Pittsfield Edges Monument Mountain for Regional Title

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. – A packed house in the Shire City. Game on the line. The Monument Mountain boys basketball team inbounding the ball on the offensive end with a chance to win it.
It was a familiar scenario on Saturday night at the Boys and Girls Club.
But unlike the Dec. 23 meeting at Pittsfield High, which ended in heartbreak for the Pittsfield boys, this time around, the Generals took away the ball and took home a championship.
Malachi Perry stole an inbound pass in the right wing corner with 8 seconds left, and Patrick Brennan made a free throw with 5.3 ticks on the clock to give Pittsfield a 65-63 win over the previously unbeaten Spartans in the Western Massachusetts Class B Championship Game.
“They had that buzzer beater, and it was heartbreak in the first game, so we didn’t want that to happen again,” Perry said. “So we had to really lock in that last couple of seconds.”
Pittsfield coach Jerome Edgerton was not about to let his team forget the Christmas Eve eve heartbreak.
“I told them in timeout, ‘Here we are again,’ “ Edgerton said. “We were down to the wire again with this team, and last time it didn’t go our way.
“So this time we made a defensive adjustment. We took the guy off the ball, moved him to the middle, zoned it up and got a huge steal to seal the game for us.”
It was the last in a long string of big plays for Perry, who finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and a couple of blocks – not to mention the biggest steal of the night in front of an announced crowd of 1,700.
“He’s a big part,” Pittsfield's "Nunu" Brown said of his fellow senior. “I think he did it all for us – boards, points, 3s, everything.”
Actually, Perry, who does have 11 3-pointers on the season, did not score from behind the arc on Saturday, but he scored just about every other way possible.
Pat Brennan handled the 3-point shooting for Pittsfield, draining five shots from behind the line – including three in the third quarter alone – to finish with a team-high 18 points.
“I’ve got to shout out Pat Brennan, because Pat Brennan, that was his night – not only shooting, but all game long, really, he was defending Khalil [Carlson] head on,” Edgerton said. “Toward the end, we started seeing different matchups. But Pat Brennan – shooting and defending, rebounding – any time he comes in this gym, he has a big night.”
Brennan and the Generals held Monument’s Carlson to just nine points through three quarters and 17 points on the night, six points under his average.’
Manny Brown led the Spartans with 21 points. Griffin McElroy and Sebastian Guete-Ramirez added 14 and 11, respectively.
“We knew they were going to key on [Carlson] a little bit, and we just did not do a good job of doing the stuff we’ve been doing,” Monument Mountain coach Randy Koldys said. “It’s a great learning situation for us, I hope. We can carry it over into the state tournament now, I hope.”
The Spartans (20-1) earlier on Saturday were installed as the No. 3 seed in next week’s Division 4 State Tournament. Monument Mountain awaits the winner of Tuesday’s preliminary round game between Ayer-Shirley and Uxbridge.
Pittsfield also grabbed a third seed, in Division 3, where it awaits the winner of a play-in game between Springfield International Charter and Swampscott, who play Tuesday.
Perry was a force early on, scoring 13 points in the first quarter to help Pittsfield take a double-digit lead out of the gate.
Brennan hit a triple, and Perry scored four straight in a 12-2 run for the Generals to take a 23-12 lead.
Another Brennan 3 early in the second gave Pittsfield its biggest lead of the night at 30-16.
From there, Monument Mountain was able to chip away, and it got within seven at half-time when Carlson at the buzzer put back a rebound Isaiah Keefner’s half-court shot to make it 39-32.
Pittsfield scored the first seven points of the second half, ending with a Brennan 3, to go back ahead by 13, but Monument Mountain answered with a 9-0 run that included four free throws from McElroy.
Once again, Pittsfield pulled ahead, going up by 12 after a 12-4 run highlighted by Perry’s block on the defensive end and outlet pass to Brown (11 points) for a lay-in.
The Generals led by 10 going to the fourth quarter, but Monument Mountain had one more run left in it, outscoring Pittsfield, 14-1 to take a 62-59 lead on a 3-pointer by Guete-Ramirez with 3 minutes, 42 seconds to play.
“We started playing defense,” Koldys said of the second-half comeback. “I don’t think we played defense at all for probably the first 2-½ quarters.
“We just had a breakdown tonight. It could have been the moment was pretty big for us with the big crowd. I don’t know. That wasn’t us, what we’ve been doing all year long. And credit Pittsfield, because they made us play that way.”
That said, Koldys said he was optimistic that his team will be able to regroup for the state tourney.
“I’m really, really proud of my guys,” he said. “I’m proud of the effort. I’m proud of what they’ve done to get better, especially the second half of the year. … They played a lot of spring, summer and fall basketball, and that made a difference this year. We just couldn’t shoot well in the first half.”
Pittsfield’s Brown stopped the Spartans’ run with a 3-pointer to tie the game, 62-62, but Brown got to the line with 2:13 on the clock and made one shot to give Monument Mountain its last lead of the night at 63-62.
Pittsfield’s Makai Shepardson (17 points) drove the lane and hit what turned out to be the winning basket with 1:30 on the clock.
From there on, it was a defensive battle with Perry making the biggest stop when the Generals needed it the most.
“Oh my gosh, all night, all year all summer,” Edgerton said of Perry’s contributions for the Generals. “From the beginning. The young man just came in on a mission. And the young man’s athleticism, his ability to get after it, stay after it. His hunger. His desire. It’s everything.
“And never mind his basketball IQ. Don’t think the athleticism is everything. That young man is smart upstairs.”


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