NORTH ADAMS -- A few more inches to the right and the McCann Tech boys’ basketball team would have pulled off a huge comeback and forced overtime against Dean Tech on Friday night.
Unfortunately for the Hornets, Shane Fuller’s 3-point attempt rolled left. They had one more shot thanks to two missed free throws by Omar Espada, but Josh Supernau’s desperation heave from midcourt fell short and Dean Tech escaped with a 43-40 victory Friday night.
Dean Tech had a 42-30 lead with three minutes to play and the Hornets took over.
"The entire game we kind of played up to their pace," McCann’s Chad Raimer said. "I would say that in the last couple of minutes we really slowed it down and played our pace and were able to find the open man."
Raimer was a big part of the fourth quarter comeback. He scored all six of his points in the final frame.
Superneau finished the game with a team-high eight points. He also contributed 13 rebounds. Justin Cote and Fuller both had seven points. Dean Tech’s Edgar Acevedo had a game-high 14 points. He was the only player for either team to reach double figures.
"It wasn’t like defense was a problem for either team," McCann coach Mike Nykorchuck said. "We just couldn’t score."
McCann scored just 13 first-half points and found a way to slowly start digging out of the hole in the third.
"We stepped it up. I think we woke up
McCann’s 7-6 lead with over a minute to play in the first quarter was the final lead it would see on the night. It shouldn’t have been, however.
The Hornets struggled to hit shots the entire first half.
"In the first quarter, we literally missed four wide open layups with nobody around us," Nykorchuck said. "I mean that’s eight points, that’s huge. I said it at the end of the first, we should have been up 15-9. You just cannot miss wide open layups."
That trend continued into the second quarter as the Hornets continued to be plagued by missed shots and fouls. Raimer, Cote and Mitch Zajac all ended the first half with three fouls.
But the Hornets found a way to climb back into the game.
"We stopped playing afraid and we started attacking them," Nykorchuck said. "They always say press a team that presses. I wanted to do that earlier, but we had a couple of key people in foul trouble which really hurt us."
Dean Tech pressed from the start and never looked back. Throughout the entire contest, two Dean Tech players were applying pressure to McCann’s ball handler. That pressure forced turnovers and forced the Hornets to foul early and often.
"They were just so up-tempo and we had a really hard time getting back," Raimer said. "I got into foul trouble because I was running back and being forced to take a foul."
The Hornets were in the bonus early in the fourth quarter, and hit the double bonus with three minutes to play. But the plethora of fouls didn’t end up costing McCann that much.
"They didn’t help themselves with their foul shooting in the fourth," Nykorchuck said. "They were horrible from the foul line. They kind of let us back in the game."
As much as the Hornets struggled to hit open layups in the first quarter, Dean Tech struggled even more to hit foul shots that would have put the game out of reach far before Fuller’s final attempt.
The Golden Hawks went 1 for 10 from the foul line in the fourth. They finished the game a mediocre 5 for 18 from the stripe.
"We have to play harder," Fuller said. "We have to start games off harder and not slack in the first quarter like we did in this one."