AMHERST, Mass. -- Patrick Storie scored 25 points -- including four free throws down the stretch -- as the Mount Greylock boys basketball team Tuesday held off Wahconah, 59-52, in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 semi-finals.
The fifth-seeded Mounties (18-5) set up a date on Saturday afternoon in the sectional finals against No. 3 Palmer (21-1), which defeated Drury earlier on Wednesday night.
For a long time in the second half on Wednesday, it looked like the Mounties were going to win this one going away.
But the only intra-county game of Cage Week turned into a classic in the fourth quarter.
Ninth-seeded Wahconah mounted a furious comeback, going on a 17-6 run to erase nearly all of a 49-35 Mount Greylock lead and make it a one-possession game when Will Geneway set up Luke Steinman for a 3-pointer to make it 55-52 with 22 seconds left to play.
“It was definitely a little stressful because we had a decent lead with like two minutes left,” Mount Greylock junior Sam Dils said. “We just had to stay calm at the foul line. I know we definitely missed a few, but we made enough for them to not have any hope there.
“We made enough.”
On Mount Greylock’s ensuing possession after Steinman’s 3, Dils went to the line and hit his first shot to make it 56-52, Mounties.
Mount Greylock caught a break when the rebound went out of bounds off a Wahconah player, and after the Mounties got the ball inbounds, Storie was fouled. He hit both his free throws with 16 seconds left to give his team a six-point lead.
Wahconah got a look at the basket at the other end, but it rimmed out, and Brady Foehl grabbed the rebound. The ball ended up in Storie’s hands, and he was fouled intentionally in the frontcourt with four seconds left. He hit one of his two foul shots, and the Mounties got the ball back.
The inbounds pass went to Dils in the backcourt, and he dribbled out the clock to send the Mounties on to the final.
“It feels great,” Dils said. “We’ve been talking about it all week: We have some unfinished business here, coming here last year and not having our best performance. But we put it all together to get the win.
“It feels great to be playing on Saturday. We’re really looking forward to it.”
The Mounties’ faithful have been looking forward to this moment for a long time.
“It’s definitely a great feeling coming back here for the second time this week,” Storie said. “I think it’s the first time since 1969 we’ve been in a Western Mass Championship. It’s just a great feeling. I can’t even put words to it right now.”
Sean McCormack scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds before fouling out with 2:30 left in the fourth quarter for Mount Greylock. Toby Foehl hit three 3-pointers in an 11-point third quarter, and Brady Foehl passed out four assists to go along with six rebounds.
Wahconah was led by Brandon Roughley with 23 points, 13 rebounds and three second-half blocks. Connor Washburn scored 10 points and grabbed six boards, and Steinman finished with 11 points.
After a back-and-forth first half that saw Wahconah lead by four points on two occasions, Mount Greylock took control of the game with a 14-6 run to start the second half. It started with a Storie 3-pointer with help from Brady Foehl on the first possession of the third quarter and ended when Brady Foehl fed Toby Foehl for a triple to make it 40-25.
It stayed a double digit lead until Wahconah scored nine straight midway through the fourth to get within five when Steinman scored to make it a 49-44 game.
The Mounties pushed their lead back to nine when Cam Hadley stole the ball, got fouled and converted on of his free throws to make it 54-45 with 1:56 on the clock.
But Wahconah scored the next five points, drawing within four on Roughley’s conventional three-point play with :33 seconds left.
Storie then got to the line and hit one to make it 55-49 with 32 ticks left, setting the stage for Steinman’s 3-pointer.
“Greylock made some big shots tonight,” Wahconah coach Dustin Belcher said. “I thought they played very well. I’m proud of my guys. We got down 16 at one point, and to be at the end of the game and still be in the game, I’m proud of them for that, their response.
“But that’s the way they’ve been all year for me.”
In fact, to hear Belcher tell it, a nine seed like Wahconah getting to Saturday’s final would not have been that much of a stretch.
“We really thought we had a legitimate shot,” he said. “We’re a nine seed, and I get it on paper. I get that you’re judged from the outside based on wins and losses.
“But what I saw every day in practice and what I saw in that locker room, I thought we could compete. I thought we could come here Saturday and win, I really did.”