Taconic Boys Reach Third Straight State Final
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Seniors Isaac Percy and Mohammed Sanogo combined for 38 points Wednesday in Taconic's 62-56 win over Wayland in the Division 2 State Semi-Finals.
But it was an all hands on deck kind of game, and sophomore Sean Harrigan lent a big hand in sending Taconic to its third straight state final.
Harrigan scored eight points in the fourth quarter, assisted on a 3-pointer by classmate Bo Bramer and pulled down a key rebound in the closing seconds to help secure the win.
"Huge," Taconic coach Bill Heaphy said of Harrigan's performance. "He hit some big shots. He was playing with confidence. And being a sophomore on this stage, that's impressive.
"And I thought the big 3 Bo hit as a sophomore put us up four at that point. That was a big shot."
Taconic (20-4) led big early, but Wayland was able to get within seven at half-time and led by as many as five early in the fourth quarter.
Heaphy said that his team took some inspiration from the Taconic girls' dramatic comeback win in their state semi-final in the first game of Wednesday's double-header at Western New England University.
"It was huge for us, we were so happy for them," he said. "And what we learned is that there's two halves to every game. You've got a choice when you come out at half-time like they were: put your head down and say the game's over or find something within you to motivate you to get you going and get back in the game. And that's what you did."
Taconic's boys never faced a double-digit lead like the girls did, but when Jack Melvin hit a 3-pointer with 5 minutes, 25 seconds left in the fourth, Wayland had a 50-45 lead and all the momentum.
"From here on out, they're all heavyweight fights, and you've got to be able to go the distance and know it's going to go right to the 15th round," Heaphy said.
Eric Montgomery (nine points) answered Melvin's shot with a bucket in the post to ignite an 11-2 run for Taconic.
On its next possession, Harrigan converted an assist from Montgomery for his first points of the night.
"I just realized, 'I don't want to lose this game, and I'm not going to let us lose,' " Harrigan said.
He drove the baseline for a pair on Taconic's next possession to give his team a 51-50 lead.
After Gavyn Davies (14 points) scored in the post for Wayland to take a one-point lead, Sanogo put back an offensive rebound to regain Taconic's advantage at 53-52, and the team never looked back.
Bramer's triple made it a four-point margin, and the teams traded baskets for a couple of minutes.
Sanogo hit a baseline jumper with 27 seconds left to make it 60-56, and Wayland came back with a quick shot, but Harrigan got the rebound.
Wayland fouled Taconic quickly, but it was just their fifth personal, and off the inbound play, Harrigan sprung free for a layup that provided the final margin of victory.
Taconic dominated in the first quarter, jumping out to a 21-9 lead with Percy scoring 11 points and Sanogo adding eight.
Bramer set up Sanogo in the post on the last play of the quarter to give Taconic its biggest lead of the game, 12 points.
But Wayland rallied with nine straight points to start the second quarter, and it settled down to a one- to two-possession affair the rest of the way.
The Central Mass champions got within two points a couple of times.
The first time, Sanogo answered with a 15-foot jumper to push the lead to 25-21.
The next time, Percy drove the lane on a pair of possessions separated by a Sanogo defensive rebound and a Wayland turnover to put Taconic on top, 29-23.
It was a seven-point margin at half-time after Bramer converted both ends of a one-and-one with 32 seconds left in the half, and Wayland turned over the ball on a five-second call at the other end, leaving Taconic ahead, 33-26.
Taconic will see a new face in its third straight trip to the state championship game. Whitman-Hanson won the North-South game in Division 2 on Wednesday, beating Beverly, 86-68, at TD Garden.
"We're certainly showing up, and we'll give it our all," Heaphy said. "We'll find out more on them.
"I saw film of them, and they're going to be a very formidable opponent," Heaphy said. "They have multiple shooters with length.
"We're certainly showing up, and we're going to give it our all. We'll find out more on them. We'll plan for it and practice the two days before and see what happens."