DALTON >> Jameson Coughlan hit the 1,000-point mark midway through the first quarter Friday night at Wahconah. That turned out to be only the first act in Hoosac Valley's passion play.
The visiting Hurricanes led for most of the game, but it was a 3-point basket by Dahndray Sistrunk to open the fourth quarter that gave the Hurricanes a little breathing room, as they went on to beat the Warriors 52-42.
Matt Koperniak had a game-high 21 points, but scored 15 in the first half. The Hoosac senior did go 6 for 8 from the foul line in the final minute of the game to ice the victory.
"Our kids are playing well. I'll be happy with 42 points defensively. I'll take that," said Hoosac coach Bill Robinson. "We're still a work in progress. It's going to be a wide open Division III tourney.
"I've seen them all and there's nobody that scares anybody, I'm sure."
Coughlan got to take his bow with 4:29 left in the first quarter. The senior had missed his first two shots. On Hoosac's fourth possession of the game, Wahconah's Cole Morrison cut off Coughlan on a drive to the basket. Coughlan passed back to Avery Hall, who then hit a cutting Coughlan for the layup that gave him 1,000 points. He's the first Hurricane boys player to reach that milestone since Robbie Burke did it on Jan. 2, 2010, and the first Hurricane to hit the milestone since Emily Rosse did it two years ago.
"I didn't expect it to come from anywhere," said Coughlan. "I knew it wasn't coming from 3-point land, that's for sure.
"It means a lot to me. There aren't many people who have done it."
Coughlan, who finished up with seven points and six rebounds quickly scored a post-game assist.
"It's not a self accomplishment," he said. "My teammates did so much. I can't thank them enough."
With that out of the way, the two teams got back to playing basketball in that typical Hoosac-Wahconah formula — good, hard-nosed defense that kept offenses under wraps.
Shane Sinopoli, who was one of three Wahconah players with 12 points, hit a 30-foot shot at the buzzer to cut Hoosac's lead to 11-9 after one quarter. And when Luke Steinman scored on a short jumper to open the second, it was tied at 11.
But the Hurricanes responded with an 11-2 run, including nine from Koperniak, to take a 22-13 lead at the break.
A wide open third quarter where Wahconah outscored Hoosac 20-14, made it 36-33 Hoosac heading into the final quarter. A Wahconah hoop could have made it a one-point game. Sistrunk had another idea.
Koperniak missed the first shot of the quarter. The ball was rebounded by Mat Carlow, one of his seven boards, and Carlow tipped it back to Sistrunk who caught and fired from the top of the key. His 3-pointer made it 39-33, and started a 9-2 run that gave Hoosac enough of a cushion.
"I knew that we needed to get some momentum going after the third quarter because it was a close game. The little chances that we get, we've got to make them," said Sistrunk. "It just came out to me and I put it up there. Yeah, it felt very good."
Wahconah did cut the Hoosac lead to five points with 56 seconds left, but got no closer.
Koperniak was the only Hurricane to score in double figures. Sinopoli, Morrison and Matt Schneider all had 12 points. Morrison had 13 rebounds.
"Overall, it was a much better effort from our guys this time around," said Wahconah coach Dustin Belcher, whose team still needs to beat Pittsfield, Drury and Lee to qualify for the Western Mass. Division III tournament. "I thought it was one of our best games of the year. I'm really proud of my guys. The third quarter might have been our best quarter all year."
HOOSAC VALLEY (52)
Hall 2-0-4, Rousseau 0-0-0, Hayer 0-0-0, Carlow 1-2-4, Koperniak 6-8-21, McGrath 3-0-8, Lancia 1-0-3, Sistrunk 2-0-5, Barrow 0-0-0, Coughlan 3-1-7. Totals 18-11-52.
Morrison 5-2-12, Schneider 4-4-12, Donnelly 0-0-0, Sinopoli 4-2-12, Steinman 1-1-3, Lavinio 1-1-3, Washburn 0-0-0, Roughley 0-0-0. Totals 15-10-42.
3-point goals — HV 5 (McGrath 2, Koperniak, Lancia, Sistrunk). W 2 (Sinopoli 2).