WILLIAMSTOWN -- It didn't matter that a division title wasn't on the line for the Mount Greylock boys' basketball team. Friday's in-division match up with St. Joseph's was still a huge game.
"St. Joe is one of our biggest matchups on our schedule," Greylock senior Tyler Picard said. "We knew that coming in. We had the [calendar] circled since the day the [schedule] came out. This was just huge for us."
The South Division champion Mounties proved they were up to the task against the defending Western Massachusetts champions, winning 63-58 on Friday.
Picard set the tone for his team, scoring 13 points in the first quarter. He finished with a game-high 29 points, it's also a career high for the Mountie. He was just as good on the defensive end as he pulled down 20 rebounds. He also had six assists.
"My teammates were just setting me up for good shots," Picard said. "I was just knocking them down, I was really feeling it in the first quarter."
St. Joseph's Tank Roberson attempted to be the Crusaders answer for Picard. He scored eight of his team's nine first-quarter points and matched Picard's 17 in the first half.
The Mounties found an answer for Roberson as he added just eight points in the second half to finish with 25.
"I credit the team, but I also credit Nathan Majumder," Greylock coach Bob Thistle said. "His job was really to flood the outlet, meaning we didn't want [Roberson] to catch the ball and go. We wanted him to have to catch the ball, take a step back and then go. That really slows him down."
The Mounties took a 7-0 lead in the contest before Roberson and the Crusaders could get on the board. Roberson willed his team back as close as he could get it, but the Crusaders never led in the game.
"He's a tremendous player, Roberson is," Thistle said. "We all know that. The best guard probably in western Mass. But Nathan stopped the ball and we were able to get into a help defense. We couldn't stop him all the time, but we did a better job in the second half."
Roberson scored 17 of his team's 28 points in the first half. He got some helped from Michael Carpenter in the second half. Carpenter finished with 14 points.
Senior Lavante Wiggins was held to just five points as he struggled to defend Picard for most of the night. He fouled out with just over a minute to play.
Roberson was forced to attempt to spread the ball around more in the fourth quarter, but the Crusaders struggled to hit shots.
"I didn't worry about trying to get up in his face as much," Majumder said about his defense. "I more just kept him in front of me. He's fast and a really good player. I realized I couldn't be to aggressive and had to keep him in front of me."
Down by three with 13 seconds left, the Crusaders had a chance to tie the game. Roberson dished the ball off to Bianchi but his 3-point try missed the mark and forced St. Joseph's to foul Hank Barrett.
Barrett sank both shots. That was the a key for the Mounties late in the game. Both Barrett and Picard were 4 for 4 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. As a team the Mounties were 8 for 12 in the final frame.
Barrett was perfect from the line on the night. Picard was 7 for 8 from the charity stripe in the contest.
"Tyler has just been carrying this team," Barrett said. "He's not only a huge body, but he's an incredible scorer and as you saw tonight he's a clutch free-throw shooter."
It was the second victory of the season for the Mounties over St. Joseph's. The victory could help them claim a very high seed once the Western Mass. brackets are announced. Greylock finishes the season with Monument Mountain on Tuesday.
"The first time we beat them [this year] we had never beat them before," Majumder said. "So Just sweeping them twice is just amazing."
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