AMHERST, Mass. – Raphael Coleman scored 27 points to lead the Easthampton boys basketball team to a 68-47 win to end Mount Greylock’s run in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semi-finals on Tuesday night.
Coleman did most of his damage from the foul line (10-for13) and in transition, as the Eagles were able to turn over the Mounties 28 times in the game. They used the turnovers to help them go on big runs throughout the game.
“Our whole philosophy, whole style is to get up and pressure full court man, create turnovers, and try to get run outs on you.” Easthampton head coach Brian Miller said. “We like to get on those quick 7-0, 12-0 spurts. We’re all about getting tips, deflections and it wears teams down I think.”
For Easthampton (20-2), Zach Crisafulli added 17 points and Iah Akanour chipped in in 10 points as the Eagles attacking style resulted in 39 free throws attempts, as they were able to convert 29 of them into points.
Mount Greylock was able jump out to a quick 10-3 lead in the first quarter behind six points from Sean McCormack but Easthampton was able to close the quarter on a 9-2 run capped by a Crisafulli buzzer beater to tie the game at 12.
Easthampton carried that momentum into the second quarter, opening on a 11-2 run to push the lead to 23-14 with 5:50 left to play. The Mounties did not go quietly though as Aaron Renow would get them back into the game with seven points in the last minute of play, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send them into the locker room down 28-25.
“We cut it to 3 at halftime and were right where we wanted to be.” Said Mount Greylock head coach Bob Thistle. “But they are a good team and we tip our cap to them”
Unfortunately for Mount Greylock, the turnovers caught up to them beginning at the start of the third quarter. The Mounties turned over the ball on their first five possessions, allowing Easthampton to go on a quick 7-0 run just two minutes into the quarter.
The drought continued as the Mounties would come up empty on their first 11 possessions of the half resulting in Easthampton pushing the lead up to 15, 40-25. With 3:55 left Zachary Ronnow put back an offensive rebound with 3:55 left to stop the 12-0 run.
With 1:02 left in the quarter Rennow cut the lead to nine, 44-35, with a putback, but on the next possession Crisafulli basket pushed the lead back up to double digits heading into the fourth, 46-35. It’s the closest Mount Greylock got for the remainder of the game.
The fourth quarter was a mirror of the third as Easthampton turned over Mount Greylock six times during a 19-6 run to start the quarter to push the lead to 24 and put the game out of reach.
For the Mount Greylock (16-7), McCormack scored 14 points and Brady Foehl added 12. Despite the loss the Mounties looks to learn from the experience, as they will return three starters and two of their top three scorers.
“I’m proud of them. We weren’t picked to be here. We overachieved all year long.” Said Thistle. “I told my team when the dust settles they will realize that they were one of the few teams in Greylock history that got to the Cage.”
Easthampton gets the winner of Wednesday’s semi-final between No. 4 seed Hoosac Valley and No. 1 seed Sabis.
More photos of this game here.