PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- When at first he didn’t succeed, Wahconah’s Kevin Huban drove to the basket and got to the line.
After that, it was nothing but success.
Huban scored 36 points Monday to lead his team to a 67-54 win over Pittsfield.
Along the way, he was a perfect 11-for-11 at the foul line, including four free throws in the first quarter.
“He missed some ones early,” Wahconah coach Dustin Belcher said. “His jump shot early wasn’t going in. I thought he did a good job getting to the rim, seeing the ball go in the basket a few times and getting his rhythm.
“It always helps when he can get to the foul line and hit a couple of free throws, too.”
Tom O’Connor had a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds, and Luke Hescock had six points and seven boards as Wahconah improved to 9-2 overall and 3-1 in the Berkshire County North Division.
Wahconah took the lead for good with a 6-0 spurt early in the second quarter.
Huban drove the baseline for a bucket to get it started. O’Connor scored a bucket in transition and set up Huban for a transition basket to cap the run, making it 20-16.
Pittsfield drew within one on a Craig Jackson 3-pointer from the left wing to make it 22-21, but Wahconah scored the last six points of the half -- four on Huban foul shots -- to go to the locker room up by seven.
Wahconah stretched the lead to double digits midway through the third on a transition basket by -- who
else? -- Huban to make it 38-27.
But Pittsfield kept hanging around, thanks largely to Jackson and Sincere Moore. Jackson scored 15 of his team-high 26 points in the second half. Moorer scored eight of his 11 after half-time.
“It’s going to be hard to step them all from getting hot,” Belcher said. “So the idea there was just to keep them to the least amount of rhythm jumpers that we could. We kind of lost it a little at the end. We were letting the ball get to the paint too much at the end of the game.
“But early, I thought we did a good job contesting shots. Even when they made some shots, they were tough shots.”
Wahconah was up by 18 midway through the fourth, and it looked like the Generals were done for the night, but Pittsfield scored six quick points to make it 58-46 on a Moore baseline drive with 2:55 on the clock.
Out of a Wahconah timeout, Huban broke free against Pittsfield’s press for a layup, and the Generals never again threatened to make a run.
Monday’s win brought Belcher’s team within one victory of a berth in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 tournament with nine games left to play.
Perhaps more importantly, it made Wahconah 3-1 in the Berkshire County North Division and put last Wednesday’s loss to Hoosac Valley in the rear-view mirror.
“I told the guys before the game: This is going to tell a lot about our character and who we were, how we responded,” Belcher said. “It was a tough loss the other night to Hoosac, so to come out here tonight, on the road against another very good Northern Division team and get the ‘W,’ is a big thing for us.”
Wahconah goes to Taconic on Thursday.
Pittsfield (5-7, 1-3) is at Green Tech on Wednesday.