NORTH ADAMS -- When offense was hard to come by, the Mount Greylock boys' basketball team used a fast-paced defense to create chances and spoil Drury's opening night, 59-52 on Tuesday.
"Basically, defense wins games," Greylock junior Tyrell Thomas said. "Our offense is all based on our defense. When we get a steal we want to push the ball up and look to make a play."
The Mounties were able to get those steals and survive a game-high 16 points from Drury's Nolan Bird, which included a fourth-quarter dunk. Thomas came up with eight steals and turned several of them into assists, he finished with six helpers on the night. He also led the Mounties with 12 points.
Drury got off to a quick start both offensively and defensively. The Blue Devils led by one at the end of the first quarter and forced the Mounties to put Thomas and Tyler Picard on the bench because of early foul trouble.
Picard re-entered the game late in the first and immediately made an impact, completing a three-point play to stop a Drury run. But the bigger play came at the start of the second quarter when he blocked two consecutive Drury shots.
"They just make the game so chaotic with their pressure," Drury coach Jack Racette said of the Mounties defense. "They go with that 2-1-2 and put Thomas in the middle. It's just really aggressive and leads to a lot of steals. In our first [game] we're just not good enough to be able to attack that yet. We'll get there, though."
Even when Drury could break the full-court press, the Mounties responded with a zone defense to silence the Blue Devils.
"We were happy to break [the press] and then they get back into that zone," Racette said. "Then we just couldn't get any zone offense going because they are so long."
Despite getting a lead at halftime, it wasn't until the second quarter where the Mounties were able to get the offense clicking.
Greylock started the half on a 5-0 run, helped by Nathan Majumder getting fouled while shooting a 3-pointer that he missed. He went to the line and hit all three shots.
"I really think Drury is a tough place to play, period," Greylock coach Bob Thistle said. "They're going to play hard every night, and I think we didn't come out as hard as we would have liked to.
"What I was happy with about with the kids was we made some adjustments and the kids kept going to what we call the next play and not getting down."
Picard and Thomas both seemed to come alive in the second half. Thomas had 10 of his points after the break, and Picard added six of his 11. Brett McCormack also got going with six of his eight points in the final 16 minutes.
Hank Barrett pumped some energy into the Mounties late, as well. He scored 10 points off the bench, eight in the second half. His 3-pointer with just under two minutes to play was the shot that put the game out of reach.
"That's the thing, we have a really well-balanced team," Picard said. "Everyone on our team from position number one to position 12 or 13, every one of them can score."
The Blue Devils also spread the ball around, with 10 players getting onto the score sheet. While Bird had 16 and a game-high nine rebounds, the Blue Devils got 3-pointers from three other players. Nick Trombley and Tyler Briggs each had two 3s and Isiah Clark added the other one.
"We're young and inexperienced," Racette said. "I don't think we could sustain that kind of physical play with Thomas, Picard and McCormack. They're just deep with seniors and senior leadership. I think that was the real difference."