Taconic's Game-Tying Shot Rims Out, Putnam Holds On

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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AMHERST, Mass. -- Two games into the season, the Taconic boys basketball team may not have a win, but it did take a big step in that direction on Sunday afternoon at Curry Hicks Cage.
Reigning Western Massachusetts Division 1 champion Putnam got 14 points from Jayson Green en route to a 54-51 win over the defending Western Mass D2 champs.
Taconic, however, rallied twice in the fourth quarter, nearly erasing deficits of 10 points and eight points, and had a good look at the basket for a game-tying 3-pointer that rimmed out at the buzzer.
It was a far cry from Taconic’s season opener two nights earlier, when it scored just 18 points through three quarters on the way to a 64-29 loss.
“There’s no question we played better today,” Taconic coach Bill Heaphy said. “Certainly I was down being down eight or something with two to go, or whatever that time frame was, and the urgency. We made some things happen and got back in the game.
“And that last play -- all you can ask for is a shot and an opportunity. And we got that. It was a good look. Shean [Harrigan] is a good shooter. I want him taking that all the time. And we didn’t get it.”
Harrigan ended up with six points on the day. Taconic (0-2) was led by Isaac Percy and Mohammed Sanogo with 19 and 12, respectively.
Sanogo helped Taconic take an early lead by going 7-for-8 at the foul line to open the game. His last make made it a 17-10 game with about six minutes left in the second quarter.
But Putnam caught fire soon afterward, shaking off some early doldrums and scoring on five straight possessions -- the last when Green stole the ball and laid it in to give his team a 21-17 lead with 2:29 left in the half.
It was 22-22 at half-time. Taconic had just six field goals in the first half -- four from Percy.
“After Friday, I was going to take any shot we could get,” Heaphy said when asked about his team’s shot selection. “We took a lot of contested shots on Friday. We did talk about going inside at half-time, looking for Junior [Sanogo] and try to get something going that way.”
It was Putnam that owned the third quarter, though, opening on an 8-2 run and taking the game’s biggest lead to that point when Green knocked down a triple with 11 seconds left in the quarter.
Another Green 3-pointer gave Putnam a 41-31 lead early in the fourth, but Taconic answered with a nine-point run of its own to get within one.
First, Percy set up Eric Montgomery for a triple. On the next trip, Percy drove the lane, scored and got to the line, where he converted the conventional three-point play. After a Putnam turnover, Percy knocked down a trey with an assist from Harrigan to make it 41-40.
This time, the Beavers answered, getting the lead back up to eight when Jeremiah Barbosa converted both ends of a one-and-one with 2 minutes, 17 seconds left to make it 52-44.
Taconic scored the next seven points: a three-point play by Sanogo on a putback, a Harrigan layup in transition and a basket in the post from Frank Boua to make it 52-51 with about a half minute left.
Se’yphon Triplett put back an offensive rebound at the other end to give Putnam a three-point lead, but Taconic had time to get the ball into the front court and get a timeout with 1.7 seconds left on the clock.
Harrigan worked off a screen set by Ezekiel Percy, and Bo Bramer found Harrigan open beyond the 3-point line with his baseline inbounds pass, but Harrigan’s shot was just off the mark and the buzzer sounded.
For the second straight game, about half of Taconic’s offense came from seniors Percy and Sanogo.
“We’re early in the year, and we’re still trying to figure out second and third options,” Heaphy said. “We think we know who it could be. We’ve just got to keep working at it. It’s a lot of pressure to put on one or two guys.”
After opening the season with two tough opponents on the road, it does not get any easier for Taconic in its home opener on Tuesday when it hosts 2018-19 D2 semi-finalist Longmeadow.
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