NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — An offensive onslaught in the third quarter proved more than McCann Tech could overcome in a 42-19 home loss to Ware on Tuesday.
The visitors (11-3, 4-1 Franklin East) used takeaways and sharp-shooting to mount a 17-0 run in the third quarter alone. Despite the defeat, Hornets (6-10, 0-5) coach Mike Dowling was encouraged by the effort his players made toward implementing its game plan.
“The first time we played them out there, they killed us inside, so that's why we were packing it in down there. It worked in the first half,” Dowling said.
Down eight at halftime, McCann cut its deficit to six with an Allie Gibeau layup from a Brea Rodriguez inbound pass just over one minute into the second half. Then, the Ware defense, which had been stifling all night, caused a slew of turnovers leading to easy hoops.
Steals by Heater Bouchard and Michelle Zawalski led to quick layups at the onset of the visitors' third-quarter run. Back-to-back 3-pointers pushed the Ware lead to 19 points, before a long two-point jump shot with 1 minute, 34 seconds left in the frame gave the Hornets a 32-9 deficit.
Bouchard and Ware's Taylor Green each finished with a game-high nine points.
The McCann offense was held scoreless in the first quarter. In contrast, its defense held Ware without a field goal for the opening four and a half minutes of the game and to two field goals in the opening period.
On Jan. 17, Ware forward Melissa Hopkins tallied 22 points, which, according to Dowling, came primarily from low-post touches. The Hornets' 2-3 zone, anchored in the middle by Emijah Barton, stayed stout in the first half, disallowing easy looks from the opposition. Though McCann could not help from fouling early and throughout the contest, allowing 13 made free throws on 25 attempts.
“We weren't going to give up the middle,” Dowling said. “We scattered the points around. If they didn't make their outside shots, it would have been a different game in the fourth quarter.”
Tuesday's game, its second of back-to-back contests, is McCann's seventh loss in eight games, after besting St. Joseph 43-35 on Monday. The Hornets began the new year with a four-game win streak against out-of-conference opponents.
After capturing a Bi-County title in 2013, Dowling's team is still seeking their first win ever in the Franklin East. With four games left, the Hornets have an opportunity to make the Western Mass tournament, though they must win out.
In what he believes is a difficult division to play in, Dowling is pleased with some of the progress made by his young team to date.
“We're in a really tough position. I've got a really young team that we're just trying to mold into a program, a team. We get shots. We're not turning the ball over as much as we used to to start the season,” Dowling said.
McCann hosts Cathedral on Friday at 7 p.m.