Lenox Boys Fall after Rallying to Force Overtime

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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AMHERST, Mass. -- The Baystate Charter boys basketball team Monday started overtime on a 9-0 run en route to an 83-73 win over Lenox in the semi-finals of the Western Massachusetts Division 4 tournament.
Travis Jordan scored 25 points to lead the top-seeded Bulldogs into Saturday's 12:30 sectional final game against either No. 2 Drury (14-7) or No. 3 Hopkins Academy (14-7), who meet on Wednesday night in the semis at Curry Hicks Cage.
Lenox (14-9) trailed by nine points early in the fourth quarter but battled back to take a lead at 65-64 before ending regulation tied, 66-66,
But Dion Byrd knocked down a 3-pointer midway through the extra session to give Baystate a 75-66 lead that it never surrendered.
"It was one of those where we put so much energy, I think, to get there that it was a little bit harder for us to maintain that level of play," Lenox coach Brian Cogswell said of the OT.
"But I'm very proud of the way the guys played tonight. We made a nice comeback. We were down 10 or 12 at one point and made a great comeback to put it in overtime, so I'm pretty happy."
Early on, Lenox had control of the game.
Luke Patella (16 points) scored seven first-quarter points to help the Millionaires take a 20-11 lead on a triple by Andre Collins (11 points) at the end of the first.
Nick Nicotra fed Brett Steinman (15 points) for a bucket in the post on Lenox's first possession of the second quarter to make it an 11-point margin.
But Baystate answered with a 12-0 run that ended when Byrd (11 points) hit from beyond the arc midway through the second to give the Bulldogs a 23-22 lead.
After baskets by Patella and Nicotra regained the lead for Lenox, Baystate scored the next 11. And 3-pointer at the buzzer by Jordan sent the Bulldogs into the locker room up, 37-28.
Lenox got within one on a Nicotra bucket with two minutes left in the third to make it 45-44. But Baystate stemmed the Millionaires' momentum and led by eight late in the quarter before Steinman hit a 3-pointer to make it 52-47.
A Byrd triple gave Baystate its biggest lead of the fourth quarter at 57-48, and it was 64-56 midway through the fourth after a basket by Rodney Mayfield.
But Lenox went on a 9-0 run to briefly take the lead.
Collins got things started with a 3-pointer. Averin Paradise knocked down a pair of free throws. Nicotra tipped in an offensive rebound, and Patella recorded a steal and a lay-up to make it 65-64, Lenox with just more than two minute left in regulation.
Mayfield scored in the post on Baystate's next possession, and the only other point of the fourth came on a Nicotra free throw to tie it with 41 seconds left.
A block by Patella and a Paradise rebound got Lenox the ball with a chance for the last shot with 28 seconds left. But Baystate forced a turnover at the other end with 8 seconds on the clock.
The Bulldogs went to the line with eight ticks left for a one-and-one but missed the front end. And Baystate got the rebound, but it failed to get a good look at the basket.
Baystate was much more efficient in OT, scoring on four straight possessions to take a nine-point lead.
Lenox answered with five straight, but the Bulldogs got a conventional three-point play from Gabriell Candelaria (16 points) and a Jordan lay-up in transition to lead, 80-71, with 1:02 left in OT.
Lenox graduates four seniors from a team that went to the Cage for the first time since 2016.
"Just a great group of kids, top to bottom," Cogswell said of his Lenox team. "One of the cool things about high school basketball is you get a different group every year. ... You know those seniors are going to go off and do good things.
"Those guys will definitely be missed, those seniors."
VideoLuke Patella hits a 3-pointer for Lenox in Monday’s Western Mass semifinal loss to Baystate.
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