TURNERS FALLS, Mass. -- It took more than a game and a half for the Mount Everett boys basketball team play the kind of basketball it hopes to play for the rest of the season.
The Eagles Friday nearly erased all of a 16-point third-quarter deficit before dropping a 52-48 decision to host Franklin Tech in the consolation game of the Eagles’ season-opening tournament.
Bailey Young scored 26 points, and Garret Cole pulled down 16 rebounds to lead Franklin Tech and send the visiting Eagles to an 0-2 start.
Ryan Bergmann hit a pair of free throws with 2 minutes, 24 seconds left in the third quarter to give Franklin Tech a 40-24 lead.
But Mount Everett battled back and eventually got within three points at 51-48 with seven seconds left, but Franklin Tech freshman Ty Sadoski hit a free throw with 5.3 seconds on the clock to provide the final margin.
“We didn’t give up, we fought,” Mount Everett coach Jowe Warren said. “I wish from the beginning we could stick with the game plan and settle in sooner so we don’t have to come from that far behind.
“But Cooper [Rothvoss] gave us some good minutes, and with him and Jack [Carpenter], we were trying to work the ball down to those big guys. That’s what we’re trying to set the tempo at, and we didn’t do ‘til the second half, but, obviously, it worked and got us back in the game.”
In the first half, Franklin Tech used a 15-0 run that spanned the first and second quarters to establish a double-digit lead.
Young scored eight points in four trips to get the lead to 23-10, and Cole finished from the elbow moments later to finish the run at 25-10.
“At first I wanted to go man-to-man and lock down [Young] and Cole, the big man, but, obviously, Young just kept on getting open and making shots,” Warren said. “Then we tried to go match up zone, locate him a little sooner and deny some open looks for him.
“But Franklin Tech worked hard. Give them credit for what they did.”
Just when it looked like the hosts would take their double-digit lead into the locker room, Mount Everett closed the first half with a 7-0 spurt that ended with a Carpenter 3-pointer in the closing seconds to make it 28-20 at the break.
Again, the host Eagles pulled ahead, rebuilding a 40-24 edge. But Rothvoss scored in the post to ignite a 10-0 run to finish the third. He also had an assist on a bucket by Ben Montelone (team-high 12 points) in the run.
A 3 from Michael Ullrich got Mount Everett within four points early in the fourth, but Franklin Tech pulled back ahead to lead 49-40 midway through the quarter.
Monteleone scored with an assist from Carpenter to start an 8-2 run for Mount Everett. Montelone’s putback with about 10 seconds left got his team within a bucket a 51-48.
After a Franklin Tech timeout, Mount Everett was forced to foul, and Sadoski was able to make it two-possession game with 5.3 seconds left.
One constant throughout the game for Mount Everett was its willingness to battle for every loose ball, showing the kind of hustle that should pay dividends on the scoreboard down the road.
“We’ve got a handful of guys who are willing to get down after that ball and go all out, which we love to see,” Warren said. “Now, we just need to build on some of that fundamental stuff -- understanding passing lanes and such, in the game. Turnovers are hurting us right now.
“And free throws. We missed a lot of one-and-ones. Lose by four points and you’re 4-for-11 from the line with some one-and-ones, doesn’t help the cause either.”
Mount Everett plays its first home game on Monday when it welcomes St. Mary’s of Westfield.