Medfield Tops Pittsfield in State Semi-Final

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
WORCESTER, Mass. -- Even in a loss -- even in an 18-point loss in her final game in a Pittsfield High uniform -- Peyton Steinman showed why her career was so special.
 
Early in the fourth quarter, long after the final outcome was no longer in doubt, Steinman made a steal, sprinted the other way and took a hard foul into the stanchion at the DCU Center.
 
She got off the floor and sank both foul shots.
 
Then in the final minute, she drove to the basket in traffic, ripped a rebound out of a Medfield player's hands and went up in the middle of three players, drawing another two shots at the line. She sank both for her 18th point of the game, the final points of her career and the final margin of a 55-38 Medfield win.
 
"That's her character," Pittsfield coach Joe Racicot said. "We've never taken her out when we've had a blowout, and we've only had one blowout other than this. We just try to keep fighting.
 
"You have a kid like Peyton, and she just keeps busting her tail. It's sad to see her go. I can't say enough about the kid."
 
Steinman finished with 12 rebounds and a couple of assists while scoring a team-high 18.
 
Margaret McCarthy scored 19 with nine rebounds to lead Central Mass champion Medfield (22-2) into Saturday's state final in Springfield. Lauren Casieri scored 15 with eight rebounds in the win.
 
The Generals got 10 points and 10 rebounds from Lexi Garvey.
 
It was clear almost from the opening tip that this was not going to be Pittsfield's day.
 
Medfield scored the game's first six points and stormed to a 21-2 lead early in the second quarter, largely by asserting its will on the glass and forcing Pittsfield into turnovers.
 
It did not help that the Generals came out nearly as cold as the Nor'easter working its way up the coast as the game was played.
 
"Missing some easy layups -- we missed 11 at the basket in the first half, and everyone gets down when a kid misses a bunny," Racicot said. "And then they come back and dominate the boards. They can shoot. They can play.
 
"We missed an easy shot, and they come back and either hit a 3 or work the ball in and make a basket -- the turnovers and missing easy shots. They dominated the boards. We did as well as we could, but they're a good team."
 
Pittsfield turned the ball over eight times during the opening barrage, and when the Generals did manage to get off a shot, they were one and done as  McCarthy collected seven first-half rebounds, and Sophia Ouimette and Megan Zona had five carroms apiece for Midfield before half-time. Medfield went to the locker room with a 29-15 advantage on the boads.
 
Steinman stemmed the 21-2 run midway through the second quarter when she drove to the basket on the left wing for a conventional three-point play.
 
From there, the half was more even, but Medfield was able to extend its lead to a 23-point bulge, going to the locker room ahead, 34-11.
 
Midway through the third quarter, Steinman went 4-for-4 at the line and Garvey hit a hook shot in the post during a 6-0 run that got the Generals (16-8) within 16 points, 37-21. But Medfield scored the next seven to re-establish its 23-point margin, and it never looked back.
 
And while it was easy for Generals fans to look back at Steinman's accomplishments -- leading scorer in PHS girls basketball history, first Western Mass title at the school since 2002, Division II basketball scholarship -- Racicot already was looking ahead to the 2017-18 campaign.
 
"We've got everybody but Peyton coming back next year, and there are some good freshmen coming in," he said. "I'm very optimistic about our chances next year, and I'm proud of what the kids achieved. We're still a young team. We're looking forward to next season.
 
"I told them, [Monday's loss] is something that they should learn from. Keep that little thing in your throat that you have for a while and remember where it came from."