NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — First-year McCann Tech boys basketball coach Luis Carmona can quickly sum up his philosophy for the Hornets this winter.
“We want to have a balanced offense, a solid defense and just keep attacking,” Carmona said on Friday night.
Check, check, check and checkmate after McCann downed Franklin Tech, 61-43, in the Hornets Nest.
Offenses don’t come much more balanced than McCann’s in the season-opening victory.
Jacob Ostrobinski did finish with a game-high 13 points, and Logan Tower added 10. But 11 of 12 Hornets to hit the floor scored at least two points, and seven scored at least four points.
Defense? McCann held Franklin Tech — a team that beat McCann two out of three tries last winter — to just 15 first-half points.
About the only place the Hornets had a misstep was in the “keep attacking” department. McCann led by 24 points going into the fourth quarter but allowed the Eagles (1-2) to get the lead down to 13 with 2 minutes, 46 seconds on the clock before Nick Lincoln made three big plays in a row to right the ship.
McCann led by as many as 24 in the first half as well, taking a 31-7 lead when Lincoln put back an offensive rebound with about five minutes left in the second quarter.
The key to McCann’s strong start was defense. Franklin managed just three field goals in the first 16 minutes.
“Defense is just a matter of everyone having a hunger for it,” Carmona said. “If you don’t have a hunger for it, you’re never going to achieve the things you want to achieve. Everything you do in any sport, you have to have defense. That wins championships. Offense wins games, defense wins the big ones.”
Another factor for the Hornets in the first half: keeping Franklin Tech’s bigs off the glass — or at least limiting their rebounds. Yes, Zach Korpiewski grabbed eight first-half rebounds on the way to a game-high 18. But McCann outrbounded Franklin 22-18 in the first half, and three Hornets — Tower, Ostrobinski and Lincoln — finished with double-digit rebound totals.
“We have a drill called ‘sumo box out,’ “ Carmona said. “It’s like sumo wretling. They’re not allowed to use their hands. You go back-to-back and just wrestle with your back. Tonight, they displayed that drill. You put a body on a body, you plant your feet and you drive back.”
All that physicality did contribute to foul trouble that led starters Tower, Steven Lemire and Dante Cellana to foul out by the 2:46 mark of the fourth quarter.
The last foul was the one that sent Franklin’s Colin Gould to the line, where he made one of two to cap a 16-2 run and get the Eagles within 13 at 53-40.
But on McCann’s net trip, Lincoln scored in the post. Then at the other end, he went to the floor to get an offensive rebound. Then he came down and set up Ostrobinski for a bucket to make it 57-40 with a minute and a half left.
McCann scored eight straight before Franklin was able to hit a deep 3-pointer in the closing seconds to provide the final margin.
McCann takes its 1-0 record into non-conference play on Monday when it travels to Williamstown to face Mount Greylock.