WILLIAMSTOWN -- Jordan Castillo had No. 14 Smith Vocational thinking upset with the way he shot the ball against the Mount Greylock boys' basketball team in the first quarter.
The senior had 13 of his team's 17 points and the Vikings had a two-point lead over the No. 3 Mounties.
Tyrell Thomas came off the bench to help squash that thought. The Mounties rebounded for a 72-53 win in the first round of the Western Massachusetts Division III tournament. They advance to play the winner of No. 6 St. Joseph's and No. 11 Frontier, who play tonight.
"I know with me coming off the bench, it was going to mean one of two things," Thomas said. "I was either going to help my team or I was going to bring them down. Fortunately, I helped them and we went on a little run."
Thomas didn't see the floor in the first quarter, but made his presence felt from the second he stepped on the court in the second. He scored six of his 17 points in the second frame, but his bigger contributions came from passing and rebounding. He finished the game with 13 rebounds and nine assists.
Not to mention he also took over covering Castillo. Thomas held Castillo to just two baskets in the final three frames. Castillo finished with 19 points.
"We just felt body type-wise, he's a little longer," Greylock coach Bob Thistle said. "And sometimes you just give a guy a different look. We ran a few different defenses, but we had Tyrell on him. Collectively, we just did a better job on team defense."
Smith's Sam Sharpe got hot after the first half, scoring 14 of his 19 points. But the combo of Sharpe and Castillo wasn't enough to erase the Mounties' balanced scoring attack.
"I think they are kind of a two-headed monster between Castillo and Sharpe," Thistle said. "We scouted them and we knew they were the top two players. We could have, from a coaches point of view, done a better job getting out on them. But they're also good players."
With Thomas providing the spark, Picard led the way with a game-high 22 points. Hank Barrett chipped in 15 points for the Mounties.
The Mounties outscored Smith 45-24 in the second half to overcome the early deficit.
"We were answering them on the offensive boards in the first half," Smith coach Akara Holder said. "I think that was making them a little more nervous. I think in the second half, their coach was able to calm them down."
It wasn't just Thomas who got involved in the rebounding. Picard also rebounded the ball better in the second. He finished with 10 on the night.
"I think collectively as a team [in the first half] we needed to do a better job talking, number one, and getting on the glass, number two," Thistle said.
Picard was also able to act as Greylock's closer. The Mounties continued to work the ball inside to their big man despite the pressure the Vikings were applying with double teams and the zone defense. The persistence paid off late. Picard scored six straight points and was responsible for an 8-2 run in the fourth quarter.
The Mountie senior is now just 12 points away from 1,000 for his career.
"They were doing a really good job inside," Picard said. "I had to go a little outside today and started showing a little range. I was shooting and they were going in."
Anthony Karch was the only other Viking to hit more than one shot from the floor and he finished with four points.
"It's not that both [Castillo and Sharpe] need to be hot, I need both of them to understand there are other people on the court," Holder said. "Teams are going to cram on those two and leave others open, we just couldn't take advantage of that."
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