As part of a series of events that had to fall into place last Friday night, a win by the Manchester Greyhounds over the visiting Fayetteville Rockets would assure the North Adams Green Devils no less than a share of first place in the Southern Hills Athletic Conference’s small school division. Fayetteville came into the evening deadlocked for first with the Devils, needing just a win to clinch no less than a tie themselves, but the Greyhounds had other ideas.
In what many may call a major SHAC upset, the Greyhounds squashed the title hopes of the Rockets, turning the emotions of Senior Night into the excitement of a 58-52 overtime victory, breaking a three-game losing streak and grabbing some important tournament momentum.
“We pulled everything together tonight and our kids rose to the challenge,” said Greyhounds head coach Kyle Pertuset. “The kids did all the things that we have been trying to get them to do all year, and it showed. I have believed all along that we could play the game that way. All season we have been battling, working, and improving, and our perseverance paid off and I could not be more proud of this bunch.”
Sophomore Jamie Combs and junior Kaulen Cox led the winning Hounds with 15 points apiece, with Combs getting seven of those in the overtime period, including a perfect 5 for 5 from the free throw line (and 8 for 8 in the game). Colton Thornburg scored 9 for the Greyhounds, with senior Rickey Deatley adding 7 in his last appearance in the Hound Pound.
“Rickey stepped up and played one of his best games of the year, played his role, and was poised throughout the entire game,” said Coach Pertuset.
In his final home game also, senior Sean Frost scored 6 points and according to the coach, made several big plays on defense. “Sean did everything we asked of him tonight and that is what you expect from seniors this time of year,” said Pertuset.
“I believe we are finally playing our best basketball and you literally cannot pick a better time to do that,” added Pertuset. “We have a refreshed confidence heading into the tournament and I’m excited for the kids and community to see where that might take us. Our underclassmen all grew up before our eyes tonight.”
Next up for the Greyhounds (7-14, 5-8 SHAC) is their first postseason contest, set for Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. at Northwest High School. Their opponent will be a fellow member of the SHAC, the Fairfield Lions. Results of that contest will not be available at press time.