Shade Leads Pittsfield to North-Clinching Victory
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Pittsfield boys basketball season started with a list of goals; like most teams do, but on Tuesday the Generals were able to check off number two on the list: win the Northern Division.
With a 64-63 win over Drury, the Generals, who already had number one (qualifying for the tournament) can now focus on goal number three: winning Western Mass.
It didn’t come easy for Pittsfield as Drury put up a fight right up until the final buzzer went off.
With two minutes, fifty seconds remaining in the game, Drury senior Justin Girard hit a 3-pointer to put them within seven points of Pittsfield’s lead (59-52); the Generals pulled away from the Blue Devils early in the fourth quarter.
Girard’s 3-pointer boosted the momentum of the Drury bench and its players on the court; for the final two minutes and fifty seconds it was a back and forth game; with Pittsfield holding onto the lead.
With four seconds remaining on the clock the Blue Devils' Kareen Beckett received the ball outside the 3-point line; he sent up a wide open shot that put Drury down by three (63-60). Drury coach Jack Racette didn’t hesitate in calling a timeout as soon as Beckett’s shot fell.
“We were just stressing importance of not fouling a jump shooter,” Pittsfield coach Steve Ray said. “Or fouling a guy who’s taking a 3 and ending up giving them three [shots] from the line.”
Ray’s team inbounded the ball on its defensive end was quickly fouled, sending Anthony Reinhold to the line. He put one in to put the score at 64-60 with 2.5 seconds on the clock.
Then Drury’s Cam Lesure received the inbound pass turned toward the hoop and sent up a shot from half court that went in before the final buzzer leaving the final score at 64-63.
“We had some breakdowns on defense,” Ray said. “Especially at the end of the game; we didn’t handle it well, we had a guy over play and he gave up a three to Beckett and then they came down and hit the half-court shot.”
The Generals were able to hold onto their lead from half-time (29-26) to seal the win in their final game of the season and check off goal number two on their pre-season agenda; which Ray was pleased about this evening.
“We talked at half-time how important it was for us to win the North,” Ray said. “That’s one of the things we’ve focused on from the beginning of the year.”
Chad Shade finished with 19 for Pittsfield, Jerry McDonough had 11, and Scott Steinman had eight.
For tournament-bound Drury, Hayden Bird had 19, both Cam Lesure and Beckett had 11, and Girard had nine.