Taconic Girls Win on Senior Day, Claim State Title Trophy

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Taconic girls basketball team Sunday picked up its third straight win and bragging rights against its No. 1 rival.
It also picked up something that was long overdue: a State Championship trophy.
Taconic's girls and boys both were awarded hardware for their respective co-state championships in between games of a varsity double-header at the Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires.
The Taconic girls had many reasons to smile. The award ceremony came moments after they doubled up Pittsfield, 46-23, to improve to 4-2 on the abbreviated season.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Taconic to make the most of a 10-game slate that began last Monday and ends next Saturday.
It also forced the team to miss the state title game berth it earned a little more than a year ago. And it cost them a timely celebration of the 2019-20 Division 2 state crown it shares with Foxborough.
On Sunday, Taconic made up for a little lost time.
"This is a great day," Taconich coach Matt Mickle said. "They did a nice job for Senior Night. I'm glad for Zareeyan [Vasquez-Cuevas] and Kendra [Buda] our two seniors. We thought a month ago this wasn't even going to happen, and we got to honor Zareeyan and Kendra, which is great.
"We'll be missing [2020 Taconic grad Taea Bramer] today, but I think the kids are excited to finally see this trophy. It's still not ideal, but it's better than nothing."
Buda scored six points, and Vasquez-Cuevas added five after being honred pregame along with all the senior boys and girls from the city rivals.
Ahliya Phillips led Taconic with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Faith Cross just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Taconic jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first five minutes. Phillips scored six points during that run, which she capped by driving the left wing.
Madison Winn put back a rebound early in the second quarter to stretch the lead to 14-1, and it was a 14-point margin at half-time.
A 12-2 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters put the game out of reach when Alexandra Hudson sank a pair of free throws to make it 41-16.
Randi Duquette scored nine points for the Generals, who got five from Charlotte Goodnow.
Pittsfield coach Joe Racicot said that while winning is the goal any time the team hits the floor, this season is about more than the scoreboard.
"It's a work in progress," Racicot said. "The kids have been hustling all along, and the baskets will come. ... It's promising, and I'm encouraged. The kids are still motivated, so I'm happy with what we've got.
"This is a drawing card for some of the younger kids. Obviously, today was Senior Day, so we played a lot of the seniors for a long time. But it's a drawing card for the the future. This season, to me, it's like playing intramurals. Somebody puts a poster on the wall saying, 'Basketball on Monday.' I appreciate all the work that went into it, but when it comes to the game itself, that's how I feel.
"It's all about getting the kids out and giving them an opportunity to play ball."
At times on Sunday, Taconic looked a little like the team that played more ball and better ball than anyone from the Berkshires last winter, going 22-2.
Sunday's event gave most of those players a chance to celebrate that excellence.
"The weirdest thing is our season has started, and we never closed last year after a state championship," Mickle said. "It's definitely been odd. I thought we were going to have another year where we went through and couldn't do anything. I'm glad we were able do something. The whole thing has been crazy and weird, but that's kind of how 2020 into 2021 has been."
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