Boys Basketball: Turners Falls scores key victory over Mohawk Trail

Staff Writer
Published: 1/21/2020 10:25:08 PM
Modified: 1/21/2020 10:25:04 PM

BUCKLAND — It’s been a roller coaster of a season for the Turners Falls boys basketball team. 

After starting the year 2-2, the Thunder dropped their next five games, struggling to find a consistent winning formula.

Trying to turn things around in hopes of earning a postseason bid, Turners entered Tuesday night’s game against Mohawk Trail on a modest two-game winning streak. 

A rocket fast start by the Thunder put them ahead 17-9 after one quarter, and the streak grew to three games thanks to a 58-51 independent victory over the Warriors.

“We did some nice things to get the lead,” Turners coach Gary Mullins said. “Then we did some bad stuff and they got back into it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to understand we can win ball games when it’s close.”

The Thunder (5-7) rode the red-hot shooting of Chace Novak, who finished with a game-high 26 points.

Novak had it going early from deep, knocking down three 3-pointers in the first quarter to give Turners the early advantage. 

Seeing the ball go through the hoop gave him confidence early, as he finished with six made shots from downtown. 

Once Mohawk (1-9) started closing out hard on Novak, the junior penetrated and found teammates open around the rim, leading to easy looks.

“It boosts my confidence 100 percent,” Novak said of the fast start. “I see a few go through the net and from that point my mindset is to shoot. Then when they close out, I drive and try to dish.”

After a strong offensive start for Turners, the Warriors locked in defensively in the second quarter of play.

Mohawk held the Thunder to just three points in the second period to get within four, 20-16, at the half.

Mullins wasn’t pleased with his team’s play, wishing they had extended their lead going into intermission.

“I think we can improve defensively,” Mullins said. “Tonight we couldn’t shoot the ball. We couldn’t make shots. In the first half, we could have been up by 15 points but we kept blowing easy ones.” 

Novak heated back up in the third quarter to give Turners offense life, scoring 11 points and draining a pair of 3’s. Mohawk sophomore guard Tyler Dubreuil answered however, keeping the Warriors in the game by tallying nine points in the quarter. Dubreuil got to the rim and finished in traffic for four buckets.

Mohawk trailed 39-31 going into the fourth, but the Thunder went on a late run to put themselves up 54-43 with just under two minutes to play. 

A late push by the Warriors got them within five, but a couple late free throws sealed the win for Turners.

For Mohawk, which has lost its last nine games, finding a way to play a full 32 minutes is something that will be emphasized moving forward.

“Guys did some good things tonight,” Mohawk coach Darren Schmidt said. “We just have to find consistency for a full game.” 

Dubreuil and Reuben Bassett each had double-doubles for the Warriors, Dubreuil finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Bassett scoring 13 points and snagging 11 boards. 

For Turners, Anthony Peterson finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds and Marcus Sanders had eight points and seven assists. 

Peterson didn’t have his best game from the floor on Tuesday, but when he and Novak are connecting, the sky is the limit for the Thunder.

“It’s very helpful,” Novak said of his connection with Peterson on the floor. “He’s my big man so he sets me screens, he gets my rebounds. It’s a pillow to fall back on when I’m not hitting. When we’re both on, though, it’s a nightmare.”

The Thunder will enter Thursday’s contest against Greenfield with a ton of confidence, hoping to use their last three wins as a springboard for a big second half run this season.

“I think we can make it to the championship,” Novak said. “That’s the goal. That’s all we’re looking for right now. If we keep playing the way we’ve been playing recently, I think we can make it. We’ve won our last three games so that boosts our confidence going into Greenfield on Thursday. They’re a good team so we’re going to have to come out firing.”

Mohawk looks to get back in the win column on Thursday, taking on Mahar in Orange.


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