NORTH ADAMS -- McCann Tech boys basketball coach Mike Nykorchuck laid out the game plan for his team on a poster inside the locker room Thursday night.
He said, if the team stuck to the items on the poster, they'd get the win and a share of first place with Gateway.
After a shaky first quarter, the Hornets played a complete game, beating Gateway 53-40.
"This was the first year we've done everything on the poster," he said. "We concentrated on getting more rebounds, getting back on defense and scoring."
The Hornets controlled those three facets of the game, but early on, Gateway set the tone with its pressure defense.
Gateway caused seven first-quarter turnovers from the Hornets, but Gateway coach Mike O'Connell said foul trouble and fatigue caused the Gators to back off.
"We were forcing turnovers, but our legs got a little slow," O'Connell said. "We shortened up the bench knowing we were playing a good team."
Less pressure allowed McCann guard Shane Fuller to attack the basket and set up teammates.
A 3-pointer by Rahmer Vincent sparked a 7-2 rally to end the first half, giving McCann a four-point halftime lead. The team would not trail for the rest of the game.
"We started to run our plays and there were a bunch of openings off the pick-and-roll," Fuller said. "Coach has a lot of good plays, so everything was working."
Vincent, who came off the bench to start the game while battling an illness, ended the half on fire for the Hornets. In the second half, Fuller carried the torch. The junior started the third quarter with a jumper, followed by a three-point play he created with a steal, and a four-point play when has was fouled shooting a transition three. Fuller ended with 19 to lead all scorers. Vincent finished with eight points, all of them coming in the second quarter.
"Shane's our leader," Nykorchuck said. "He's our go-to guy, him and Rahmer. Shane took over, and he's cool as ice when he's out there."
Fuller's outburst gave the Hornets a 10-point third quarter lead.
Matt Belini started the fourth quarter with a trey, all but sealing the win for McCann.
Nykorchuck said the work on the inside by Kyle Parada and Dante Cellana helped limit second-chance opportunities and allowed his team to run.
Parada ended the game with 13 rebounds. Cellana added 12 more.
After the game, Nykorchuck said avenging a loss to first-place Gateway will be a big confidence boost for his team.
"It's a real confidence boost," he said "We started out 0-3. ... We finally got over the hump and beat a good team."
To reach Akeem Glaspie:
or (413) 496-6252.
On Twitter: @THEAkeemGlaspie.