DALTON — It is the dream of every coach who trails at halftime, to come out of the locker room and take a game over. Often, it does not happen.
Friday night at Wahconah High School it did. Did it ever.
After visiting Hoosac Valley took a five-point lead, the Warriors went on an 18-4 run to close out the third quarter, flipping the script on its head, and locking up a 57-48 victory, before an enthusiastic crowd decked out in blue and red for this one.
“I am happy, ultimately,” said Wahconah coach Dustin Belcher, who definitely was not happy during stretches of Friday’s game. “The kids played well tonight. I thought we did a really good job of responding in the second half. It was a little bit sluggish at times in the first half, but I thought in the second half we did a much better job on the boards, rebounding the ball cleanly and getting out and running.”
Wahconah made six, 3-point shots in the game and four of them came in the third quarter. Lucas Pickard, who finished with 13 points for Wahconah, hit three of those four. One of them, a jumper from the right corner with 3:50 left, put Wahconah up 35-33, and the Warriors never trailed again.
“They just picked up their intensity a little bit more I think, and they bothered us. They guarded us a little bit better,” Hoosac coach Bill Robinson said. “I thought [Ben] Noyes did the job hustling after a lot of loose balls, saving a lot of balls for them and getting extra possessions for them, and it wears on you for a while.
“In the third quarter, we lost [Pickard], we lost him three times and he hit three big 3s.”
Wahconah has now won two straight after losing three in a row, and the Warriors are 9-3. Hoosac, who lost last Saturday to Drury, is now 6-3. The Bi-County East rivals will meet again in Cheshire on Feb. 7.
The hosts led 12-9 after one quarter, scoring the final eight points of the stanza.
Hoosac took control when the Hurricanes scored the first eight points of the second quarter. Frank Field, who finished with 14 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, scored off an inbounds play, and then Joey McGovern hit a 3-point shot, forcing Belcher to call time out.
McGovern came back and, after taking one dribble, launched another trey that found the bottom of the net. The Hurricanes were up 16-12.
Wahconah tied the score at 16, only to have Carson Meczywor score the next five points on a three-point play and a hoop. The Hurricanes maintained the lead and led 27-23 at the break. Meczywor had 13 of his team-high 17 points in the opening half, while McGovern added six on those two 3-point shots.
Wahconah was led at the break by Brody Calvert’s eight points, which came in fits and starts because he picked up two fouls in the first quarter, sat for much of the second, and picked up his third with 1:01 left until halftime.
It was Calvert who helped ignite the Wahconah offense in the third quarter. While he had 18 points, he also had a team-high three assists. One of them found Luke DiCicco in stride, and DiCicco hit a 3-point shot that pulled Wahconah to within a hoop with 5:47 left.
The home side took a one-point lead on a putback by Noyes, who had 12 points and nine rebounds, only to have Hoosac take the lead back when Field finished after catching a pass from Meczywor, one of Meczywor’s four assists in the game. Field was fouled by Patrick McLaughlin on the basket, but Field missed the free throw. The Hoosac standout got another chance off an inbounds pass, but missed the shot. McLaughlin rebounded and found Pickard in the right corner for a 3-pointer. It was 35-33, and Wahconah never trailed again.
“We got the job done on both ends of the floor” in the second half, Calvert said. “We got stops and then went on the other end and scored the basketball.”
It was 44-35 after three quarters. Hoosac, however, wouldn’t stop coming. Hoops by Meczywor and Mikey White cut Wahconah’s lead to 48-42 with 3 minutes left. Wahconah responded. Pickard missed a 3-point shot, Noyes rebounded and got the ball to DiCicco. DiCicco found an open McLaughlin at the top of the key, and his 3-pointer hit nothing but net, and that locked up the victory.
“Brady Payson comes in and plays some big minutes for us. I thought he did a nice job. Braedyn Melle coming in, different guys stepping up. That’s what we’ve really been preaching since Day 1,” Belcher said. “Look at our wins, we have a different third guy in doubles usually, when we get three guys in double [figures]. That’s really been our focus. We have to have great depth and balance in scoring, and I thought we did that tonight.”
HOOSAC VALLEY (48)
Kastner 2-0-4, White 1-0-2, Meczywor 6-5-17, McGover 4-0-11, Harrington 0-0-0, Bishop 0-0-0, Field 7-0-14. Totals 20-5-48.
Payson 0-0-0, Calvert 5-8-18, Pickard 5-0-13, DiCicco 1-1-4, Chapman 0-0-0, Melle 1-1-4, Noyes 5-2-12, McLaughlin 2-1-6. Totals 19-13-57.
Hoosac 8 19 8 13 — 48
Wahconah 12 11 21 13 — 57
3-point goals — HV 3 (McGovern 3). W 6 (Pickard 3, DiCicco, Melle, McLaughlin).