ROXBURY, Mass. — Some of the best high school girls basketball players in Western Massachusetts went east with one simple mission: to show the world that Berkshire County hoops is legit.
The West came up a little short on Sunday evening — literally and figuratively — in a Bay State Games gold medal game where the Bostonians' height proved decisive.
But after going 5-1 over three days and splitting with the Metro team that won the title, 78-65, on Sunday, the Berkshire all-stars have nothing to feel down about.
"I think the biggest thing is these kids came out here just wanting to prove they can play," West coach Matthew Ward said. "A lot of the people here think all of our kids are from Springfield. I think it's extra special that they're all from Berkshire County.
"We have really good basketball out there. That's what these kids wanted to prove, and they certainly did that."
West had no answer for Metro's dominance in the post on Sunday. Six-foot forward Melissa Baptista of Somerville scored 17 points, and 6-1 pivot Denia Stewart of Boston's New Mission grabbed 21 rebounds with four blocks.
The Metro team led by as many as 22 in the fourth quarter before West pulled within 11 with 30 seconds left with Pittsfield High rising sophomore Peyton Steinman hit a 3-pointer to make it 76-65.
But Metro's guards Tan'egra Drayton and Kathiana Monestine made two of four foul shots down the stretch to put the game out of reach.
Steinman finished with a game-high 29 points, and Pittsfield resident and Miss Hall's School sophomore Grace Guachione grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with six steals.
The West team featured six public high school players and six prep school players.
From Ward's Miss Hall's team, he selected Guachione and Dalton's Sarah Wilson. The Berkshire School contributed four players: Stockbridge's Mary Ward, Lenox's Sarah Kinney and Lee's Madison and Camryn Biasin.
Steinman was joined by her Pittsfield teammate, senior Lauren Carnevale. Two players came from Mount Greylock: senior Lucy Barrett and sophomore Jenna Benzinger. A couple of recent graduates — Lenox's Liz Mitts and Drury's Emily Moulton — rounded out the roster.
"I hadn't known that much about the Bay State Games," Barrett said. "I'd heard that the West got killed by 60, 70 points every game.
"I know I went in just hoping to change that around. I didn't know what the other competition was going to be like, but I knew our team was going to give it everything they had every single game. And that would get us somewhere."