During any team's journey to a championship, an unsung hero usually steps up and contributes during the postseason run. For the Pittsfield boys basketball team, there has been a hero to step up during its run to the Western Massachusetts Division II championship game. But this contributor hasn't been an unknown commodity. In fact, he's been a starter all season.
Senior guard Anthony Reinhold has taken his game to another level during the Generals' run through the Western Mass. tournament, and his efforts now have No. 5 Pittsfield playing second-seeded Tantasqua for the D-II title tonight at 7:30 at the Curry Hicks Cage.
He's averaging 16.5 points over two tournament games, and he seems to be playing to the high expectations his teammates and coaches set for him.
Against Taconic in the D-II quarterfinals. Reinhold's ability to attack of the basket helped earn a 81-65 win over the Braves. He showed his all-around game against Shepherd Hill in the semifinals, moving well without the ball and contributing in all aspects of the game — including scoring a key basket late — en route to a 50-49 win over the Rams on Thursday. Pittsfield coach Steve Ray said Reinhold is the only person that can stop Reinhold from being a dominant player.
As his confidence continues to grow, the 6-foot guard is proving his coach right.
"Our coaches just reinforce in me that I'm doing fine," Reinhold said. "I sometimes get down on myself and my whole team helps me."
When Reinhold is playing with confidence, his playmaking ability shines through.
"Confidence," Ray said when asked about the reason for Reinhold's improvement. "He doesn't always have [confidence], but he comes up big. His athleticism, his jumping ability, ability to handle the ball and his deceiving speed gives us an edge."
From an outsider's perspective, Reinhold's calm demeanor may seem as if he's disinterested or lacks passion for the game. His teammates know that isn't the case, however, and they appreciate his calmness on the court. Whether they're up 20 points or trailing 20 points, Reinhold will not let his emotions get the best of him.
"That's why he's our point guard. That's what he's got to do, keep his composure for 32 minutes on the court," senior forward Louis Higuera said. "He keeps us all cool on the court. He calms us all down and he's a great point guard."
"I try to keep a level head, because I know my team gets pretty hyped," added Reinhold. "I have to bring them back down and remind them that we have to play defense after we make a shot."
The Generals will need to deploy a strategy similar to the one they used to defeat Shepherd Hill when facing Tantasqua. The Generals put multiple bodies on Rams' center Michael Rapoza when he got the ball in the paint. The Warriors will look to its go-to player, 6-foot-6 center J.J. Howland, to score inside, so Josh Moore, Kolbe Muzzy and company will need buckle down in the post. Griffin Brooks is another scoring option for the Warriors. They do not shoot from the outside particularly well, however, so if Connor McDonough can continue his hot shooting (10 3-pointers over his last two games), that will provide a big boost for the Generals.
"[Tantasqua] looks like another tough [team]," Ray said after Thursday's game. "[Howland] looks like the real deal. They've got size, they've got athleticism. ... We've got our work cut out for us and we don't have very much time to prepare. That's what makes it tough."
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252