PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Christian Womble’s best subject at Taconic High School? It just might be history.
Moments after etching his name in the lore of the Taconic-Pittsfield boys basketball rivalry, Womble had no trouble putting his game-winning 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left in overtime into perspective.
“Bragging rights,” Womble said. “That’s payback for the one Bryce Daley
hit on us a couple of years ago. Now, we have this one. We’re the champions of the city now. They have to remember that next year.”
The packed house at Moynihan Field House won’t soon forget Taconic’s 70-67 win and its wild swings of momentum down the stretch.
A game that saw Pittsfield lead by as many as 10 points in the first half and six points in OT came down to Taconic’s last possession.
Edwin Rodriguez (game-high 24 points) hit a pair of 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions early in overtime to give the Generals (7-10) a 63-59 lead. It was 67-61, Pittsfield after Joe Cracolici (14 points) hit both ends of a one-and-one with 1:42 left in the four-minute extra session.
But on Taconic’s ensuing possession, Javier Osorio set up Quentin Gittens (11 points) for a triple to cut the lead in half.
Two possessions later, Isaac Percy (21 points) knocked down a 3 to tie the game, 67-67, with less than a minute remaining.
With 23.4 seconds on the clock, Pittsfield turned the ball over. Taconic coach Bill Heaphy, who had a timeout in his pocket, decided to let his players decide the matter for themselves.
“We got it over, and rather than let them figure out what they’re going to do [defensively], it felt like with a tie score we’re just going to let it play out,” Heaphy said. “The ball was in the right guy’s hands, Javi, and we were just hoping we’d get a shot.”
Osorio settled just inside the half court stripe on the left side, worked around a pick by Percy and drove the lane before dishing to a wide open Womble on the right wing.
“I’d like to give a shout out to Jav for that beautiful pass,” Womble said. “He saw the defense drawing in toward him. They brought a triple team to collapse on him. He dished out to me. I hit that shot all the time in practice, so why not now?”
Pittsfield was unable to get a good look at the basket in the remaining 2.2 seconds.
For Womble, it was his only 3-pointer of the game -- and his team's biggest -- as he finished with six points. Osorio had 10 while running Taconic’s offense.
The biggest part of that offense -- especially in the second half -- was Percy, who had just three points at intermission but took over the game in the second half.
“We love playing when there’s a huge crowd around us,” Percy said. “We all play way better, and we just trust each other even more.”
“He struggled in the first half,” Heaphy said of Percy. “I think he felt he let some people down. He usually makes some of those shots. So I think he came out in the second half … and made a concerted effort to play better, attack the basket, be offensive. And he was.”
Pittsfield led by as many as seven points late in the third after Rodriguez hit a 3 from college range at the top of the key to make it 37-30.
But Taconic quickly got it back to a one-possession game when, and it stayed within five points throughout the fourth quarter.
Cracolici put back his own miss to give Pittsfield a 49-45 lead midway through the fourth, but Taconic went on a 10-2 run to take a four-point advantage of its own.
It started when Dedric Moody hit a 3 off an assist from Percy, got fouled and completed the four-point play to tie the game, 49-49.
A Gittens rebound at the other end set up a bucket by Mohammed Sanogo to give Taconic its first lead since 5-4. Percy then grabbed a defensive rebound, and Gittens drove the lane to push the lead to four points with about two minutes left.
It was still a four-point margin with a minute left when Pittsfield’s Craig Jackson (10 points) hit a 3-pointer. With just more than 12 ticks left on the clock, Rodriguez drove to the basket and earned a trip to the line, where he made one of two to tie the game, 57-57, where it stood at the end of regulation.
A wild ride by most teams’ standards. Just another night in the history of Taconic-Pittsfield.
“I’ve been enough of these games, these wars with Pittsfield, that I know -- they don’t know, but I know -- that it’s never over ‘til it’s over,” Heaphy said. “It’s hard to convince your team of that. But our guys hung tough.
“We earned it. We fought. And we overcame a tough deficit. That’s going to bode well for us moving forward.”
Taconic (11-7) hosts Hoosac Valley on Friday. Pittsfield (7-10) looks to forget two straight overtime losses when it hosts Bennington, Vt.’s, Mount Anthony Union on Wednesday.