PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- When Taconic freshman Ciany Conyers set up classmate Ahliya Phillips in transition with about two minutes left in the fourth quarter on Friday night, it all but ended the game.
And it pretty much defined it.
The transition bucket gave their team a 41-32 lead in an eventual 44-32 win over rival Pittsfield at the Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires.
The freshman duo have been a big part of the reason Taconic is 13-3 this winter and were the main ingredients Friday as it swept the city series from the Generals.
Phillips finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Conyers scored 14 to go with 11 boards. And Taconic won for the sixth time in seven games.
“I thought the game slowed down for them tonight,” Taconic coach Matt Mickle said. “They’re talented kids, but sometimes the game is moving really fast for them. Tonight, I thought they stayed under control and slowed the game down and took what the defense was giving them.”
At the other end of the floor, Taconic’s defense was not giving up much, and Conyers and Phillips, with three second-half steals between them, were a big part of the reason Pittsfield was held to a season low -- seven points under the 39 the Generals scored in a loss to Wahconah two weeks ago.
“I’m so happy for my girls right now,” Mickle said. “They played really hard tonight. I know it means a lot to them, especially playing against Pittsfield High. [The Generals] have been playing great, so for us to hold them to 32 points, I thought we played great on defense and we all stayed together. I thought it was a great team win.”
Pittsfield coach Joe Racicot was disappointed in his team’s defensive effort.
“We didn’t work hard on helping each other out on defense,” Racicot said. “That was one of the keys [in Thursday’s win at Hoosac Valley]. We worked hard, we helped each other out. … Tonight, a few kids were going through the motions.
“We’ll remedy that, and we’ll be better for it.”
After shrugging off a sluggish start to the game for both teams, Taconic was able to build a six-point lead going into the locker room.
“I think they were nervous,” Mickle said of his team’s three turnovers in its first four possessions. “I think Pittsfield was doing the same thing. In almost every city game, there’s always a ton of turnovers to start.”
His team had a much better start to the second half, going on a 12-1 run coming out of the locker room to take a 34-17 lead. Conyers had a blocked shot on the defensive end and scored six points -- four in transition -- during that stretch.
Pittsfield’s Alexis Garvey (team-high 11 points) ended the run when she put back her own miss, igniting an 8-2 spurt for the Generals to close the third quarter.
Pittsfield got within six to start the fourth, and it was a 39-32 game with 2 minutes, 58 seconds remaining after Alexi Sondrini set up Garvey for a bucket.
But after the teams traded turnovers for about a minute, Phillips scored that transition bucket on Conyers’ pass. Then Phillips hit a field goal from just inside the 3-point arc to make it 43-32. With just more than a minute left, Kendra Buda hit a foul shot to provide the final margin, and both coaches began to clear their benches.
Both teams were playing the second half of back-to-backs thanks to games that were rescheduled by weather to Thursday night. Pittsfield was coming off a particularly emotional Thursday night, having knocked off perennial power Hoosac Valley.
But Racicot was not making any excuses for Friday’s loss.
“You’ve got to bring it to the table every night,” Racicot said. “We’ve played enough games to realize that that’s what needed to be done. And we didn’t do it in the first half.
“In the second half, we got a little more aggressive and had some great opportunities. We got it down to six and still had some great opportunities after that, but we didn’t convert. And we had some good looks at the basket. It could be tired legs or whatever, but I hate to make excuses. The kids work hard all year, and they’re ready to go.”
Pittsfield (9-7) will need to be ready to go again on Sunday when it hosts Monument Mountain in a rescheduled game.
Taconic hosts Wahconah on Monday.