Steinman Leads Pittsfield Girls to Western Mass Final

By Stephen Sports
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AMHERST, Mass. -- Special kid, special venue, special night.
Pittsfield High senior Peyton Steinman scored 35 points Tuesday to lead the Generals to a 65-62 overtime win over Longmeadow in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 semi-finals at Curry Hicks Cage.
Steinman scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to help her team rally from an eight-point deficit and then scored eight of Pittsfield's 12 points in a high-scoring four-minute OT session to set up a date Saturday evening against Belchertown for the sectional title.
"I said to her, 'You know what, you're going to have to take over because we have some people who just aren't here today,' " Pittsfield coach Joe Racicot said. "And she did a good job. I thought her and Bella [Aitken] worked well together, and we got some shots. And then let's go back to a few of the freshmen doing a half-way decent job."
Indeed, there were plenty of contributions for the Generals on Tuesday night. Sophomore forward Lexy Garvey scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds -- 10 in the second half. Aitken hit two second-half 3-pointers. Freshmen Lachazity Shaver and Jordyn Lummus played valuable minutes off the bench.
But at the end of the game, it was Steinman who had the biggest impact and added to her already storied resume.
The leading scorer in the history of Pittsfield's program hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter to erase most of a 41-34 lead for Longmeadow (11-10).
Later in the quarter, she converted a Garvey assist and went to the line for a three-point play that tied the game, 50-50, for the first time since midway through the second quarter.
She tied it again -- after an Aitken defensive rebound -- with a bucket in transition to make it 53-53 with 33 seconds left in regulation.
That is where the score stood after 32 minutes, and for the second time on Tuesday night, a Berkshire County team had to work a little overtime.
And just like with Lee in the D4 semis, the Berkshire County girls got the job done.
This time, it was a 12-9 OT period that featured far more scoring than Lee and Monson could muster in their extra session.
Appropriately, Steinman got things started with a drive for two to give Pittsfield its first lead, 55-53. After the Lancers hit three foul shots on two trips, Steinman assisted on a bucket by Garvey to regain the lead, 57-56.
Lyssa Tyer hit a triple for Longmeadow to put the Lancers up by two, but Pittsfield went on a 7-0 run to take a 64-59 lead with 12 seconds left in OT.
First, Steinman drove for two and drew a foul. She converted the free throw to make it 60-59
Later, she and Garvey each converted both ends of one-and-one opportunities at the line to give Pittsfield a five-point lead.
Longmeadow had one more card to play: a 3-pointer from senior Taylor Shubrick (23 points, 20 rebounds) that made it a two-point game with 6 seconds left.
But Steinman got the inbound and dribbled for four seconds before she was fouled, and she hit one of her two free throws to push the lead back to three points. Longmeadow could not get a good look at the basket as time expired.
Shubrick helped Longmeadow dominate the boards, especially in the first half when it seemed like Pittsfield was one-and-done on every possession.
The Generals stepped up their rebounding late, allowing them to get back in the game.
"I saw five girls from their team going after the ball and one of mine, if any," Racicot said of the first half. "After that third quarter, if they wanted to win, that's what they needed to do: Get some rebounds."
Third-seeded Pittsfield (15-7) takes on No. 1 Belchertown (17-4) on Saturday at 5:45 in the sectional final at the Cage.
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