Monument Boys Rally Late to Hold off Lenox
LENOX, Mass. — On a night when points were hard to come by, Jordan Piepho and Conor Prince made two big offensive plays down the stretch to preserve a 42-35 win for the Monument Mountain boys basketball team on Tuesday night at the South County tournament.
The Spartans (2-2) advance to Wednesday's championship game against Lee, a 72-54 winner over Mount Everett in the tourney's opener.
In the nightcap, Monument led throughout after jumping out to an 8-0 lead, but after going to the fourth quarter with a nine-point lead, the Spartans went nearly six minutes without scoring a point.
Host Lenox (1-3) got all the way back to within one when Tyler Shepard hit a free throw with 2 minutes, 57 seconds on the clock.
Monument turned the ball over on its next trip, but Piepho grabbed a defensive rebound to get the ball back, and Joe Aberdale garnered an offensive rebound to keep Monument's next possession alive long enough for Prince to knock down a 3-pointer to make it 33-29 with 2:14 left.
After Lenox trimmed the lead to three, Piepho drove from the right wing for a conventional three-point play with 1:38 left. The six-point working margin was just what the Spartans needed; they hit four of six foul shots down the stretch to hold the Millionaires at bay.
"Conor's a game player," Monument coach Mike Saporito said. "But he's a young kid. I've got to cut him some slack. He's a student of the game, but he's 15, 16-years-old, and he still makes some, what to me, are questionable plays late in games.
"But he's a mentally tough kid, and he did make that shot. That's a big shot for Conor and a big shot for us."
After Prince ended the scoring drought, Monument went on to score 12 points in the quarter — none bigger than Piepho's drive to make it a two-score game.
"Jordan, I thought, played big all night," Saporito said. "[Thomas Reynolds] hadn't been in the Lenox program, and he was a formidable big. But I thought Jordan did a nice job of containing him on the glass. He got a couple of nice rebounds.
"And getting that rack move down the stretch when they were really matching up with our shooters pretty well and wreaking havoc on our offense, I thought that was a big shot for Jordan Piepho."
Prince scored a game-high 12 points, and Aberdale added 11 for Monument Mountain.
Michael Downer scored 11 to lead Lenox, which had three players finish with double-digit rebounding totals. Reyolds led the way with 13 boards; Thomas Hedges and Kevin Coakley had 12 adn 10, respectively.
Coakley had a putback and an assist in Lenox's 8-0 run to open the third quarter.
Saporito was disappointed that his team was not able to finish the game as strong as it started.
"Give Lenox credit," he said. "They were a little bit short-handed, down a couple of guys off their roster. But I knew they'd still be passionate in the first game of the tournament.
"I thought we came out with the right mindset, but then our guys get a little prideful instead of humble. That never really works for us, because we're not that good. We got out the lead, and guys started to do stuff they don't normally do. And then the lead evaporated."
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