PITTSFIELD — The Taconic boys basketball team put on an impressive performance from 3-point range, riding the hot hands of Matt Stracuzzi and Izaiyah Mestre to a 80-64 win over Hoosac Valley on Tuesday. Stracuzzi and Mestre made six 3's each, scoring 24 and 23 points respectively.
The duo used the 3-ball to answer every Hoosac rally. Consecutive 3-pointers from the duo ended a late Hurricanes surge, putting the Braves up by nine with less than four minutes remaining in the game. Hoosac never got closer than seven points the rest of the way.
"They got hot [from 3-point range]," Hoosac coach Bill Robinson said. "They deserved to win. We had our little runs here and there, but we couldn't stop them. Mestre and Stracuzzi were on fire. ... Kudos to them."
Mestre started his strong shooting early, knocking down two treys in the first quarter. Stracuzzi came off the bench, sparking the Braves with his strong jumper.
Hoosac used a 13-3 run to take a seven-point lead midway through the second quarter. Stracuzzi entered the game, however, and stopped the surge, scoring nine straight points to help Taconic take a two-point lead into halftime.
Colin Rousseau's back-to-back treys helped Hoosac open the third on a 15-5 run to take an eight-point lead — but again, Taconic used the 3-ball to answer.
Brett Murphy started the rally with four straight points. Hoosac's Jameson Coughlan made a jumper, then Taconic's Treyvon Ringgold converted a 3-point play. After another Coughlan jumper, Stracuzzi made a 3-pointer, Mestre had five straight points and Stracuzzi's back-to-back 3's put Taconic up by four. The Braves did not trail again.
"I was just in a groove and my teammates were finding me," Stracuzzi said. "I was just looking to provide a spark off the bench."
Taconic generated a lot of open looks with its inside-outside ball movement. Ringgold's ability to make the correct pass to the open shooter on the perimeter was key for the Braves. He battled inside with Coughlan, and when he wasn't going up for the acrobatic layup, he was quick to dish it out. Ringgold had 19 points and 10 rebounds.
"That's not something that comes easy to him," Taconic coach Bill Heaphy said. "He's worked on it and he's become a better passer. When he's getting that much attention, he's got to know where guys are and get the ball there quickly."
For Hoosac, Coughlan shouldered the load offensively, scoring 30 points. He's just two points away from 1000 for his career. Keegan McGrath added 11 points, but no other Hurricanes' player had more than six. Hoosac's usual number two option Matt Koperniak battled foul trouble the entire game, fouling out with 3:20 left in the fourth.
Robinson said allowing 80 points is an aberration for his team. He said his team struggled with in-game adjustments, but he expects them to shore up their defensive holes.
Heaphy said he likes the focus his team showed, especially with a game against rival Pittsfield looming on Friday. With a North Division title in sight, he wants his players to focus on the details moving forward.
"I think we're making some progress and improving," he said. "I'm telling them the ceiling is still up here. There's other things we need to get better at, but we're making positive steps in the right direction."
Hall 1-2-5, Rousseau 2-0-6, Carlow 0-0-0, Koperniak 2-2-6, McGrath 3-4-11, Sistrunk 1-2-4, Barrow 1-0-2, Coughlan 13-4-30. Totals: 23-14-64.
Cotto 0-0-0, Sandifer 1-1-4, Mestre 7-3-23, Stracuzzi 8-2-24, Walker 0-0-0, Cooney 0-0-0, Murphy 5-0-10, Reardon 0-0-0, Ringgold 7-5-19. Totals: 28-11-80.
3-point goals — HV 4 (Rousseau 2, Hall, McGrath). T 13 (Mestre 6, Stracuzzi 6, Sandifer).