Lenox Boys Fall in Sectional Semi-finals
AMHERST, Mass. — Slowing down Quaboag's Jacob Wisniewski was a tall order for the Lenox High School boys basketball team on Monday night.
A very tall order.
The 6-foot-5 Wisniewski was a beast for the top-seeded Cougars, scoring 30 points and grabbing 20 rebounds in a 73-42 win that sent Quaboag to Saturday's Western Massachusetts Division 4 championship game.
"He was very tough," Lenox coach Scott Sibley said. "We saw tape on him and found a ton of stuff on the Internet about him. We knew he was going to be difficult. I watched him, actually against Sutton.
"Preparing for him and actually playing against him are two different things. ... A tape is only going to show you so much."
Sibley said Wisniewski's combination of size and athleticism is a rarity at this level.
"You don't see it too often," he said. "Especially with the size. You'll see some kids 6-2, 6-3 handle the ball and do some of the things he does. When you add a couple of more inches that just makes him that much more difficult."
It not help matters that Lenox big man Bailey Patella was battling a foot injury suffered last week against Turners Falls.
"We just had him go as long as he could and do the best that he could," Sibley said. "We tried taping it. A lot of times tonight you could see him walking on the side of his foot. It's probably going to linger for a while. But he didn't want to sit it out, and I don't blame him.
"I think even if he was at full strength, we would have still struggled."
Quaboag (21-1) took control of the game in the second quarter.
After building a 22-16 lead after the first quarter, the Cougars put a strangle hold on Lenox, holding the Millionaires (16-7) to three points in the second quarter and four points over a 13-minute stretch that spanned half-time.
By the time Patella broke away for a third-quarter dunk that gave the Lenox fans something to cheer about, it already was a 30-point Quaboag lead.
Lenox junior Evan Lanoue, who had a team-high 17 points, said the Millionaires could not crack the Cougars' team defense.
"We just didn't come out with the same intensity and the same organization we did those last two games," Lanoue said. "It's hard to play one-on-one basketball. When you have [an opponent] who knows how to play team defense, they're going to drop, they're going to play help 'D.' That's what they were doing. They were collapsing."
Quaboag's Gregory Sokol had a couple of blocks to go along with seven points and 10 rebounds. Ethan Lecaire and William Watkins scored 13 apiece for the Cougars.
For Lenox, Kristopher Vahle scored eight and grabbed nine rebounds, and Patlla had a couple of steals.
Sibley said the Millionaires, who graduate just three — Vahle, eric Lomaglio and Cameron Sibley — can take a lesson from the team defense that Quaboag demonstrated on Monday night.
"They're a very good basketball team," Scott Sibley said. "Most of them are a year older than our kids. Just bigger, stronger, more physical team. ... I really think it's a team that will be back here next year, and I hope we'll be back playing them one more time."
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