CHESHIRE -- The secret to success for the Mount Greylock boys' basketball team this season has been spreading the ball around.
It was no different on Friday night as the Mounties extended their win streak to 10 games, with a 49-38 victory over Hoosac Valley. Whether it's on the score sheet or defensively, the Mounties have had a different player step up in each game this season. Friday was Eric Hirsch's turn.
Hirsch came off the bench at the end of the first quarter and helped spark the Mounties' offense. With the Hurricanes looking to tie the game as time ran down, Hirsch stole a pass from Sean Ryan-Kut at the top of the key and charged down the court for an easy layup.
Not even 15 seconds later, he had another steal. This time he passed to Nathan Majumder who was fouled while shooting. Majumder hit both free throws.
"I was reading the guy's eyes who was passing the ball and I knew he wasn't focused on me because I was a good five feet back," Hirsch said. "I got a running start and caught him the first time. For some reason I was able to catch him again."
The layup was Hirsch's only points of the night, but his impact was felt. He started an 11-0 run that put the Mounties up 24-9 and proved to be too big of a hole for the Hurricanes to dig out of.
It was just another case of a different player stepping up for the Mounties.
"We can't always rely on our starters or even the first six or seven," Majumder said. "We have to have a deep bench to provide legs off the bench and some shooting sparks if we can't hit shots."
Majumder finished the game with 11 points. Teammate Tyrell Thomas also had 11 to help lead the Mounties. Hoosac's Trevor Alibozek had a game-high 13 points.
The Hurricanes didn't go away once the Mounties built a large lead. They continued to chip away, getting the lead down to as little as two late in the third quarter.
The Hoosac defense held the Mounties well below their season average of 65 points per game.
"I thought we played our butts off defensively," Hoosac coach Bill Robinson said. "I thought we did a nice job of mixing things up and really confusing and frustrating them at times."
Led by Alibozek's 13 points, the Hurricanes crawled back to within two points. Hoosac outscored the Mounties 13-8 in the third quarter.
Corey Puccio hit two big 3-pointers in the quarter, but it was Puccio's emotions that seemed to lift his team. Puccio and Greylock's Tyler Picard were both assessed a technical in the third quarter for battling in the paint, and it was the Hurricanes who benefited from the emotion. Hoosac went on a quick 4-0 run to cut the lead down to two, forcing Greylock to call a time out.
The time out killed Hoosac's momentum. Greylock's defense came alive in the fourth quarter, allowing just four points.
"We were comfortable with our 3-2 zone, but we were worried with their shooters we might not get out on them," Greylock coach Bob Thistle said. "That's something we can certainly work on. I thought the kids did a nice job in the man-to-man. That really comes down to talk and talk and talk. That and getting on the glass."
The Mounties certainly were able to get on the glass for most of the night. Thomas collected 11 rebounds and Picard recorded 10 before fouling out of the game midway through the fourth.
Just like the Mounties' scoring attack, multiple players got into the rebounding game, as well. Majumder recorded five, while Brett McCormack sealed up four missed shots.
"We had a rough patch there, we didn't score a ton of points," Thistle said. "I give Hoosac credit for that with playing good defense. Sometimes balls just don't fall and we were just trying to keep making adjustments."
In the fourth quarter, it was Hoosac who couldn't get shots to fall. Puccio was the only player to hit a field goal for the Hurricanes in the final frame.
"We missed some easy five-foot jump shots," Robinson said. "Maybe those aren't the right shots, but you have to make it. If you have the [guts] to take it, you better make it and we just didn't do that."
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