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Recap for the game: Springfield ICS vs Taconic on Feb 26

Team Effort Lifts Taconic to Narrow Win in Title Game

By Stephen Dravis Sports
10:36PM / Saturday, February 26, 2022

WESTFIELD, Mass. – There was plenty of credit to go around on Saturday as the Taconic boys basketball team won its fourth straight Western Massachusetts championships.
Sean Harrigan and Tayvon Sandifer tied for game-high honors as Taconic edged Springfield International Charter School, 46-43, at Westfield High School.
But while just five Taconic players made a mark in the scorebook, several more made their mark on the game.
“Steve Patch and Matt Lee came in and gave us something … when Tay [Sandifer] got in foul trouble,” Taconic coach Bill Heaphy said. “And that’s what it’s going to take. To win a game like this, you’ve got to get contributions from others. It can’t be just five.
“We got that. We’re fortunate. We’re happy we won another.”
And while the previous three Western Mass titles sent Taconic to the state semi-finals in the old sectional tournament format, Saturday’s win hangs a banner on the wall but literally did nothing in terms of the seedings for the state tournament that begins on Tuesday.
The seedings for those playoffs were released before Taconic took the floor on Saturday afternoon, and they show just how big a challenge Heaphy’s team faced.
Springfield Charter ICS (16-5) ended up the second-seeded seed in the state’s Division 4 tournament field.
Taconic (17-4) earned the top seed in Division 5 as it looks to repeat as state champion after sharing the crown two years ago in a tournament cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
True to their respective lofty seeds, Taconic and SICS gave each other all they could handle on Saturday afternoon with neither side leading by more than five points and the game coming down to the final possession.
But Taconic never trailed after Sandifer drove the lane for a bucket midway through the second quarter to erase an 18-17 deficit.
The teams traded baskets from there to the end of the first half.
Taconic started the second half with a Sandifer 3-pointer to open a five-point lead at 27-22, but SICS (formerly Sabis) quickly got back within one.
It was a low-scoring, two-point game entering the fourth quarter, which started with a Harrigan corner 3 to make it 41-36, but SICS scored the next five to tie it with 2 minutes, 53 seconds left in regulation.
Harrigan then drove to the basket and got to the line, converting the conventional three-point play to give Taconic a 44-41 lead with 2:29 to go.
Sam Fleming (10 points) scored in the post with 1:10 left to pull the Bulldogs within one.
Two possessions later, Sam Sherman (seven points) drained both ends of a one-and-one with 12.8 seconds on the clock to put Taconic ahead, 46-43.
After a SICS timeout in the front court, the Bulldogs inbounded the ball with 10.6 seconds left. Christian Maturevich forced a turnover on the inbounds pass, and Sherman brought the ball up court before the ‘Dogs could catch him and foul him with 5.4 seconds remaining.
“Christian has been huge,” Heaphy said. “He was great in the last game, and he was great today. He’s a very smart player, unselfish player. He seems to be in the right spot at the right time.
“I’m glad he’s on our team.”
This time, Sherman missed his front end, and SICS got the rebound. But a desperation 3 from midcourt rimmed out, and a tip in attempt at the buzzer was unsuccessful, preserving Taconic’s three-point margin.
Taconic has a few days off to get ready for its state tournament opener in the Round of 32 on Friday night against an opponent to be determined.
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