Sanogo, Taconic Boys Rally Late, Hold Off Monument Mountain

By Stephen Sports
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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. -- It took a 14-3, fourth-quarter run for the Taconic boys basketball team to finally create enough distance to hold off Monument Mountain in a 70-64 win on Monday night.
Mohammed Sanogo scored 27 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, and Isaac Percy scored 19 points to give Taconic (6-2) its sixth straight win.
But it did not come easy against Dion Brown (game-high 34 points) and the Spartans, who repeatedly came back from deficits.
Taconic went up 15-6 in the first quarter. Monument responded to briefly lead by two in the second.
Taconic went on an 11-0 run that spanned the second and third quarters to take a 10-point lead. The Spartans responded with an 11-0 run of their own to go ahead, 39-38, when Caden Gidarokos (nine points) hit a 3-pointer with 2:46 left in the third.
Even after Sanogo scored in the post with 3:40 left in the fourth to cap that 14-3 run and give Taconic a 62-48 lead, Monument outscored the defending Western Massachusetts Division 2 semi-finalists, 16-8 down the stretch.
But this time, the Spartans ran out of time.
“We know we’re a very small, fast team, so we knew we had to keep running up and down the court no matter how much we were down by,” Brown said. “We had to keep our heads in the game because the game wasn’t over yet.
“We were down 14 with three minutes left, and next think you know, we were down six with a minute left. So we just had to keep our heads and keep pushing and pushing.”
The teams combined for 52 points in the fourth quarter of a game that had a big crowd on the edge of its seats all night.
After Brown knocked down one of his five 3-pointers to get the Spartans within three at 48-45. Sanogo hit from the elbow to start a run of seven baskets on seven possessions for Taconic.
The senior center scored four of those buckets as he collected 11 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter.
“The biggest thing was our energy level and our focus,” Taconic coach Bill Heaphy said of the decisive run. “I thought that was up and down the whole game. I didn’t think at times we were as active as we needed to be and didn’t put enough effort forward.
“That’s not taking anything away from Monument. They’re a good team with multiple weapons besides Dion, and Dion is a special player. But I just think we got a little more focused. We felt a little more urgency and completed a few plays in transition, got a couple of hoops for Mohammed.”
Heaphy said he did not install a special defense to focus on Brown because he knew the Spartans could get production elsewhere.
And Monument Mountain proved his point in the first two minutes of the game, when Connor Hanavan (13 points) hit a pair of 3-pointers. Brown also hit a 3 in the first quarter, but after hitting four in the first eight minutes, the Spartans had just five more from behind the arc the rest of the night.
“That one stretch in the fourth quarter really hurt us a little bit,” Monument Mountain coach Randy Koldys said. “It got us to a point where we were down 10 or 12, and it’s hard to come back against those guys because they’re really good.
“I’m really, really, really proud of my team’s effort tonight. They did some good things. We shore up a couple of things, we’re going to be really tough come tournament time. And if we shoot anywhere close to where we’re capable of shooting, we have a good chance.
“We’re coming out of this pretty optimistic. If you can learn anything from a loss, we definitely learned something tonight.”
Brown had eight rebounds and four steals to go with his 34 points. Hanavan scored 13, and Zach Goffin added eight for the Spartans.
Sean Harrigan scored 10, and Bo Bramer and Eric Montgomery added seven apiece for Taconic (6-2), which hosts Pittsfield on Wednesday.
Monument Mountain (5-2) goes to Lenox on Thursday.
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