Pittsfield Boys Rally Late to Hold Off Monument Mountain

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Although on paper the Pittsfield boys basketball team looks experienced, the Generals are still learning how to win a year after graduating six from a team that won 15 games.
Bumps on the road will happen, and on Tuesday the Generals hit a big one against Monument Mountain.
The good news for Pittsfield: It got over that bump and survived with a 63-60 win.
Monument (3-4) erased all of a 14-point second half deficit to tie the game at 59-59 with 2 minutes, 22 seconds on the clock, but Edwin Rodriguez scored the next three points, and Quinn Matthews made a free throw with 4.8 seconds on the clock to secure the win.
“I thought we did a pretty good job handling them on the boards, and I thought we did a pretty good job executing our game plan to get up and down the floor,” Pittsfield coach Steve Ray said. “We just didn’t finish very well, and we had a lot of mental breakdowns at the end there.
“Some of that comes from the new guys. We’re playing sophomores. Little by little, we’re trying to get better every game. … For these guys, it’s a learning experience.”
Tuesday’s lesson came along with Pittsfield’s fourth straight win as the Generals improved to 5-2 going into Thursday’s game at Mount Greylock.
It looked like the Generals would be able to put it in cruise control late in the third quarter when Griffin Manns scored in the post to cap a 9-1 run and give Pittsfield a 49-35 lead.
But Monument Mountain responded with five in a row to get the lead back down to single digits and went to the fourth quarter down by just eight, 53-45.
The Spartans went on an 11-2 run to draw within a point when David Riegel (14 points) hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game with about three minutes left to play.
Moments later, Zach Tinker was fouled in the post hitting a shot, and he completed the conventional three-point play to tie it, 59-59.
But Pittsfield got steals from Rodriguez and Tyrell Boire to keep the Spartans from again scoring from the field. Monument managed just a free throw from Connor Prince to make it 62-60 with 9.2 seconds on the clock. Graham Herrick got the carom on Prince’s second foul shot, but Matthews grabbed the rebound of Monument’s miss, and he was fouled with 4.8 ticks left. Matthews sank one of two at the line to provide the final margin.
Rebounding was a big difference in the game for Pittsfield, despite Monument’s bigger starting lineup. Matthews led the way with 11 boards. Tyrell had eight rebounds to go with 18 points, and Terrick Boire grabbed six boards to go with his 13 points.
“Tyrell Boire, to me, is one of the top players in the county,” Ray said. “But we’re really surprised with the contribution we’re getting from [senior] Griffin Manns, a football player who didn’t play basketball last year. He’s come in and done a great job. Quinn Matthews had to have 10 or 12 rebounds.
“We’re pleasantly surprised with the contributions we’re getting from some of the younger guys. The guys we were hoping would step up really are.”
For Monument, Herrick had 10 points and eight rebounds, and Kevin Troiano had a team-high nine boards and seven points.
The Spartans host Taconic on Thursday night.
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