Taconic Boys Top Pittsfield in OT

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- A lot has changed since the last time the Pittsfield and Taconic boys met on a basketball court.
But for a couple of hours on Sunday night, things felt a little, well, normal, as the two rivals went toe-to-toe in the Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires.
And 32 minutes was not enough to settle this grudge match. Taconic's Sean Harrigan scored three of his team-high 21 points in overtime to lead his squad to a 61-58 win.
Neither team led by more than five points the entire game, and the lead changed hands five times after half-time.
At times, it was not the prettiest basketball, but it provided an exciting show for the limited, socially-distanced crowd in the stands and the folks watching at home on Pittsfield's public access television station.
"It was a good day," Taconic senior Ezekiel Percy said after scoring 17 points and grabbing 14 rebounds on Senior Night. "We beat our rivals. It was a good day."
Taconic's boys also joined the school's girls team in celebrating the co-State Championships each earned last winter, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of their state title games and altered just about everything else in American life.
Ezekiel's brother Isaac, who led UMass-Dartmouth's men to a Little East Conference title as a freshman this winter, was back in town to celebrate with his former teammates in a venue special to all Pittsfield athletes.
"It means a lot to me to do it at the Club," Percy said. "I thank all the staff, the coaches, the refs who did all this for us. Playing in front of fans felt good.
"I'm happy we got a season this year, especially with this being my senior year."
Unlike Taconic, where Percy is the lone senior, Pittsfield High will say goodbye to 10 seniors at the end of an abreviated season that began on March 8.
On Sunday, senior Christian Pringle scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and classmate Sincere Moorer added 16. Junior Tobias Gaulden-Wheeler matche Moorer with 16.
Gaulden-Wheeler drove the lane early in the third quarter to give Pittsfield its third five-point lead of the game at 32-27.
But Taconic answered right away, getting a 3 and a bucket in the post from Percy to tie the game moments later.
And that is how the second half went, back-and-forth, with Moorer breaking a 53-53 tie when he drove the lane for the Generals with 2 minutes, 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
After the teams traded empty trips, Harrigan scored with a drive on the right wing with 1:47 left.
And that is where it ended. Pittsfield missed shots on its last three possessions down the stretch. Taconic had the final possession, taking the ball out of bounds 80 feet from the basket with three seconds left, but it failed to get off a shot.
Harrigan hit from the elbow on Taconic's first possession of overtime to make it 57-55, and after a defensive rebound at the other end, Frank Boua put back an offensive rebound to give Taconic its second five-point lead at 59-55.
That ended up being enough.
Pittsfield managed just three points to get within one point on Pringle's drive with just more than a minute left. But Jayden McCarthy and Harrigan each hit a foul shot to provide the final margin.
"Both both teams battled," Taconich coach Bill Heaphy said. "We're both at the same starting point of the season. You could see the work that we need to do.
"We were down at points -- not by a big margin, but when points are hard to come by, the lead seems bigger than it was. But we battled and stayed composed, and that's what we hadn't been doing in other close games. Mentally, we didn't execute what we needed to do in key moments in other games.
"Today, we were a little bit better at it. Still a long way to go, but I'm happy with how hard they played."
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