BENNINGTON, Vt. -- For the Pittsfield girls basketball team, the Western Massachusetts tournament started in southwestern Vermont.
The Generals Tuesday used a 22-2 first-half run to earn a 65-37 win over Mount Anthony Union and claim their 10th win of the season, clinching a berth in the Western Mass sectional on the last day of the regular season.
Jamie Duquette and Jordyn Lummus each scored 19, and Alexi Sondrini added 18 as Pittsfield snapped a four-game losing streak and finished the season with a .500 record.
“We definitely wanted it, especially since this is our last game, so it’s either now or never, and thank God we were able to pull it out,” Lummus said.
“We knew that the fans were going to be a little rowdy, so we tried to keep them in the back of our minds and not worry about them too much. Basically, it was a now or never situation. Either you leave it all on the floor or you don’t, and you go home with your heads down and a big ‘L’ and not Western Mass.”
In the opening stages, it looked like the Patriots would be able to run with Pittsfield.
Paced by Grace Mahar’s six first-quarter points, Mount Anthony was down by just one point, 9-8, with 2:49 left in the first quarter.
But on Pittsfield’s next possession, Lummus hit from the top of the key to ignite a 13-0 spur that spanned the first and second quarters.
When Lummus set up Duquette for a basket early in the second, it was a 22-8 Pittsfield bulge.
Mahar got a bucket in the post for MAU’s first points in a span of 6:20.
But the Generals then scored nine straight to go up by 21.
Lummus started the 9-0 run with a drive down the lane and ended it by driving the right wing and drawing contact for a conventional three-point play to make it 31-10.
It ended up a 33-12 lead at half-time.
“They missed some shots, we caused them to hurry, we forced them to have other people take shots,” Pittsfield coach Joe Racicot said of the first half rally. “Once we got the ball back, we ended up scoring, so it worked out pretty well.”
The Generals had their most productive offensive night since Jan. 13, a 69-30 win at Mount Everett.
A big factor was the perimeter game as the Generals combined for 10 3-pointers. Sondrini led the way with four. Duquette had three triples and Lummus hit twice from beyond the arc.
Defensively, the focus was on Mahar, Mount Anthony’s 1,000-point scorer. She ended up with 27 points but had to work for every one of them as Lummus drew the assignment against the lanky Mahar.
“All the kids worked hard,” Racicot said. “Obviously, Mahar had the height advantage, and they really exploited that. But the kids were gritty. We double-teamed when we had to, when we could. And that kind of helped out at different times.
“Otherwise, she probably would have had 40.”
The 5-foot-3 Lummus credited her teammates with helping her limit the damage by Mahar.
“Obviously, it’s not always about the height, it’s about the heart and who wants it more,” Lummus said. “It was a big challenge, but knowing I had my teammates there to play help defense helped a lot.”
Mahar hit a pair of 3s and scored 12 points in the third quarter to help Mount Anthony stay within 20 at 48-28.
But Pittsfield went on a 10-2 run to start the fourth to put the game away. Sondrini scored five and dished out an assist during that spurt.
The Generals now will wait until Saturday to find out who they will face in the first round of the Western Massachusetts Division 2 tournament.
“We’re just hoping we don’t have to play Taconic in the first round,” Racicot said with a smile, alluding to last year’s 45-31 loss at Taconic in the Generals’ playoff opener. “It depends on how many teams make it on our division. … I was just worried about making it.”