Carnevale Leads Pittsfield Girls in D2 Quarter-Finals
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- No team gets to be the second seed in the Western Massachusetts tournament because of just one player.
But even the deepest team might be affected when a player the caliber of Pittsfield sophomore Peyton Steinman sits down with two fouls midway through the first quarter.
On Friday night, the Generals faced just that scenario. But they rallied and rode an 18-point, 16-rebound performance from senior Lauren Carnevale to defeat North Middlesex, 58-38, and advance to the semi-finals of the Western Mass Division 2 tourney.
Pittsfield (18-3) will take on sixth-seeded Quabbin (14-7) on Tuesday at 4:30 at the Curry Hicks Cage at UMass-Amherst. On Friday, Quabbin knocked off No. 3 Tantasqua, 53-42.
PHS came into the quarter-finals with a three-game winning streak, but they went into the second quarter without Steinman, who averages 18 points and nearly five assists per game.
"That does put a crimp in our style a little bit," Pittsfield coach Joe Racicot said. "And Lauren [Carnevale] -- there's Lauren's versatility. She became our point guard.
"Things slowed down a little bit. We only got 10 points in that second quarter, but, hey, it was sufficient to get us through and still maintain the lead."
Carnevale said it was an added challenge when the team's leading scorer went to the bench.
"Pretty much, we've got to pick up where she left off -- just pick up the pace," Carnevale said. "It's hard to replace her. She's an amazing player. So you've just to to work together and make sure we're still doing what we need to be doing."
Carnevale did a little of everything for the Generals on Friday night.
In addition to scoring and rebounding, she recorded five steals, a couple of assists and a blocked shot.
"Lauren's been a workhorse all year long," Racicot said. "She's one of our captains. It's her senior year. We've been to Western Mass every year she's been here, and I think she's feeling the hunger."
Junior Allie Hunt's appetite was on display in a pivotal run late in the second quarter.
Seventh-seeded North Middlesex (10-11) used a 5-1 run to get an 11-point deficit down to 21-14 at the 4:36 mark, and Pittsfield came up dry on its next two possessions.
But after a Daria Brown rebound, Pittsfield went on a 7-3 run of its own -- all courtesy of Hunt (13 points).
First, she scored with an assist from Steinman in transition. Then Steinman set up Hunt on a baseline inbounds play with 3 minutes, 5 seconds left until half-time.
Then, after the Patriots got a 3-pointer and the teams traded empty posessions, Hunt scored again from Steinman in transition, this time drawing a foul and completing the conventional three-point play to get the lead back to 28-17.
It was a nine-point bulge at half-time. In the third, Carnevale scored six and Trinity Cookis scored five of her 13 to make it 43-27 heading into the last eight minutes.
The fourth quarter belonged mostly to the benches, but Pittsfield stretched its lead a little bit to win by 20 or more points for the 12th time this season.
Steinman finished with eight points but also eight rebounds and four assists.
More photos of this game to come.