Palmer Boys Knock Off Mount Greylock in Western Mass Final
AMHERST, Mass. -- The Palmer boys basketball team defeated Mount Greylock, 49-42, Saturday in the Western Mass Division 3 finals at Curry Hicks Cage.
Matt Niemczura led the way for Palmer (22-1) with 21 points, Including five 3-pointers.
Ryan McCarthy added 11, While Dylan Tenczar had eight.
For Mount Greylock (18-7), freshman Toby Foehl had a big night scoring 17, and Sean McCormack contributed with 12.
It has been a long wait for the Palmer Panthers to call themselves Western Mass Boys Champions, But on Saturday the wait is over. After 50 years The Panthers can call themselves champions again.
In a bit of an unconventional game for Palmer, it was able to get the job done only scoring 49 points. A team that usually gets up in the 60s, if not 70s was able to take control of the game and slow it down when the time called for it.
Mount Greylock got off to a nice start scoring five straight points to get things going, but Palmer answered right back, taking an 11-8 lead at the end of the quarter. Toby Foehl had six of the eight first quarter points for Mount Greylock and would go on to play big the rest of the game.
Right out of the break, Sean McCormack hit a 3-pointer from the corner to tie the game up at 11, But Palmer continued to control the offensive glass, giving the Panthers numerous offensive rebounds for second chances. Palmer eventually ended the half on a 5-0 run after being tied 16-16 to take a 21-16 lead. Even with that run at the end of the half, Mount Greylock still held them to only 21 points, something that Mounties coach Bob Thistle would have been happy with.
“If you told me before the game we would hold them to forty-nine points, This is a very high scoring team," Thistle said. “We are disappointed, But we did everything we could to switch defensive to throw them off guard a little bit. I just want to tip my cap to Palmer and to their coach for a great season, but I couldn’t be prouder of my kids.”
Second half action started with a strong push from Palmer as it opened its lead to double-digits. Just like all season long, Mount Greylock had an answer of its own. Pat Storie got a nice drive to the hoop followed by a 3-point shot forcing Palmer into a timeout. From there on out, it was all Palmer with a couple big 3s from Niemczura to eventually close the game out.
It was a great year for Mount Greylock, which started off the season slow but progressed and eventually peaked at the right times. It was a No. 5 seed going into the tournament, but played like they were a top seed throughout. If there was a bright spot to look at going forward it was the emergence of Toby Foehl on the biggest stage in Western Mass.
“It's hard to think about tomorrow and next year right now, but we lose two seniors and in the last six years we have been here three times," Thistle said. "A freshman coming up in this environment in this venue to have 17 -- that's huge.”