NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The McCann Tech boys basketball team got a big lift from its sophomore class on the way to its first win of the season on Saturday morning.
Shane Fuller came off the bench to score 14 points, including nine in the second half, and classmate Cody O'Neill scored six and grabbed 11 rebounds in his first varsity start as the Hornets knocked off Mount Everett, 54-44, in the opening game of the sixth annual Berkshire County Boys Basketball Coaches vs. Cancer Showcase at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Amsler Campus Center.
"Cody's only a sophomore, he got a chance to start today, and I thought he hit the boards pretty hard," McCann coach Mike Nykorchuck said. "He gets the ball on the low blocks, and he draws contact. We haven't been getting to the foul line enough."
O'Neill scored four of his points at the foul line. Midway through the first half with the Hornets (1-4) trailing 18-7, he drew contact in the post and converted one of two shots to tie it.
Then after grabbing a defensive rebound at the other end, he was fouled putting back an offensive rebound and converted a conventional three-point play to give McCann a 21-18 lead it never relinquished.
"He knows how to get the ball and get himself in good position and go up strong and not worry about his shot getting blocked," Nykorchuck said. "I thought for his first varsity start, he was tremendous today.
"I'm really happy with my two sophomores. They were fantastic."
Fuller, an undersized guard, was among McCann's rebounding leaders with eight carroms and accounted for four second-half steals.
He sparked a key 7-2 run late in the third quarter with a 3-pointer and capped it with a pull-up at the elbow to make it 43-36 going to the fourth quarter.
The Eagles (0-4) stayed within three until Fuller put back an offensive rebound with five minutes left to make it 47-42 and start a 7-0 run that included a 3-pointer by senior Justin Cote and a steal and transition lay-in by Fuller with two minutes, 20 seconds on the clock to make it a 10-point game.
Josh Superneau scored 13 points, and Mitch Zajac had 10 rebounds for McCann. Mount Everett was led by Sage Angell with 11.
McCann, which did not score 30 points in its first two games, scored its season high on Saturday morning. Most of that offense came after the Hornets figured out how to beat the Eagles' halfcourt trap.
"The trap never should have bothered us in the first place because after scrimmaging Hoosac and Taconic, we drilled into their heads that I wanted the ball to go up the sideline and utilize the middle to break the trap," Nykorchuck said. "And they were doing it really well.
"And then we started doing it and using our diagonal pass to get to the baseline, and we weren't catching the ball to finish it off. We were executing, but we've got to catch the ball before we can shoot it.
"After a while, the guys got a little more comfortable, and we were finishing, and that discouraged them a little bit from staying in that."