Cobb Scores 30 as Mount Greylock Secures State Tourney Berth

By Stephen Sports
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – Senior Desmond Cobb got Mount Greylock started from behind the 3-point line on Tuesday night.
The Mounties finished at the foul line.
And, in the end, Cobb’s 30 points were key in leading the Mounties past Easthampton, 63-51, to earn a berth in the Division 4 State Tournament.
Cobb drained six of Mount Greylock’s nine 3-pointers to lead his team to its fourth straight win – third at home – and its 10th win of the season as Mount Greylock moved back over the .500 mark at 10-9 with one game left, Thursday at Pathfinder.
Cobb accounted for 12 of Mount Greylock’s first 17 points, all on triples, to build a 17-7 lead early on.
“They run 2-3,” Cobb said of the Eagles’ defense. “We’re a shooting team, so we like to shoot against 2-3. I knew I could keep shooting even if I missed.”
Cobb did not miss much in the first half, when he made six 3-pointers and scored 22 points.
He capped the half with a triple from the right wing off an assist from Noah Kane-Smalls to put Mount Greylock ahead, 39-28.
Smalls finished with 10 points and three assists. Brady Auger scored 11, and Judge Martin compiled 13 rebounds and four assists to lead Mount Greylock.
“From the neck up, we maybe played one of our best games, to be honest with you,” Mount Greylock coach Tommy Verdell said. “There was maybe one or two shots where I was like, ‘Eh, that’s not a good one.’ Because I’m cool with the kids shooting 3s. We work on it. We practice it. We know what kind each person can take and make. And we got good looks. We didn’t make all of them.
“But from the neck down, we didn’t play with the same juice that we had. I don’t know – vacation, 5 o’clock start, who knows? But like I told them in the locker room, it’s hard to win. And we celebrate every win because we know it’s hard to win, and good teams find a way to win whatever it is that day. The game started out one way in the first quarter and it morphed into this whole different thing in the second, third, fourth quarters. And guess what? We managed to outscore the other team.”
Midway through the third quarter, Mount Greylock went on a 6-0 spurt to take a 17-point lead with fewer than nine minutes left to play.
First, Kane-Smalls hit a free throw. Then Nolan Barnes made all three of his free throws after being fouled beyond the arc. Finally, a steal by Auger led to his lay-up to make it 49-32.
But Easthampton did not go away.
The Eagles scored a field goal right before the end of the quarter and opened the fourth by continuing a 10-0 run to get within five points with 5:05 left to play.
Easthampton drew within four when Anthony Incampo (12 points, 13 rebounds) scored in the post to make it 53-49 with about two minutes left to play.
The Mounties allowed just one more Easthampton basket the rest of the way.
Cobb had a steal and Ward Bianchi stole the ball twice in the final minutes to help close the door.
Meanwhile, the Mounties made 4 of their eight free throws to help gradually rebuild the lead. Cobb also drove to the basket for two in the halfcourt and scored in transition in Mount Greylock’s closing 10-2 run.
“It feels good,” Verdell said of reaching the state tournament. “I feel good for the whole collective – new coach coming in, they had a great season last year, so some people could have had expectations even though we’re a totally new team.
“But to get back to the tournament, it says something. I mean, especially with the road we’ve been given. We’ve managed to find ways to be good enough when we need to to give ourselves a chance to add games to our schedule. And that’s what we talked about the beginning of the season: Let’s play well enough that we can add games to our schedule. So we’ve got the 21st game, and, hopefully, we can get another one after that.”
Mount Greylock first plays game No. 20 on Thursday in Palmer with one more chance to improve its seed in the Division 5 bracket scheduled to be released on Saturday.
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