West Side Pulls Away Late, Snaps Pittsfield Win Streak
PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Joseph Ingegneri scored 27 points, and the West Springfield boys basketball team Tuesday pulled away in the fourth quarter to earn a 77-70 win over Pittsfield in a battle for first place in the Suburban North.
The Terriers (13-1, 3-1) took control of the game with a 10-0 run that featured a pair of 3-pointers from Hasanat Ashraf (13 points).
When Evan Villalongo put back an offensive rebound midway through the quarter, West Side had a 66-59 lead, and the Generals (9-3, 3-2) never got closer than four points the rest of the way.
Ingeneri had five of the Terriers 11 3-pointers as West Side scored the most points by a Pittsfield opponent since the season-opening loss to Taconic.
The visitors scored 42 points in the first half before Pittsfield had its best stretch of the night, outscoring West Side, 17-9, in the third to take a 55-51 lead.
“It was a frustrating start,” Pittsfield coach Jerome Edgerton said. “From the beginning, I thought we weren’t in tune defensively. I think it’s been like that the last few games, even though we escaped our last game. I just thought our transition defense, closing out and locating shooters and finishing the possession with a rebound was not there in the first half.
“Quite frankly, it wasn’t there the whole game.”
Da’Sean Brown and Makai Shepardson led Pittsfield’s offense with 21 and 20 points, respectively. Carter Mungin had a double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds.
West Side jumped ahead early with a 15-3 spurt in the first quarter to take a 15-8 lead when Ashraf drove the lane for a bucket.
It was 18-10 on Ingegneri’s second 3-pointer of the game before Pittsfield went on a 5-0 run into the second quarter to make it a one-possession game.
Late in the second quarter, West Side again built the margin to eight with 1 minute, 40 seconds left until half-time.
But Pittsfield closed with an 8-4 spurt – the last three a Keanu Arce-Jackson 3-pointer with .6 seconds on the clock – to go to the locker room down, 42-38.
In the third quarter, Brown hit a pair of 3s, and Mungin scored six points in the paint – all on assists from Shepardson – to regain the lead. Back-to-back 3s from Patrick Brennan and Brown made it 55-51 going to the fourth.
It was 59-56 after Brown drove the lane for two early in the fourth, but West Side’s Joseph Kosior scored in the post to start his team’s decisive 10-0 run, a stretch that saw Mungin pick up his third and fourth fouls.
Shepardson got to the line and made one free throw to stop the run, but on the ensuing Terrier possession, Mungin was hit with his fifth personal foul.
Ingegneri, who was held to just one basket in the third quarter, scored six points in the last two minutes to preserve the lead and give West Springfield its sixth straight win.
The last time the Terriers lost? At home against Taconic for West Side’s only loss of the winter.
Wednesday’s game sets up a huge battle on Friday night on Valentine Road when the Terriers seek revenge against the Thunder.
As for Pittsfield, Edgerton was not claiming any moral victories for his Division 3 Generals after they took the No. 7 team in Division 2 into the fourth quarter before succumbing.
But he did say there was an upside to seeing Pittsfield’s eight-game winning streak snapped now, with six regular season games plus the Western Mass tournament before a hoped-for State Tournament run.
“I knew at some point in time – even when I was playing basketball here, we’d go 17-, 18-game winning streaks, and it just so happened our last game, a loss, was in a championship game,” Edgerton said. “So for me, part of it is, ‘OK. We lost this game. It’s out of the way now.’
“For us, we needed to get back to the drawing board. There’s no way you get back to the drawing board without losing, because then there’s a sense of urgency for everybody. Losing is not something we expect. The standard is we come out, we work hard and we win the game. And when we don’t win, we go back to the drawing board.”
Pittsfield’s next game is Friday at home against Chicopee Comp. It plays the Terriers again in West Springfield on Feb. 10.