Taconic Boys Hold Off Hoosac Valley

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- After trailing by 17 points late in the third quarter Monday at Taconic, the Hoosac Valley boys basketball team battled all the way back to within four.
But Taconic hung on for a 67-61 victory as it won its sixth straight and ran its record to 12-1 heading into Friday’s showdown with Drury.
Deonte Sandifer and Izaiya Mestre each scored 17 points, and Devon Walker had 12 points and nine rebounds to lead Taconic, which was outscored 23-17 in a fourth quarter that saw Mestre on the bench most of the period.
“I thought Hoosac played really hard,” Taconic coach Bill Heaphy said. “I saw them be down 18-4 up at their place [in an eventual win over] Pittsfield. I knew they were going come back. That’s the kind of team they are. They’re well coached.
“Not having Iziaya doesn’t help. But I thought we got tentative at the end, and we were playing not to lose as opposed to playing to win.”
Mestre left the game with 6:50 left and Taconic up, 52-41, after a collision in the paint while he was driving the left wing. The senior all-County contender returned with 1:29 left but left again 35 seconds later with Taconic up by nine.
Hoosac Valley (7-7) scored the next five points to whittle the lead down to 65-61 with 25 seconds left.
First Collin Rousseau hit a field goal to make it a seven-point game. Then after a Taconic turnover, Keagan McGrath (10 points) got to the line and hit both ends of a two-shot foul. During the second foul, Taconic was assessed a technical, and Izaha Stubbs hit one of two at the charity stripe to make it a four-point game.
Hoosac Valley inbounded the ball under its basket and got off a shot, but it missed the mark, and Walker grabbed the rebound.
He was fouled with 17 seconds left and made both ends of a one-and-one to push the lead back to six.
The Hurricanes hurried down for another shot, but it came off the rim to Jack Cooney with 9.5 seconds left. He missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Taconic got the rebound and ran out the clock.
Back in the first half, the game had all the earmarks of an upset as Hoosac was able to build a 22-17 lead midway through the second quarter.
But Taconic finished the first half on an 11-1 run that started with back-to-back 3-pointers by Sandifer and Brett Murphy (nine points) and included three Hoosac turnovers.
Taconic rode that momentum into the third quarter, when it went on a 17-3 run to take a 48-31 lead on Sandifer’s triple with about 1:30 left in the period.
“I thought we were not playing with enough of a defensive mentality in the first half,” Heaphy said. “I thought we let our lack of our offense dictate our lack of defense. We were sluggish, I thought.
“In the third quarter, we picked it up, some, and made some shots. It always helps you on the defensive end when you’re making shots. But we still missed too many layups.
“I’m happy to get out of here with a win, but I don’t think we played that well.”
David Critelli scored 15 to lead Hoosac, which got 10 apiece from McGrath and Nicholas Waterman.
The Hurricanes travel to face Wahconah on Thursday.
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