LENOX, Mass. — The Lee High boys basketball team on Tuesday finished on a 26-8 run to earn a 72-54 win over Mount Everett in the first round of the South County Tournament.
Matt Reynolds scored 32 points to lead the Wildcats (2-1) into the tournment’s championship game on Wednesday. Lee will take on Monument Mountain, a winner over the host Millionaires later Tuesday night.
In the tournament’s first game, the biggest lead for either team was five points through the first three quarters. The Eagles (0-5) spent their share of time on the right side of the scoreboard and had a 46-44 lead when Kenneth Krom (17 points, 16 rebounds) tipped in an offensive rebound with about two minutes left in the third quarter.
Lee scored the next four points to close the third and used a 14-6 spurt to open the fourth and take a 62-52 lead when Reynolds made a steal in the backcourt and went the other way for a conventional three-point play with 4 minutes, 10 seconds left to play.
Lee coach Tom Finnegan had no trouble identifying the difference for his team down the stretch.
“We took a timeout there [late in the third] and talked about playing within ourselves,” Finnegan said. “I think everybody was trying to do a little too much, and we talk all the time about playing together as a group. I thought they really did a nice job, especially in the fourth quarter, playing great man-to-man defense. They started communicating, talking, helping each other, and that was the difference.”
Josh Sampson (18 points) and Reynolds each scored in transition off fourth-quarter defensive stands to set the tone.
“That’s how we want to be, but when we’re in that zone, we really didn’t get away with that,” Finnegan said. “We’re getting long rebounds, and then we had to slow it down. Man-to-man was the right thing tonight.”
Three players finished in double figures for Mount Everett. Krom’s 17 led the way; Cassius Conaway and Domonitti Conaway finished with 15 points apiece.
But the Eagles’ offense went cold after Cassius Conaway scored midway through the fourth to make it 57-52. Mount Everett managed just two more points over the next 4:30.
The Eagles will look for their first win of the season on Wednesday against Lenox in a 5:30 tipoff.