Defense propels MAU past Panthers
HOOSICK, N.Y. — In a grind-it-out game, something that both the Mount Anthony and Hoosick Falls boys basketball teams are used to, the star for the Patriots was, maybe, an unlikely source.
But not to his coach or his teammates.
"Pat Powers was the absolute difference in this basketball game, he picked up everyone around him," said MAU coach Dan Sleeman.
Powers led the Mount Anthony defense, holding Hoosick Falls to 11 points between the second and third quarter of a 64-49 victory on Wednesday night.
"It shows that you don't have to be a captain, it's senior leadership," Sleeman said. "To reach our goals, it has to come from seniors, whether they're a starter or not, that's leadership. He could have hung his head after the Burlington game, his minutes were limited, but he came to practice with a good attitude and he was a catalyst in a victory tonight."
At first, it looked like Hoosick Falls would stick with their cross-border rivals. On their home floor, they came out flying and shooting the ball extremely well. Hoosick hit four triples in the first quarter — two from Rem Hickey and one each by Connor McCart and Alex Mendez — to blitz the Patriots. MAU tried to stay close as Damon Burgess had 10 of the Patriots' 13 in the first, but Hoosick led 20-13 in a fast-paced first frame.
McCart led Hoosick with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Mendez added 12.
"I love their fight, we battled, just like last night [against Greenwich]," said Hoosick coach Mike Lilac.
In the second, the Patriot defense picked up the slack. With Jonas Parker filling up the lane, his 6-foot-6 frame above the crowd, Powers, Parker and the rest of the MAU lineup kept Hoosick off the scoreboard until halfway through the second on a pair of McCart free throws. The only other basket was a jumper from senior Wyatt Cushman.
"We got into foul trouble in the beginning and Pat was the MVP, running around like a chicken with his head cut off," said senior Tyler Champagne. "The energy he gave motivated us to get down and dirty and get the win."
Along with his defense, Powers scored nine points as well.
"The nice thing with this team is we have interchangable parts, depending who we're going against," Sleeman said. "It's always a grinder [against Hoosick Falls], and Pat is a grinder."
Parker led the Patriots, nearly earning a triple-double. He had 17 points, 16 rebounds and eight blocks — and about a half-dozen near blocks where Panther players were forced to alter their shots.
"We knew the offense goes through McCart, he was ducking in and Jonas really stepped up, he was a beast tonight, a big part of our win," Champagne said. "We didn't have the greatest shooting night, but we gritted our teeth and got the W."
With a three-point lead at the break, MAU continued to put on the pressure, scoring the first seven points of the third to jump the lead to 34-24 and force Hoosick to take a timeout.
Champagne had 15, while Burgess added 16.
MAU pulled away a bit in the third, as they outscored the Panthers 20-7 to take a 47-31 lead into the fourth. Hoosick Falls made a valiant attempt to come back, with back-to-back threes from Cushman and Haynes pulling the Panthers within 10 at 49-39 with 6:14 left.
With under two minutes left, Burgess hit a three from the wing to give MAU a 60-47 lead, enough to ice it.
"They extended out the zone and pressured us," Lilac said. "We still have to cut down on the turnovers. There's too many turnovers and too many run-outs off our missed shots, we didn't get back well enough."
Mount Anthony improves to 8-1 as they host Burr and Burton Academy on Friday.
"Dave [Shehadi] will have them prepared," Shehadi said. "I think the adversity in the first quarter [against Hoosick] was good, we weren't that good in the beginning. We did it one possession at a time, it was a great road win."
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