WILLIAMSTOWN -- With three Western Massachusetts titles tucked soundly into his back pocket, Mount Greylock senior Tyler Picard is in search of another.
Only this time it's on a different playing surface. Picard was instrumental in Mount Greylock's three-straight Western Mass. Super Bowl victories. Now, just two months removed from his final football title, he and a different, yet similar, group of Mounties have their sights set on a title on the hardwood.
If the Mounties can make a long postseason run, there is a good chance Picard will also hit a personal milestone on the way there. The senior enters today's season finale against Monument Mountain just 44 points shy of 1,000 for his career.
"The most important thing to me is winning," Picard said following a victory over St. Joseph's on Friday night. "I never really worried about the points throughout my whole high school career. I just want to win."
Win he has.
The Mountie was a vital part of those football championships and a major contributor to the football team's Berkshire County record 33-game winning streak. He was a five-year starter on the football field and has been a five-year starter on the hardwood, as well.
Only winning on the basketball court hasn't been so easy. Last year, the Mounties made a trip to the Curry Hicks Cage for the semifinals after winning only four games the year before. This year, they'll look to take it a step further.
"We want to win Western Mass., that is our goal," senior Nathan Majumder said. "But I think if [Picard] can lead our team the way that he does, I think then we're going to achieve both goals."
The Mounties have relied heavily on Picard this season both to score points and play excellent defense. He leads the Mounties in scoring this season, averaging 15.5 points per game.
The 6-foot-5 forward has also been a monster in the paint. Against St. Joseph's on Feb. 15, he recorded 20 rebounds on his way to a career-high 29 points.
"It's been a privilege and an honor to really coach Tyler and this group of boys for the last two years," second-year Mountie coach Bob Thistle said. "What's so wonderful to see is Tyler Picard maturing in front of our eyes. As a senior, he really wants to put this team on his back."
Picard has been held to single digits just three times on the year and has been the center piece of a well-rounded and balanced scoring attack.
"Tyler has just been carrying this team since the eighth grade," said senior Hank Barrett, who has been a teammate of Picard's both on the football field and basketball court for four years. "He's not only a huge body, but he's an incredible scorer. He's a clutch free-throw shooter. If he's not scoring, he's passing the ball or rebounding for us."
The Mounties have been the definition of a balanced offense this season. Four different players are averaging double-digit points. It's not uncommon to see four or five Mounties in double figures in any given game.
Even as he approaches a milestone that only 57 Berkshire County basketball players have reached before, Picard is still spreading the ball around.
"We weren't sure how he was going to deal with it," Majumder said. "Some people can kind of let it get to them and let it make them a selfish player. But, he's the leader of our team. He's the center of our offense, but he's not the only person in our offense."
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