Photo Gallery | Pittsfield girls fall to Longmeadow in Western Mass. final
AMHERST >> The Pittsfield girls basketball team came out and played their game against top-seeded Longmeadow on Saturday in the Western Mass. Division II championship game at the Curry Hicks Cage.
The issue was Pittsfield's game wasn't quite up to par, and despite battling throughout the 32 minutes, the No. 3 Generals fell, 49-38, to the Lancers.
"I'll tell you what, I'm proud of these kids," Pittsfield coach Joe Racicot said. "We did exactly what we wanted to do, we just shot very poorly today.
"We were still in the game. You can't really argue with that."
The game was relatively ugly on both sides. Missed shots, too many fouls and a few ugly bouts with turnovers kept both sides in the game early.
Pittsfield did well throughout to limit Kayla Mokwuah, who had terrorized the Generals for a triple-double earlier this season. Mokwuah finished with 10 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. Mokwuah had some influence, but Racicot said her output is what they had expected.
"We did exactly what we wanted with the big girl," Racicot said. "Got her a little frustrated. We had a lot of great chances, we just didn't take advantage of them."
But while Mokwuah struggled to have a consistent influence, other players around here did.
Olivia Shapiro had 13 points for Longmeadow in the win, and Katie Fydenkevez added 12.
"The two of them have been great leaders," Longmeadow coach Andrea Enright said of her two seniors. "They were both on the team two years ago and have a taste of what it's like to be here. Katie is the calming presence, Liv is that toughness. They compliment each other nicely."
For Pittsfield, Peyton Steinman had a game-high 21 points to go along with seven rebounds and three assists. Allie Hunt had five points in her final varsity game, and hauled in nine rebounds.
"I'll tell you what, Allie is a softball player, [but] not once has she looked forward to that," Racicot said of his lone senior. "She's the kind of kid that gives you 100 percent and she just keeps working all day long. We could have used a few more baskets [from her]."
Longmeadow hopped out to a 7-0 lead inside the first two minutes, but Pittsfield responded by taking an 8-7 lead on a pair of Hunt free throws midway through the first.
The Lancers, though, wrestled the lead back and led 13-12 after one.
Steinman hit a spot-up 3-pointer to open the second then Erin Murphy extended the lead to four, but the lead was short-lived.
Longmeadow tied things up midway through the second, and went into halftime up 24-21.
Out of the break, Megan Collins tied the game on a 3-pointer and the teams exchanged the next two baskets, but then Longmeadow went on a 9-0 run that gave them the lead back for good.
"They made a couple of adjustments and then [Fydenkevez] started hitting some [shots] from the corner," Racicot said of Longmeadow breaking the game open. "They picked up on what we were doing and made better adjustments. On defense, we were worried about [Mokwuah] getting putbacks. It just didn't work for us."
After three, the Lancer lead was up to 42-30.
In the fourth, Steinman hit two buckets to start and draw the game within six, but the Generals got no closer.
Bella Aitken had five points for Pittsfield and added 12 rebounds and two assists. For Longmeadow, Fydenkevez had four rebounds and Taylor Shubrick had seven points and 13 rebounds.
Longmeadow advances to play in the Division II semifinals against the Central Mass. champion. Pittsfield ends its season at 18-5.
It's another bitter end for the Generals, who came up just short in the 2015 championship game. Enright wasn't asked to give advice to the Pittsfield team, but her quote on what it was like for her team to miss out on the Western Mass. finals last year — Longmeadow was upset as the No. 1 seed — might be food for thought for the Generals this offseason.
"I think last year, as much as it stung, it helped us to be hungry," Enright said. "Sometimes as much as a lost hurts, it can be that motivation to get you to the next year."
Steinman 7-5-21, Curry 0-0-0, Murphy 2-0-4, Cookis 0-0-0, Perkett 0-0-0, Eline-Wright 0-0-0, Aitken 2-0-5, Quetti 0-0-0, Satrape 0-0-0, Castagna 0-0-0, Hunt 1-3-5, Collins 1-0-3, Shade 0-0-0. Totals 13-8-38.
Barrett 1-2-4, J. Shubrick 1-1-3, Felinas 0-0-0, Shapiro 5-0-13, Mokwuah 4-2-10, T. Shubrick 2-3-7, Fydenkevez 6-0-12. Totals 19-8-49.
3-point goals — P 4 (Steinman 2, Aitken, Collins), L 3 (Shapiro 3).
Contact Geoff Smith at 413-496-6254.