LENOX -- Run, shoot, pass, rebound, defend. Take any aspect of the game, and the Lenox boys basketball team excelled at it Tuesday night.
The No. 5 Millionaires reached the 30-point plateau in each of the first two quarters en route to a 93-37 victory over No. 12 Franklin Tech in the Western Mass. Division IV tournament. Lenox now travels to No. 4 Turners Falls on Friday.
"Everyone was playing pretty well the entire game," Bailey Patella said. "We were clicking on all cylinders, so it felt good to get a nice 'W' going into the next game."
In a first half full of would-be key baskets, Patella's dunk with a little over three minutes left in the half drew the loudest and longest cheer from the crowd.
He and Evan Lanoue had talked earlier about Lanoue playing the ball off the backboard to Patella, who would jam it home. It went off without a hitch.
"That's a little secret recipe we had in practice," Lanoue said. "He threw it ahead to me, I looked at him and [we] kind of looked each other in the eye. I just threw it up there. He was the one that had to jump 12 feet in the air to get it."
The dunk gave Lenox a 50-14 lead, which Patella stretched to 53-14 about 20 seconds later. His free throw with 2:49 left in the half capped a 16-0 run in 2:17 span. Patella and Lanoue combined for 11 points in the stretch that Mike Hedges' 3-pointer started.
The Lenox offense slowed considerably the rest of the way, but Ben Herrick finished the half strong with Lenox's final eight points of the half, including consecutive 3-pointers for a 61-19 lead at the break. Lenox was certainly poised to eclipse the century mark, and the players knew it. They also knew the pace would slow.
"We obviously felt like we could," Herrick said. "But we knew Coach [Scott Sibley] was going to make us take the foot off the gas because you don't want to run the score up like that."
The starters played sparingly in the third quarter before sitting for the fourth, but the defensive prowess the first five showed in the first half was followed up by everyone else.
Sibley issued a challenge to hold Franklin Tech to under 40 points. His team met the challenge.
"We talked to them quite in-depth about performances since we've gotten our 10th win, and how our defense has kind of gone downhill, especially over our last four games," Sibley said. "I think we were giving up close to 70 points a game. I told them that they could kind of score at will, that the defense is going to win a championship, that they definitely better pick it up on the defensive end."
Patella gobbled up 13 rebounds in a little more than a half to lead his team; seven of those were off the defensive glass. He was part of a consistent three- and four-man rebounding force for Lenox on the defensive end. Seldom did Franklin Tech have a second-chance opportunity in the first half.
Most of those defensive rebounds were quickly turned into points at the other end by virtue of a great transition game.
The most exciting of those transition baskets was Patella's dunk.
"We usually get out and run, but today, we were passing, which we don't do that much," Patella said. "So we worked the ball around and played pretty well."
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