Balanced Effort Lifts Taconic over Pittsfield

By Stephen Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Four different Taconic players scored between eight and 12 points, and the hosts led from wire to wire in the first round of the city boys basketball series on Friday at Taconic High School.
Isaac Percy scored 12 points to lead Taconic to a 50-35 win over Pittsfield in the final regular season meeting between the two rivals in the soon-to-be-closed “old” Taconic High.
Percy also added seven rebounds and a block, and Taconic got 10 apiece from Quentin Gittens and Javier Osorio and eight from Christian Womble as it bounced back from its first loss of 2018 and ran its record to 9-5.
“For us, it’s always got to be a team effort,” Taconic coach Bill Heaphy said. “It’s never just one guy carrying us. That’s not the kind of team we are, and that’s the way I like it. Tonight was a good team effort.”
And for a Taconic program that graduated 13 players from last year’s squad, it was a good effort in front of a packed house for the always heated rivalry.
“They stayed poised,” Heaphy said. “We talked about being poised under these conditions, and I thought they handled it pretty well.”
Taconic really handled PIttsfield (4-6) in the first quarter, jumping out to a 14-4 lead.
Robert McCown got things started with a bucket in the post, Womble scored in transition and Osorio hit a 3-pointer to open a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes. Percy scored in transition, and Gittens set up Womble for a 3 to make it 12-0 before the Generals could get on the board.
It was 22-12 at half-time. Pittsfield did most of its damage in the third quarter, when it outscored Taconic by a 17-16 margin behind nine of the team-high 11 from Anton Wright.
On a night when Pittsfield was missing a couple of key contributors, the Generals were held to fewer than 40 points for the second time this season.
“We were a little stagnant,” Pittsfield coach Brandon Mauer said. “We kind of got away from some of the things that make us successful. They put us in a bind. They played really good defense.
“Perennially, they’ve been a team that plays really good man defense, and that kind of took us out of our game.”
Pittsfield got 10 points from Elton Wilkins, and the 11 from newcomer Wright was a bright spot for Mauer’s squad.
“There were a little bit of nerves to start the game,” he said. “It was the first time they’ve really been in Pittsfield and had to face a hostile environment. They responded pretty well. We got punched in the face and battled back. I was pretty happy with their defensive effort.
“There’s stuff we’ve got to work on. But with that young group, it’s only a matter of time and experience.”
Taconic showed some maturity for its part, refusing to make the mistake it made the last time out against Longmeadow and let the opponent make a living at the free throw line.
In the beginning, it looked like it might. Pittsfield was in the one-and-one in the second minute of the second quarter. But in the whole second half, the Generals went to the line for just four free throws.
“We corrected it,” Heaphy said. “That’s kind of been the focus since that last game. In a game like this, crosstown rivals, there are going to be some fouls. Emotions are high. But I thought they recovered pretty well, and I thought our defense played pretty well. It held a team with some pretty good offensive firepower to 35 points. That’s not too bad.”
Taconic goes to Hoosac Valley on Tuesday, while the Generals host Wahconah.  Taconic visits Pittsfield on Feb. 13.
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