Hoosac Valley Boys Edge Pittsfield in Finale

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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CHESHIRE, Mass.  — Seldom has a game that featured two missed free throws and a missed lay-up in the last 10 seconds been so entertaining.
Jameson Coughlan scored 15 points and grabbed 11 second-half rebounds to lead the Hoosac Valley High School boys basketball game to a wild, 70-69, comeback win over Pittsfield on Wednesday in the regular season finale for both teams.
The Hurricanes (14-6) trailed by seven after the first quarter and by six at half-time but went on a 10-0 run to start a second half that featured 10 ties and seven lead changes.
It all came down to the closing seconds in front of a raucous crowd  that rivaled anything either team will see in next week's Western Massachusetts tournament play.
Hoosac's faithful let out one of the biggest cheers of the night when Trevor Alibozek hit Matt Koperniak with a cross-court pass into the left wing corner, and the sophomore drained a 3-pointer to put the Hurricanes up, 70-66, with 27 seconds on the clock.
But the fun was just beginning.
Amancho Adopo (10 points) hit a triple on Pittsfield's next possession for his seventh point of the fourth quarter.
After a timeout for Pittsfield (17-3), Chad Shade stripped the ball from behind in the Generals' full court press, and Adopo got to the line for a one-and-one with 9.3 seconds left.
The 1,000-point scorer and one of the most dangerous players in Berkshire County missed the front end, and Hoosac sophomore Jameson Coughlan came up with the rebound, getting fouled in the process.
Coughlan went to the line with a chance to extend the lead with 7.9 on the clock, but he missed his front end. Pittsfield's Anthony Jones grabbed the rebound, and the Generals called timeout.
After the timeout, Adopo took the ball in the backcourt and brought it to just outside the 3-point arc, where he dumped inside to a wide open man, but Pittsfield's hopes for a miraculous win were dashed when a lay-in rimmed out at the buzzer.
"I tell you what, I'm glad they're not in Division 3," Hoosac coach Bill Robinson said of Pittsfield.
"Great ballgame, great atmosphere. This is exactly what I wanted heading into the tournament. My AD said, 'When do you want to make that game up?' when it got snowed out. I said the Wednesday of the last week, which I thought was the deadline [to play regular season games].
"Then they said the deadline was Thursday, and I said, 'Perfect, if we get snow on Wednesady, we'll play it Thursday.' I thought it would be a great tuneup for us going into the tournament, and hopefully the game wouldn't matter. If it did matter, it would be for the [Berkshire County] North, but it didn't because Taconic took care of business [against Pittsfield on Monday].
"So it didn't matter, but it was a great tuneup for us."
Koperniak scored 14 points, and Alibozek, had 12, all in the third quarter.
That quarter proved the turning point for Hoosac, which stormed out of the locker room.
Sean Ryan-Kut set up Koperniak to start the half, and Coughlan had a putback and a free throw to tie the game at 33-33. Coughlan missed the second of a two-shot foul, but Matt Braman grabbed the rebound, leading to a triple by Alibozek on a pass from Koperniak for Hoosac's first lead of the second half.
"In the third quarter, they played a little man, and we really do good against man-to-man, so we just scored when we had the chance," Alibozek said. "And then when they went back to the 1-3-1, we just looked for the open guy on the opposite side."
Robinson had a simpler reason for Hoosac's second-half turnaround.
"I thought in the both half, both teams were lackadaisical and flat, and we read them the riot act at half-time," Robinson said. "I think they got the message."
It wasn't all fire and brimstone in the 'Canes' locker room, though.
"We made a few adjustments, but really what started happening was we started rebounding and getting the ball up the floor," Robinson said. "We made some nice passes and had them running at us. It helps when you have a kid like Koperniak finally hit a couple 3s.
"The next thing you know, their coaches are yelling, 'Shooter, shooter.' Their guys are running out, and that opens up the middle for us."
Pittsfield did not roll over. Instead, it responded with a 6-0 spurt to regain the lead on bucket by Scott Steinman off a Bryce Daley assist.
Hoosac then went ahead by five points late in the third on a Matt Braman drive on the right wing to make it 47-42. But the Generals tied it up with a Shade runner just before the end of the third.
No one led by more than four in a fourth quarter that kept fans of both teams on the edge of their seats.
The last tie came with about 2:10 on the clock when Pittsfield's Jerry McDonough drove to the middle of the lane and hit a shot to make it 63-63.
Hoosac went up by four, but Adopo drove the lane, and Jones got a rebound at one end and a foul shot at the other to make it 67-66, setting the stage for the final 30 seconds.
The two teams split the season series, with Pittsfield earning a 70-68 win at its place back on Feb. 6. They'll have to wait until next year to see each other again. Next week, they turn their attention to Western Mass sectional play in their respective divisions.
An earlier version of this story had some errors in the individual scoring totals for Hoosac.
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