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Taconic Boys Fall to Tech Boston in State Final

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Sports - Print
02:41PM / Saturday, March 17, 2018


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Shamar Moore scored 17 points, and Tech Boston’s defense was more than the Taconic boys basketball team could handle in Saturday afternoon’s Division 2 State Championship Game.
 
Moore and Walter Dewhollis led all scorers as the Bears claimed the state crown with a 78-40 win at the Mass Mutual Center.
 
Tech terrorized Taconic with its full-court press, and the Dorchester squad used a 31-4 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters to put the game away.
 
"It got really tough once they started getting physical with us," Taconic's Quintin Gittens said. "Everyone wasn't really ready for the physicality they brought. And once they started getting on runs and getting stops, I feel like we kind of gave up and gave in to the pressure that they brought."
 
As it was all year for Taconic, defense has been a calling card for Tech Boston.
 
"It starts with defense, it ends with defense," Bears coach Johnny Lee Williams said.
 
"Sometimes, when our offense isn't clicking, our best offense is our defense. So when I went into the locker room, I told the guys, 'We're going to pick up full court, and at the four-minute mark, let's go.' They started bouncing, they started getting loose, and the steals started coming, and that's when you get a stretch where you get comfortable."
 
Shamar Browder and Maurice Works each added 10 for Tech Boston (24-1).
 
Taconic (17-8) was led by Gittens with eight and Isaac Percy with seven. Mohammed Sanogo had four points to go with a team-high seven rebounds. The team's lone senior, Javier Osorio, finished with six points and a couple of assists.
 
But the story of this one was the way Tech Boston was able to turn a solid 14-point margin coming out of the locker room into a 40-point bulge in the blink of an eye.
 
At one point, Tech needed just 51 seconds to take the lead from 45-25 to 51-25 -- twice turning the ball over with its press to get layups from Works and Dewhollis.
 
"That's as strong a defense as we've seen," Taconic coach Bill Heaphy said. "Quick, athletic and fast. Sometimes, it felt like there were more than five guys out there. They really challenged our ball handlers. I tip my hat to them. Very athletic team."
 
Both teams came out cold from the field in a 10-4 first quarter, but Tech Boston started to heat up from behind the 3-point line in the second quarter. 
 
Shamar Moore hit three times from downtown, and Maurice Works added a triple in the quarter as Tech Boston took a 33-19 lead into the locker room.
 
Taconic had trouble protecting the ball, committing 16 first-half turnovers, including several when Tech Boston turned up its full-court press at the end of the second.
 
Gittens scored six points in the second quarter to help keep it close, and Isaac Percy had a strong first half on the boards, collecting five rebounds before intermission.
 
And even in the waning moments, after the killer run that put the game out of reach, Taconic, which battled back from a 1-4 start to earn the school's first Western Mass title since 1976, kept battling.
 
"As much as we're not satisfied with the outcome, I'm extremely proud of this group of kids," Heaphy said. "The thing we talked about during that landslide was to not quit, to keep playing. At times, I thought it was going to teeter, but it didn't when they hit the floor. They stayed together and kept playing.
 
"I'm proud of them for that because that's tough to do. It's a group that is looking forward to next year, and they know now what they've got to do to get here next year. There's no guarantees. It's tough to do. But we're going to try."

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