Greylock (2-1) got within one point on three occasions and had the ball with a chance to take the lead when Max Joy grabbed a defensive rebound with 56 seconds on the clock and Wahconah ahead, 39-38.
But Matt Schneider grabbed one of his six rebounds with 36 seconds on the clock, and the Mounties were forced to start fouling to get Wahconah to the line.
After the third foul, the Mounties finally got Wahconah into the bonus, and Luke Steinman (nine points) drained both ends of a one-and-one to make it 41-38 with 21.7 seconds left.
Mount Greylock's shot the next time down rimmed out, and Joey Lavinio grabbed the rebound. He dribbled in the back court until he was fouled with 6 seconds left, and he hit the front end of a one-and-one to provide the final margin.
"I thought our kids played hard," Mount Greylock coach Bob Thistle said. "We missed a couple of shots down the stretch and turned the ball over. But I credit Wahconah. It's their home opener and a tight game.
"If our kids play this hard all year, we'll be alright. We have 17 more games to go. I liked the effort we put out there. We just didn't finish the game, that's all."
Patrick Storie finished with a game-high 13 for Mount Greylock. Sam Dils scored seven and passed out four assists. Sean McCormack grabbed 12 rebounds and was part of the solution inside, along with Zach Ronnow and Joy, in keeping Morrison's offensive touches to a minimum in the first 24 minutes.
"They're a big team, and Morrison is a tough player," Thistle said. "We tried to be physical with him and put bodies on people.
"If someone said we'd give up 42 points, I'd expect we'd win the game. We didn't quite finish shots, but I am pleased with the defensive effort our kids put out there."
Morrison ended up with a game-high 12 to go with nine rebounds. Schneider scored eight and passed out four assists.
Defensively, Wahconah (3-2) held an opponent to fewer than 40 points for the third time this season.
"That's going to be our calling card," Belcher said. "We've got to D-up every night. We haven't scored a lot of points this year.
"That's going to be who we are, at least for now until we clean some stuff up. We've got to do a better job of executing. Part of that is our youth, and we'll improve on that stuff. But until we do, we have to continue playing good defense."
Wahconah hosts Bennington, Vt.'s, Mount Anthony in an independent game on Wednesday. Mount Greylock travels to Pitsfield on Monday.