Seniors Lead Lee Boys Past Greylock
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — After the Mount Greylock Regional High School boys basketball team obliterated a nine-point deficit in the first 1 minute, 38 seconds of the fourth quarter, the Lee Wildcats needed a lift.
Kenny Retzel delivered.
Retzel knocked down a 3-point shot to regain the lead and spur the visitors to a 59-56 victory on Thursday night in a game that was "preponed" from Friday to avoid the coming blizzard.
Retzel finished with 17 points — 11 in the second half — and his senior teammate Jake LePrevost poured in 19 to go with 11 rebounds and six steals as Lee won its fifth straight to improve to 9-7 this season.
"We have faith in each other," Retzel said. "We come together when we face adversity. We really hit our shots when we needed them. That's all I can really say."
There was enough adversity to go around Thursday night in the Mountie Dome. Each team was missing a couple of players due to illness. Perhaps no absence was more obvious than that of all-league candidate Tyrell Thomas for the Mounties (14-3).
But both teams rose above those challenges and put on well-played, entertaining contest.
No one led by double digits until Retzel put back an offensive rebound with 2:33 left in the third quarter. It was a nine-point margin when Heamon Williams (12 points, 13 rebounds) converted an offensive rebound in transition on the last play of the third to make it 47-38.
But the Mounties were not ready to let go of an 11-game winning streak that easily.
Tyler Picard scored two a bucket in the paint, and Hank Barrett (24 points) had a steal and a lay-in to make it a five-point game before Lee took its first shot of the fourth. Then, after Brett McCormack rebounded that shot, Eric Hirsch set up Barrett for a 3-pointer to get the Mounties within two.
Another Lee turnover led to Nathan Majumder's putback with 6:22 left to make it 47-47, the game's first tie since early in the third.
Mount Greylock went on to take leads at 53-50 and 55-53, but LePrevost stole the ball on three of Mount Greylock's next four possessions while the Wildcats regained the lead.
It was 57-56 with 36 seconds left when Barrett stole the ball in the backcourt and drew contact going to the basket, but he was called for traveling instead, and the Wildcats took advantage.
LePrevost drove to the basket from the right wing at the other end to put his team up three with 17.2 seconds on the clock. And after a non-shooting foul with 6.5 seconds left, Mount Greylock set up a final play that was well defended, leading to a desparation 3 by Barrett that rimmed out as the horn sounded.
"Jake's a fantastic all-around player," Lee coach Dan Korte said of LePrevost. "And they did a really good job containing him defensively tonight, I thought. They made it difficult for him to get his shots.
"But Jake is the type of player who will find a way to impact the game. If it's not scoring — if you take that away — he's going to find a way to impact the game. He did it with his defense, he did it with his rebounding, and he did it with finding open men tonight. I think that was a key thing."
Another key for the 'Cats: 3-point shooting.
Lee finished with nine makes from beyond the arc. Four different Wildcats hit a triple; Retzel had five.
"Kenny's a great shooter," Korte said. "He's had a tough year shooting the basketball, but the last couple of games he's started to come alive. ... We don't win this game without Kenny shooting the ball the way he did tonight.
"He provided a huge lift, and that's what senior leaders are supposed to do. I'm really proud of him for doing that tonight."
And Mount Greylock, which hosts Mount Everett on Tuesday before a Friday rematch with St. Joseph, also has some things to be proud of in defeat. Namely, the Mounties can take pride in the fact that they did not make excuses or hang their heads when one of their key players was out of the lineup or when they went down by 10 late in the third.
"I think we tried all night long to make adjustments defensively," Mount Greylock coach Bob Thistle said. "We held them under 60, but I give Lee credit. They shot the ball very, very well.
"We ran a bunch of different looks, and we ran into a hot-shooting team tonight. ... When you look at the journey of a season, you're going to have, obviously, highs and lows. We had won 11 straight ballgames. We're proud of that, but you've got to come out ready to play every night. I think our kids played hard. I have no problem with our effort.
"We just didn't finish, and Lee shot very well. You put all that together, and you get a three-point loss."
Lee hosts St. Joe on Tuesday.