Pittsfield Boys Use Fourth Quarter Run to Down Taconic
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- For three quarters, Friday’s Pittsfield-Taconic boys basketball featured great action for the crowd that crammed into Moynihan Field House.
Then, it was just great for the folks wearing purple and white.
Pittsfield used a 15-2 run at the start of the fourth quarter to break open a back-and-forth game and take a 60-49 win in a battle of North Division powers.
The Generals opened the quarter by scoring the first nine points and capped the run with a steal and a dunk by senior Chad Shade, who finished with a team-high 13 points, six rebounds and three steals.
“We just came out with a little more energy at the start of the fourth quarter,” Shade said. “We looked a little flat the beginning of the game there, so we wanted to pick it up and get a good start going into the fourth quarter so we could take the lead.
“We held onto it, and I thought we finished very well.”
Taconic coach Bill Heaphy said he thought his team’s youth might have played into its second-half demise.
“In the third quarter, we had shots and didn’t make any,” Heaphy said. “And then in the fourth quarter, they started making their run and getting the [crowd] behind them. I thought our youth showed -- some of the mistakes we made with the ball, throwing it around.
“I thought our kids played hard. The execution part just wasn’t there.”
Taconic (6-3) outrebounded the Generals (6-2) by a margin of 41-31. Treyvon Ringgold led the way with a 14 boards to go along with a game-high 17 points.
Pittsfield also got a strong interior game from senior Anthony Jones, who played through early foul trouble to score nine with seven boards, and he was one of the keys to limiting the damage from Ringgold and Charles Davis in the post.
“I think Jones does a tremendous job defensively,” Pittsfield coach Steve Ray said. “He’s often playing against guys who are bigger than him. He’s giving up four or five inches to guys who can jump, but he works hard. He picks up a couple of fouls here and there doing it. But overall, I don’t know where we’d be without him.”
Jones also scored eight in a back-and-forth first half on Friday night.
Pittsfield took the biggest lead before half-time when Simon Nassif scored in the post to make it 21-13 early in the second quarter.
But Taconic bounced back with an 8-2 run that was capped by a 3-pointer from Reilly Balcom (15 points) to make it 23-21 Pittsfield.
The Generals did not lead by more than four the rest of the half, which ended with a putback by Taconic’s Brett Murphy and a Balcom free throw to make it 29-28, Pittsfield going into the locker room.
The third quarter featured three ties and four lead changes. Taconic took its biggest lead since it went up 5-1 early when Deonte Sandifer set up Izaiya Mestre for a 3-pointer in the right wing corner to make it 39-36 with about a minute left in the period.
Pittsfield went two-for-four at the line to close the quarter and head to the third down, 39-38.
Then the Generals took control of the game.
First, Jerry McDonough scored to give PIttsfield the lead for good. Then Nassif had a conventional three-point play and Scott Steinman scored in transition to make it 45-39. Meanwhile, Taconic turned over the ball on seven of its first 10 fourth-quarter possessions, and even when it could hold onto the ball -- like on a trip when grabbed four offensive rebounds -- it could not find the mark.
After Shade drove the lane and hit a pull-up to make it 47-39, Taconic finally got on the board with a bucket by Ringgold. But Pittsfield got a transition basket from sophomore Bryce Daley and the dunk from Shade to make it 53-41 with 3 minutes, 2 seconds left to play.
Ray said that part of the 15-2 run was the fact that he was able to get his starters on the floor for the fourth.
“[Taconic] came out with a good, strong defensive intensity, and it really shook us a little bit,” Ray said. “And then we had all our starters get in foul trouble. We basically played most of the first half with our second team.
“In the last quarter is when we had everyone full force. We came out strong, ratcheted up the defense, got some turnovers and scored off that. Thats’ what made the difference.”
Pittsfield could have had an even bigger lead down the stretch but missed 10 of 11 free throws to start the fourth quarter. That allowed Taconic to get within six when Ringgold converted a conventional three-point play with 42.9 seconds left to make it 55-49.
But McDonough went 3-for-4 from the line in the last 22 seconds, and Steinman scored at the buzzer to finish the scoring.
Pittsfield will look for its third straight win on Monday night at Lee. Taconic hosts Lenox that night.
More photos to come from this game.