NORTH ADAMS -- Pittsfield has been playing with fire all season.
Despite a potent offense, the Generals haven't been able to consistently produce for a full game. It showed against Lee in the opening round of the Gene Wein tournament, with Pittsfield struggling to score for three and a half quarters. This time, even nine points from Amancho Adopo in the final three minutes wasn't enough to overcome the Wildcats in a 51-48 Lee victory.
"We've been fighting our way back into these games," said Generals coach Steve Ray. "If we can put together like we did those last three minutes for a half, we win by 20. That seems to be the problem."
The win moves Lee into tonight's tournament final against host Drury. Pittsfield faces Monument Mountain in the consolation round.
The Wildcats were able to hold the Generals (3-1) to just 28 points over the first three quarters with a 1-3-1 zone defense. It was far less than the 73 Pittsfield scored in a home win over Lee earlier this month. Jake LePrevost's 19 and 13 from Kenny Retzel helped the Wildcats (2-2) build a double-digit cushion Friday.
Most of that came on a 14-0 run that stretched from the second quarter into the third. LePrevost had nine points -- including three on a five-point possession. Pittsfield's offense seemed stuck.
"We limited them to contested outside shots and that's kind of what gave us the lead the whole game," LePrevost said.
Yet the Generals would charge back, with Adopo driving to the basket four straight times in a minute to cut a 10-point lead to just two. He had two foul shots to tie in the final 20 seconds, but made just one. Pittsfield got the ball back after a frantic play that included two Lee blocks. The Generals couldn't knock down a winner, though.
"I knew it was coming," said Wildcats coach Dan Korte. "[Adopo]'s a great player and they're a very good team. I knew they were going to make a run. I guess it was good that it was that late, so we were able to hold on for the victory. I was just very anxious to see how my kids were going to step up."
A young Lee squad did step up, weathering the storm and frustrating Adopo despite his 17 points. He called it a "hard" night.
"It was a zone," Adopo said. "We weren't moving the ball around. That's what killed us."
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