Sunday January 6, 2013

NORTH ADAMS -- On a basketball team, it is a point guard's job to find the open man.

Well, sometimes the point guard is the open man.

St. Joseph's guard Tank Roberson slashed his way to 25 points, while teammate Mike Carpenter added 23 as the Crusaders defeated crosstown rival Pittsfield High School 76-59 in what might be considered the marquee matchup in the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Berkshire County Boys Basketball Showcase on Saturday.

As of about 5 p.m., organizers announced that more than $7,300 had been raised by Saturday's event with several games still left on the docket.

"This is a city rivalry, and we knew it was going to be a tough game," said Crusaders coach Paul Brindle. "We knew Pittsfield was going to play us hard.

"We have a veteran rotation. Eight seniors, all of whom know their role. Not too many teams have that kind of veteran leadership. I think it was a factor today."

The Crusaders were coming off a draining Friday night win over Hoosac Valley, and Roberson admitted that it took a while for his team to get going.

"They came out throwing haymakers from the opening tip," said Roberson of the Generals. "I thought we did a really good job just staying with them. But we got untracked in the second half, and got rolling."

Roberson was speaking metaphorically. The game was physical and hotly contested, but the officials kept both sides under control.

The Generals took an early 6-0 lead fueled by some strong offensive rebounding, particularly by high-leaping forward Amacho Adopo, who picked off four offensive rebounds in the period. But Roberson and Carpenter were the cornerstones of a 7-0 Crusaders' run to take the lead. The contest was close for the rest of the first half.

Two explosive Roberson drives to the basket as the half ended pushed the St. Joseph's margin to 29-23 at intermission.

The Crusaders turned up the defensive heat in the third stanza. Ty Discoe and Adopo kept Pittsfield close, but St. Joseph's transition game was relentless. What was actually keeping Pittsfield in the game was horrendous foul shooting by St. Joseph's. At one point, the Crusaders missed six of eight free tries.

Trailing 56-44 after three, Pittsfield got baskets from center Aaron Bradley and Tanner Hanford to close the gap to eight as the fourth quarter began. But with Carpenter, Jon Bianchi and Lavante Wiggins doing a good job on the glass, Roberson revved up the running game, which featured several of his acrobatic drives to the basket.

Adopo and Bradley each tallied 12 points for PHS, while Discoe finished with 11. Adopo was the best rebounder in the game, with 21, including eight on offense.

Roberson and Carpenter each had four assists for the winners.