Cracolici Leads Pittsfield Boys Past Baystate

By Stephen Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Pittsfield boys basketball team led from start to finish and put the game away with a 7-0, fourth-quarter spurt on Monday against Baystate Academy at the Pittsfield Hoop Club Holiday Classic.
Joe Cracolici scored a game-high 26 points, including back-to-back baskets to help turn a 10-point cushion into a late 17-point bulge in the eventual 68-52 win.
“He goes and puts in the work,” Pittsfield coach Brandon Mauer said of Cracolici. “He’s a hard-working kid.”
Cracolici had a double-double with 10 rebounds and notched a couple of assists as Pittsfield snapped a two-game losing streak.
The Generals led by six at the end of the first quarter and took its first double digit lead when Donte Cruz (11 points) scored on back-to-back possessions, completing a conventional three-point play to make it 29-19 midway through the second.
But Baystate hung around, scoring six straight to get within four and going to the locker room down by just eight, 36-28.
Pittsfield kept the visitors at arm’s length throughout the third quarter despite six of Vazul Washington’s team-high 13 points in the period.
It was just a 10-point lead, early in the fourth when Cracolici scored in the post off an Edwin Rodriguez assist to make it 57-45. Two possessions later, Cracolici converted one of Sam Higuera’s seven assists to make it a 14-point lead.
“When he gets in the teeth of zones, he makes the right decision pretty much every time,” Mauer said of Higuera. “He’s invaluable on defense, too.”
Carter Matthews had the assist on Pittsfield’s next bucket, a 3-pointer from Kymani Harley to make it 62-45 midway through the fourth.
Baystate could get no closer than 13 the rest of the way.
Pittsfield’s win was the middle game in a triple-header at the Boys & Girls Club that featured the Taconic boys in the nightcap and the PHS-Taconic junior varsity squads to open things up.
In between the two varsity games, the Pittsfield Hoop Club inducted four members into the city’s basketball Hall of Fame: all-Berkshire County center Dave Sturma of PHS, all-Berkshire guard Gary Bianchi of St. Joseph, all-Western Mass honoree Troy Robinson of St. Joe, and longtime coach, official and radio personality Sam Levin, who attended Adams High School.
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