CHESHIRE, Mass. -- The Hoosac Valley boys basketball team got 20 points from one player in Monday’s win over Lee, but the Hurricanes’ depth was the perhaps the biggest factor as they moved over the .500 mark.
Izaha Stubbs had a huge night with 20 points, including three 3-pointers in the pivotal second quarter.
But 10 different Hurricanes got into the scoring column and 11 made their mark on the glass as Hoosac won for the fourth time in five outings and went to 4-3 on the season.
It was the ‘Canes’ balance that allowed them to erase an early deficit by turning up the pressure in the second quarter - even as their starters started to collect some personal fouls.
That balance paid off Monday but it can be a little challenging for first-year head coach Mike Larabee.
“I love the depth, but finding the rotation has been very difficult he said.” he said. “I’ve got a lot of kids who are the same. And they work hard. So it’s tough to find a lot of minutes for everybody. I’ve got 12 kids who can play.
“The depth helps us … and it helps the starters, too, because they know when they have to pick it up when they get back in there.”
Lee’s starters got the Wildcats off to a strong start, storming back from an early 7-2 deficit to take the lead with a 9-2 run to the end of the first quarter.
Will Wellspeak (eight points, nine rebounds) scored twice in that stretch, which also saw Julian Nejaime provide three points and an assist.
Lee (1-5) took its last lead at 13-11 when Ben Harding (team-high 14 points) scored on the ‘Cats’ second possession of the second quarter.
From there, Hoosac Valley’s press started to wear on Lee.
“We went to a little bit of a zone press, and they struggled with that press a lot,” Larabee said. “And we dropped back into a zone. … Which we don’t do a lot of, but we went to it a lot, and it worked tonight.”
Lee coach Tom Finnegan agreed the pressure made a difference, but overall he was encouraged by his team’s performance.
“I think we came out fired up in the first quarter, and we did have a little difficulty against the press,” he said. “But that was probably the best we’ve handled the press all year. We’re still working on figuring ourselves out. We only have two kids out there who played varsity minutes last year, so it’s still new to these guys.
“I loved the intensity we had out there tonight. We played well. The third quarter killed us.”
After Stubbs scored 11 in the second quarter to send Hoosac to the locker room with a 27-21 lead, the Hurricanes stormed out with a 14-2 run to start the second half.
Stubbs got things started with a steal and lay-in on Lee’s opening possession. Keagan McGrath scored on back-to-back drives to the basket, and Stubbs put back a rebound midway through the quarter to cap the run and give the ‘Canes a 41-23 lead.
After Patrick Finnegan (eight points) scored on a drive from the left wing to slow Hoosac’s momentum, the Hurricanes went on a 6-2 spurt to close the quarter and go to the fourth with a 47-27 advantage.
Collin Rousseau scored 11 points, and Austin Mendel and Vance Eugene each had six rebounds for Hoosac Valley, which hosts St. Joseph on Thursday.
Lee continues a tough stretch to start 2017 by hosting unbeaten Wahconah on Thursday and one-loss Taconic next Monday.