Pittsfield Drops Amherst for Third Straight Win

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- For the Pittsfield boys basketball team, the season of giving is officially over.
On Friday, the Generals were downright stingy.
Pittsfield forced 18 turnovers and blocked six shots in a 50-37 win over Amherst that capped a 3-0 holiday week for coach Jerome Edgerton's team.
"That's what we've been talking about," Edgerton said. "We look at the average for our first three games, and we were giving up 70 points in 32 minutes.
"We went back to the drawing board, and the drawing board is pride. That's what we told the fellas. It's about just stepping up and saying, 'My man is not scoring on me.' You're starting to see it come together."
Makai Shepadson, Da'Sean Brown and Carter Mungin each scored 15 points to lead Pittsfield's offense.
Mungin had a double-double with 11 rebounds, and Shepardson passed out seven assists as Pittsfield improved to 5-2.
The Generals took control of the game early with a 12-0 run that featured Shepardson getting to the rim.
He started the run with a bucket to give Pittsfield a 6-3 lead and ended it with two transition baskets and a third transition drive that ended in two free throws. He made the second to give him nine points in the quarter and his team a 16-3 lead.
"Shepardson, he's a heck of an athlete," Edgerton said. "And now we've really sort of harnessed his basketball skills. What you'er seeing out there we talked about a few days ago: us becoming a better passing basketball team.
"The beautiful thing about this team is everything we talk about in practice, it's translating to the game. We talked about being a better basketball team, making sure we're setting up our teammates and playing from the inside out.
"And inside touches, we've got [Mungin], sometimes we can throw the ball to him. But inside touches is penetration and kick. That's what you're seeing out of [Shepardson]. And defensively, he's always been an A-plus defender."
The Hurricanes stopped the bleeding late in the quarter and got back within nine early in the second.
But Shepardson set up Mungin in the post to make it 23-12, and Mungin scored in transition to push the lead to 13 at 25-12. And Amherst never got closer than 10 points the rest of the afternoon.
Brown had a couple of steals and a couple of assists in the win. He also had three 3-pointers on a day when the Generals needed just four makes from behind the arc to win going away.
The majority of Pittsfield's offense was generated by going to the basket.
"It was attacking," Edgerton said. "We watch film on these teams, and one thing the film showed me is we could attack this team. We could attack this team from the inside out, use our size, our speed, our athleticism to get to the win. We talk about the fact that attacking the hoop is not just passing the ball in. It's using our guards to attack.
"We don't need the 3. Even though the game of basketball has gone to the 3-point shot, the way our team is built, we don't need 3-point shots to win games."
Pittsfield's vacation week started with wins over two teams from New York's Capital District and ended with a win under the dome. Now it goes out of state again on Tuesday with a trip to Bennington, Vt., to play Mount Anthony Union. That will be followed on Jan. 9 with a rematch against Taconic, a winner when the teams met in the season opener.
"We're starting to put it together," Edgerton said. "We have goals. And part of those goals is first to build a winning culture, to have a winning record. Some of these boys haven't had a winning record since they've been on varsity, the last two years. So now it's just changing the culture, drawing on some of the experiences I had playing here in what it takes to build a winning program -- not just winning games but being a champion. That's what we talk about."
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