PITTSFIELD -- The Northampton High School boys basketball team used a 24-point third quarter to take the lead, then held off a furious charge by Taconic on Thursday night to earn a 51-49 victory at the Braves' gym.
Trailing 48-38 early in the fourth quarter, the Braves held the visitors to a basket and a field goal in the last seven minutes of the contest. But the Blue Devils held on for the win as Taconic's Shaq Ardrey missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"Well, you could tell it was our first game," said Taconic coach Bill Heaphy. "We looked good in some spots and not so good in others. We rebounded pretty well, but we missed some chances in the second half."
Ardrey led the Braves with 16 points and eight assists. Mike Taylor had 12 points and 13 rebounds and Charles Davis also had 12 points. Northampton got 19 points and five assists from point guard Andrew Hirsch.
Taconic controlled the tempo and the game in the first half. Ardrey had three 3-point baskets and Davis had seven points of his own as Taconic led, 26-22, at halftime.
But after intermission, the Blue Devils were throwing in everything but their sneakers. Hirsch had eight points, including a pair of threes; Tyler Hannigan-Page had 10 of his 13 points in that span and Jake Ross tossed in six of his 14 points.
Northampton went from four down at halftime to eight up after three quarters.
But the Braves regrouped. Down 10, Ardrey, who also ended up with eight rebounds, four steals and a block, drained a three to cut the lead to 48-41. Back-to-back Taylor putbacks reduced the lead further.
But with the visitors up 48-45, the Blue Devils' center, Steve Roach, hit his only bucket of the night to put his team up, 50-45. A Drew Scace free throw cut the margin to 50-46.
With 37.1 seconds left, Davis drained a three-point shot and Taconic was almost all the way back. Roach was intentionally fouled, and hit one of two free tries.
Up came Ardrey, looking for the winner with about 13.2 seconds left.
The Braves swung the ball pretty well, and it ended up back in Ardrey's hands, as Heaphy intended. With 2.1 seconds left, the Taconic guard let go a shot that had the distance, but banged off the back rim.
"What can you do?" shrugged Heaphy after the contest. "We got the shot we wanted. Give Northampton credit, they played pretty well tonight. That's a good team. I just wish we could play them again."
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