McCann Tech boys hoops earns No. 2 seed for state vocational tourney
NORTH ADAMS -- The McCann Tech boys basketball team heads into the first round of the State Vocational tournament with a No. 2 seed and a game at home against Minuteman Tech on Thursday.
South Shore Tech is the top seeded team in the tournament, and will face fourth-seeded Franklin Tech.
With a win over Minuteman, the Hornets will play the winner of the South Shore-Franklin matchup Saturday.
A Franklin Tech win would give a victorious McCann team home court for the state final. A South Shore win, and the Hornets would head to Hanover (about a half-hour outside Boston) to face South Shore -- if they win.
Saturday is also the day the Western Mass. tournament seeds come out. The first game of that tournament would be Monday.
McCann Tech coach Mike Nykorchuck said the possibility of a state final road game is a good problem to have. But that would be a lot of traveling with only one day of rest in between the state voc. tournament and the start of the Western Mass. tournament.
Heading into the postseason, the Hornets will need all the energy they can muster.
Teams have been using a box-and-1 defense (four players playing zone defense, while one player plays man-to-man) to take leading scorer Shane Fuller out of the game.
Nykorchuck said he picked the mind of friend and Taconic boys basketball coach Bill Heaphy on how to stop the box-and-1, as Braves' 1,000-point scorer Shaq Ardrey faces that defense a lot as well. Nykorchuck also reached out on Facebook and consulted with his former coach at Berkshire Community College, Monty Flynn, on other ways to stop the defense.
"I picked Heaphy's brain a little bit and added more plays, and we're preparing a lot in practice to face this," he said. "We're hoping we're comfortable in the playoff facing it."
With the extra attention paid to Fuller, Nykorchuck said it will be important to limit his workload.
Guard Rahmer Vincent has been a secondary scorer to Fuller at times, but Nykorchuck said it's important for everyone to play their roles.
"I need Rahmer to be in double digits," he said. "But if Dante [Cellana] can get going ... [Christian] Montoya is only a freshman, but he's been coming on lately also. For us, everyone is going to have to do their roles."
The Hornets' calling card this season has been toughness. Fuller, along with Justin Schneider, embodies that mentality for the Hornets. Schneider said he hopes that mentality will carry the team through the postseason.
"There's no category for jumping on balls on the floor," Schneider said. "But it's what the whole team is about right now. Nobody wants to end the season. We want to keep playing."
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