Hoosac's Coughlan Scores 1,000th in Road Win

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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DALTON, Mass. -- Jameson Coughlan went into Friday night's game at Wahconah needing just two points to reach 1,000 for his career.
But he had to work hard to get them.
Coughlan got the ball in the high post, banged with Wahconah's Cole Morrison, kicked the ball out, set a pick, got the return pass from Avery Hall and finally went to the rack for the first points of an eventual 52-42 Hoosac Valley victory.
It was only fitting that Coughlan had to work for the points. Hard work has been a hallmark of his game.
"As a coach, that's a special moment for any kid, and for that kid -- I wouldn't call him a quintessential basketball player," Hoosac coach Bill Robinson said. "He's a football player who is a linebacker and lineman. He comes out here and shows some grace and some ability, but he's worked his butt off.
"He's just a tough kid. He hangs around the basket. I'm just proud of that kid. He's a terrific kid. It's a great moment as a coach."
Coughlan went on to score five more points, grab nine rebounds and dish out an assist for the Hurricanes, who were led by Matt Koperniak's 21 points.
But much of the crowd filling Ed Ladley Gymnasium to capacity -- the ones wearing red -- did their loudest cheering just 3 minutes, 31 seconds into the game, when Coughlan etched his name into Berkshire County basketball lore.
Afterward, he was quick to point out that no one gets into the 1,000-point club by himself or herself.
"It means a lot to me, it's pretty cool," Coughlan said. "There are not a lot of people who have done it. It's not a self-accomplishment. My teammates do so much.
"Really, I can't thank them enough. They do so much for me to get easy layups. I probably should have had a lot more than a thousand points with all the missed layups I had. They set me up pretty good."
After a brief ceremony at center court, Hoosac and Wahconah got down to the main business of the night, and it was soon apparent that everyone on the floor had one thing in common with Coughlan: Their points would be hard to come by.
The Hurricanes' defense was especially stingy in the first half as Hoosac went to the locker room with a 22-13 lead.
Fifteen of those points came from  Koperniak, who drove to the basket on Hoosac's last two possessions of the first half to push the lead to nine.
Even Koperniak had trouble finding openings in te second half. He went without a field goal after the break but did go six-for-eight from the foul line in the last minute to seal the win.
"He was geting a lot of open looks after he passed the ball on the ball screen," Wahconah coach Belcher said of Koperniak's first half. "We were getting too relaxed with him. He didn't have the ball in his hands anymore, and we kind of took a breath, and he beat us to the hoop.
"So we were able to talk to the guys about staying focused the entire possession, all the way through the rebound. And I thought they did a better job of that for sure."
Wahconah (7-10) battled to within two points with 2:47 left in the third quarter when Joe Lavinio converted a conventional three-point play to make it 33-31. Shane Sinopoli scored seven points and Matt Schneider and Cole Morrison added six and four, respectively, in a third quarter that ended with Hoosac up by just three.
But Mat Carlow set up Dahndray Sistrunk for a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter. And before that quarter was three minutes old, Sistrunk drove the lane for a bucket to make it 45-35.
Wahconah hung tough, getting the lead down to five with a minute left, but Koperniak's foul-shooting extended the final margin back to 10.
That allowed the Hoosac fans to celebrate all over again -- with a win over one of the school's rivals to go along with Coughlan's big night.
"I don't know that we've ever had a center that good," Robinson said. "[Robbie] Burke wasn't a center. [Coughlan] is just a true center."
And ever since sitting down with 30 points in the fourth quarter against Taconic on Tuesday, Coughlan was the center of attention.
"Our school and our community did pretty well for me," Coughlan said. "They were pretty hyped for this. ... A million people in school, that's all they've been saying to me.
"This [visiting crowd] shows you how great our community is with sports. It's not just basketball, it's all sports. Hoosac fans travel well."
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