Murphy, Sandifer Key for Taconic Boys at Pittsfield

By Stephen Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- You would be hard pressed to find a better backcourt than the one on the Taconic boys basketball team, but it was Taconic’s forwards who were front and center much of the night Friday at Pittsfield High.
Brett Murphy scored 16 points, and Devon Murphy grabbed six rebounds as Taconic beat Pittsfield, 65-47, for its fifth straight victory.
The forwards held the fort until the fourth quarter, when guard Deonte Sandifer caught fire and scored 11 of his game-high 20 points.
Murphy scored 14 of his 16 through the first three quarters as Taconic led by as many as 24 midway through the fourth.
“We need [Murphy],” Taconic coach Bill Heaphy said. “When he hits a few shots for us, it kind of ignites everything, and he even plays with a little bit more of a chip -- not that he needs it.
“It’s critical that he scores for us. We can’t just have our guards score for us. We need more balance. And we’ve talked a lot about it. When he’s on, he really helps us.”
Taconic had some balance in the end on Friday with Sandifer leading the way at 20 and Murphy and Mestre contributing 16 and 14, respectively. After that, no one had more than four points.
Pittsfield (6-6) got 15 points from Terrick Boire to lead three players in double figures. Tyrell Boire and Grady Pederson scored 11 and 10, respectively, and Edwin Rodriguez and Collin Frinks tied Mestre for game-high rebounding honors at eight.
But the Generals, who came in having lost three of their last four, fell into an early 10-2 hole and never really recovered.
Murphy hit a 3-pointer, and Mestre scored in the post during Taconic’s opening run, which ended with a Devon Walker tip in.
Taconic pushed its lead to 16-4 late in the first quarter before Pittsfield settled in and traded shots, getting to half-time down, 32-22.
Taconic started to pull away at the end of the third when Murphy scored the last four points of the quarter to give his team a 46-33 lead.
That turned into an 11-0 run that stretched into the fourth quarter -- a jumper from the right wing by Murphy, a Mestre free throw and two buckets from Sandifer that got the lead up to 53-33 with about six minutes to play.
“I thought we had ‘em early, and then we let them back in,” Heaphy said. “I thought our transition defense was bad. We missed too many lay-ups, and the fact we were missing those lay-ups hurt us. We were hanging around [under our own basket], and they were fast-breaking. Luckily, they weren’t converting everything.
“Then we corrected some things at half.”
And Sandifer became a force in the fourth quarter, finishing his night with a conventional three-point play with 2:45 left for his 11th point of the quarter and a 63-39 Taconic lead.
“I said something to him, too,” Heaphy said. “I said, ‘Take this game over. Coach the team when you’re out there.’ And he did.”
Taconic (11-1) has a big Berkshire County North Division battle Monday at Drury (11-1).
Pittsfield is off until Thursday when it visits Hoosac Valley.
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