Taconic Downs Pittsfield in Overtime

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — For the second Friday in a row, the Taconic High School boys' basketball team lost a lead in the fourth quarter.

And for the second Friday in a row, the Braves did not lose their composure.

Shaquille Ardrey and Tyler Murphy combined to score nine points in overtime as Taconic outlasted city rival Pittsfield, 79-75, in overtime on Friday.

Ardrey led all scorers with 29, and teammate Trayvon Sims scored 18 for Taconic, which won its fourth in a row and sixth in its last seven to improve to 7-5.

Last week at Taconic High School, Hoosac Valley erased a nine-point lead in the last two minutes before the hosts prevailed, 65-60.

On Friday, Taconic was up by eight, 60-52, midway through the fourth before Amancho Adopo and Evan Lanoue led the Generals (8-5) on a 14-6 run to close regulation.

Sims said Taconic was able to rally in both overtime wins because it turned around its season.

"Pretty much we're a family now," he said. "We started out rocky in the beginning, and we just pulled it together. We all trust each other and love basketball. We came out here to play tonight, so did they. We came out on top."

Sims said the Braves made a mid-season adjustment after that "rocky" 1-4 start.

"We noticed guys who were slacking in practice, slacking on the court," Sims said. "When we called a timeout, we didn't come off the court. Bad call? We got our heads down. So we just kind of turned it around and let people know that's not a good thing to do."

Taconic coach Bill Heaphy credited his players with keeping their focus in back-to-back OT wins that saw the other team carry momentum into the extra session.

"They came in really wanting to play this game tonight, and it's a credit to them," heaphy said. "They dug down deep, and they're getting better at trusting each other and believing in each other.

"It showed in those last two overtime games."

Friday's game started out looking like the kind of game that would need overtime before it was decided.

The first quarter featured four ties and six lead changes, but Taconic gave itself a little bit of a cushion when it asserted itself on the offensive glass.

Ardrey, Drew Scace and Mike Taylor each put back offensive rebounds in the last 2 minutes, 30 seconds of the first to give Taconic a 19-14 lead.

Scace finished with a team-high 16 boards, and Taconich had 10-4 advantage in second-chance points and a five-point lead, 35-30, at half-time.

"That's another point of emphasis with our size," Heaphy said. "We've got to get some offensive rebounds. We hadn't been getting them in our first few games, and Mike and Drew really kind of got after it and get us some second-chance opportunities. We didn't always convert, but at least we were active and aggressive, which is what we're trying to do."

Pittsfield stormed back in the third quarter, mounting an 8-0 run with Taconic's Sims on the bench to tie it, 42-42, when Aaron Bradley (17 points) hit a 6-footer from the lane with 1:51 left in the quarter.

Sims came back to hit one 3-pointer and set up Ardrey for another in an 11-6 run that gave Taconic its last sizable lead, 60-52, with 4:05 left in regulation.

Adopo (21 points, 17 rebounds) scored seven in an 11-4 run that made it a one-point game, and then, after Ardrey converted a Scace outlet pass with just over a minute left to make it 66-63, Pittsfield's Lanoue was fouled on a 3-point try and made all three at the line to tie it, 66-66.

Adopo stole the ball twice in the last minute to deny Taconic another chance to take the lead, and he had a shot from beyond the arc with 2 seconds left that just missed the mark, sending the game to overtime.

Taconic never trailed in the extra session, which started with a steal and lay-in by Murphy and featured four more steals -- one each from Scace, Ardrey, Murphy and Jake Hescock.

Pittsfield got within one point once at 73-72, but a pair of Scace free throws and Murphy's second steal and lay-in of the period made it a five-point game with about 1:30 left. The Generals manaaged just three more points, and Ardrey knocked down his last two foul shots to provide the final margin of victory.

Taconic hosts Mount Greylock on Tuesday night while Pittsfield goes against St. Joseph at the Boys and Girls Club.

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