Pittsfield Boys Hold Off Longmeadow's Late Rally

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Pittsfield boys basketball team Friday led by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter but had to fight for its life late to hold off Longmeadow and take a 58-54 win in the Pittsfield Hoop Club Holiday Classic at the Boys and Girls Club.
Joe Cracolici put back an offensive rebound with 13 seconds left to make it a five-point margin, and Sincere Moorer made a free-throw with eight seconds left to again make it a two-possession game after the Lancers had cut it back to three.
Pittsfield coach Joe Mauer was happy with the way his team played down the stretch to preserve the win and head into a 12-day break with a 4-2 record.
“We had little bit of a lapse,” Mauer said. “One of their players got wide open down the bottom there. But for the most part, down the at the end, we were pretty locked in on our defense, and we made our free throws, which mattered.”
Pittsfield went 6-for-8 at the line in the last 3 minutes, 27 seconds.
Cracolici had two of those foul shots on his way to a game-high 18 points. He earned a double-double with 13 rebounds.
Moorer scored 12, and Donte Cruz added seven. Craig Jackson scored six and grabbed six rebounds.
The Generals took control of the game with a 12-0 run to end the first half.
It started when Carter Matthews converted both ends of a one-and-one to trim a four-point Longmeadow lead.
Then, after a Kymani Harley rebound at the defensive end, Harley set up Cruz for a bucket in transition to tie the game. Pittsfield then got a steal out of its press and a bucket from Moorer for four points in three seconds to take a 25-23 lead.
Moorer hit a pair of free throws, Harley knocked down a jumper from the left wing, and Cruz put back an offensive rebound to make it 31-23, Generals, at half-time.
Pittsfield used a 6-0 run early in the third to open its first double-digit lead, 39-27, when Jackson hit a free throw midway through the quarter.
The Generals stayed ahead by double digits until midway through fourth, when the Lancers rallied with six straight to get within six, 48-42.
Longmeadow made it a one-possession game twice.
First, Duncan Kelly scored a pair at the line to make it 55-52 with 43 seconds on the clock. Then, after Cracolici’s putback, Colin Lockhart scored to make it 57-54 with nine seconds on the clock.
After a Longmeadow timeout, the Generals got the inbounds pass to Moorer, who was fouled and made his second free throw to provide the final margin.
Pittsfield has won two straight going into a mid-season layoff that ends with a visit from Mount Greylock on Jan. 3.
“It’s a pretty good start,” Mauer said as he watched warmups for Friday’s nightcap between Taconic and Lenox. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to get to the level Taconic was last year. They were a team that started playing its best basketball at the end of the season. That’s what we’re hoping to do.
“But at this juncture, I’m pretty pleased.”
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