Greenfield Stops Taconic's Run at Title
The number four seeded Taconic Braves fell to top seed Greenfield 62-49 in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 semi-final at Curry Hicks Cage on the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Campus Tuesday night.
"It's always tough to lose that way," said Taconic head coach Bill Heaphy. "I thought we played well in spurts but we didn't string enough good minutes together to sustain anything. I don't think we ever got into a rhythm."
With the score tied 12-12 coming out of the first quarter, Greenfield busted open a 9-0 run just two minutes and 30 seconds into the quarter. Taconic hung tight though and went into halftime trailing by seven, 28-21.
After intermission, the Braves went on one of their spurts and closed the Green Wave lead to just one point. Greenfield would answer though with a quick basket and a 3-pointer to extend their lead up to six.
That's when junior Shaquille Ardrey stepped up to keep the game in reach. With a little over a minute left in the third, Ardrey scored the Braves final five points of the quarter including a 3-point play on a tough contested lay-up to put Taconic within four. Ardrey finished the game with 14 points, nine of which came in 19 point third quarter for the Braves.
"We got it back in the third to as low as four and we were playing," said Heaphy. "But then they made shots. They made some tough shots and it quickly got up to ten again. I thought we dropped our heads a little bit and got discouraged some what. Then we forced a few things and tried to do a little too much and didn't really get the looks we were getting earlier. It was one of those games where it felt like we just ran out of time."
Just as Greenfield did at the start of the second quarter, they did in the
fourth, breaking open a 9-2 to run over the first two minutes of the quarter to put Taconic down 11. The Braves struggled to answer and found themselves down 13 with three minutes to play. Then with just under two minutes left, Greenfield sealed the victory with a big 3-pointer as the shot clock ran out.
Taconic loses two seniors from this year's squad, Tryvon Sims and Tyler Murphy. Sims finished with a team-high 16 points including four 3-pointers. He was a spark plug for the Braves in the first quarter, scoring eight of their 12 points. But as Sims and Ardrey struggled so did the team. The two combined for just eight total points in the second and fourth quarters which included a tossed up three from Sims as time expired.
I asked Coach Heaphy if he thought this experience would be good for his returning players and he told me, "I sure hope so. I sure hope so because there is a good core of kids coming back who now have this experience. You know we'll miss the two seniors but hopefully we can build on this and get back here."
Besides Ardrey and Sims, juniors Drew Scace and Mike Taylor were the only other Braves that found the basket. Both players contributed nicely with 10 and nine points, respectively.
Print Story | Email Story