Late shots lift Hoosac boys hoops to win, Western Mass. D-III semifinals
CHESHIRE -- Bill Robinson may have to take his lobbying skills to Washington.
The Hoosac Valley boys basketball coach argued for a Greenfield shot-clock violation with 2 minutes, 30 seconds remaining and the score deadlocked at 51 Friday night. He won, and that gave Hoosac the ball back.
The Hurricanes didn't waste the opportunity, as Matt Braman drilled his only 3-pointer of the game, and Trevor Alibozek followed with a jumper to send No. 3 Hoosac to the Curry Hicks Cage for the first time since 2010 with a 60-53 over No. 6 Greenfield in a Western Massachusetts Division III quarterfinal game.
"It's great. These past three years we've been improving," said Braman, who scored a team-high 18 points. "My sophomore year, we were really inexperienced, and my junior year, we just couldn't find ways to put games away. This year's been a year where we've kind of put it all together, and it feels amazing."
Robinson said he saw the shot clock read "0" before it was reset and quickly followed by a whistle, which was a foul on Hoosac. He immediately began his plea to an official, and then for all three to discuss it with the crew at the scorer's table.
After a quick conference at the table and then a longer one at center court between the three officials, the news was delivered: Hoosac ball.
"Horn went off. I heard a faint horn, but it was so loud in here you couldn't hear it," Robinson said. "They probably feel bad about it, but it's the right call."
Braman's 3-pointer, which Robinson called the biggest shot of the senior's career, gave Hoosac a 54-51 lead with 2:10 remaining. It stopped a 7-2 Greenfield run -- highlighted by a pair of treys -- that allowed the Green Wave to tie the game at 51.
Then Hoosac earned a stop on defense before displaying its best passing of the night, which opened up Alibozek (12 points) for a mid-range jump shot to push the lead to 56-51.
"We just came out today with a lot of intensity," Alibozek said. "We just knew that it was going to be a good game, so we just gave it everything we had."
Those baskets helped ease the pain of Conner Eckstrom's putback with 34 seconds left to draw Greenfield within 56-53. The Green Wave tried to play the fouling game, but once they used all the ones they had to give, Hoosac was solid at the line. The Hurricanes were 4 of 6 in the final 32.6 seconds from the free-throw line, including a pair from Alibozek to push the lead to 59-53. Hoosac finished 13 of 18 from the line.
Braman's and Alibozek's baskets both came from the outside, where Hoosac had not been focusing its attention much of the game. The Hurricanes didn't want to stray from what brought them this far, so they pounded the ball down low to Jameson Coughlan (15 points), Alibozek and Peter Barrow (five points).
"If you get it inside, the defense is going to collapse and you're going to get good shots from the outside," Coughlan said. "We have great shooters, so it's just what we do."
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