Brown's Passing, Hanavan's Defense Key Monument Boys' Win
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- After trailing all night to Monument Mountain on Friday night, the Mount Greylock boys basketball team had a little something going midway through the fourth quarter.
Toby Foehl set up Derek Paris for a 3-pointer, and Foehl knocked down a triple of his own to get the Mounties within eight at 54-46 with about four minutes left. In between those baskets, Monument’s Dion Brown drew his fourth personal foul, and the Mount Greylock student section had come to life.
Then, Brown took over.
First, he set up Connor Hanavan for a corner 3. Then, after a Nicholas Robbins steal at the other end, Brown fired a pass to Zach Goffin in the post, and Goffin converted to get the lead back to 13 points with just less than three minutes left to play.
“Five big points for us right there,” Monument Mountain coach Randy Koldys said. “Five points that we really needed. We needed to stem the tide a little bit.
“I was waiting for that run to come, because you know you’re going to get a run from them with Toby [Foehl] and Derek [Paris], the way they shoot the ball. And we weathered the storm tonight.”
Brown went on to hit four straight free throws in the last two minutes on his way to scoring eight of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter.
Goffin scored 14 for the Spartans, who got 12 from Robbins and 11 from Hanavan.
Brown also had a team-high 14 rebounds and seven assists, including the two big assists when his team needed them the most.
“I always tell the kids when we’re in a pregame talk or a post-practice thing, I say: I wish I could play with [Brown] because if I can get myself open, he’s going to hit me,” Koldys said. “Sometimes, we just have to tell kids: Do your work early, because he’s going to hit you.
“He’s a very unselfish player. He could have gone for a lot more points tonight if he wanted to, but he doesn’t. He makes everyone else better.”
It was a five-point Spartan lead after the first quarter, but Caden Gidarakos converted an assist from Brown for a 3-pointer that pushed it to 18-10. And after an empty trip at the other end for the Mounties, Robbins scored to give the Spartans their first double-digit lead of the night.
Monument closed the half on a 6-1 run that ended with a Gidarakos basket off a no-look pass into the post by Brown to make it 32-18 going to the locker room.
The Spartans led by as many as 17 in the third quarter, but the Mounties got back to within 10 when Foehl (13 points) scored at the end of the third to make it 47-37.
The Mount Greylock 1,000-point scorer opened the fourth quarter with a 3 to get the deficit to seven. Then he answered a seven-point Spartan spurt by setting up Paris (10 points) for a triple and connecting from beyond the arc himself to make it 54-46, setting the stage for Brown to take over down the stretch.
While Brown keyed the offense for Monument Mountain, Hanavan did yeoman’s work on the other end, battling through screens and chasing Foehl all over the court to hold him to just five points through three quarters.
“That was the best defense he played all year long and maybe his entire life,” Koldys said of Hanavan. “He was really focused on that. And he gave up some points on the other end to focus on his defense. But, you know what, that was just as important to do what he did.
“And he hit a big 3 at the end. So he had a little bit at both ends, but I was really proud of his defense.”
Monument Mountain (9-4, 5-1 Berkshire County South Division) is home on Saturday night with a chance to pick up its 10th win and secure a Western Massachusetts tournament berth when it hosts Wahconah.
Mount Greylock (9-6, 3-2) goes to Mount Everett on Tuesday before hosting the Eagles on Saturday.
“We didn’t get in the tournament last year, and now we’re one away,” Mount Greylock coach Bob Thistle said. “We’re going to try and take care of that next week. We’re going to punch our ticket, and if we keep working, we don’t care who we face in the tournament.
“You don’t have to beat all the teams in the Western Mass tournament. You have to beat the team in front of you. And I don’t care what the Walker System says. I don’t care where they’re going to put us seeding-wiseI just know we played Murdock. We played Taconic and these Berkshire County teams, Wahconah, Monument, etc. And that’s what prepares you.
“Our kids’ heads are up, and they’ll keep coming. But we tip our cap to Monument. They’re a good team.”