PITTSFIELD -- Opening-night jitters were apparent from both teams, but Pittsfield collected itself quicker than St. Joseph on Friday.
Once the Generals' zone defense settled in, they opened up their lead, beating the Crusaders 81-55 at the Boys and Girls Club of Pittsfield.
"For most of these guys, it's their first time playing varsity. It was a big stage -- a couple hundred people here, [and] they were definitely nervous," St. Joe coach Randy Kinnas said.
Pittsfield dominated the boards against its undersized opponents and put back several second-chance opportunities.
"We're a small team and we definitely got out-rebounded tonight," Kinnas said. "We've got to go back to the shop and keep working on our boxing out and things of that nature."
Pittsfield ended the first half up 38-15, off a strong performance from Chad Shade. Shade converted lay-ups at the rim and knocked down a couple jumpers as well. He ended with 20 points to lead all scorers.
After sitting a majority of the second quarter, senior Amancho Adopo pushed the tempo for PHS, helping it stretch its lead to as much as 24. He finished with 19 points.
"We started off slow, but we picked it up in the second half. We just stayed aggressive," Adopo said.
Aside from scoring in transition, the Generals made a continuous effort to get the ball inside to big man Anthony Jones.
Pittsfield coach Steve Ray said he wanted to use Jones' size down low.
"We've got a lot of tall players, and we've got height and size. [Jones] isn't the tallest guy on the floor, but he uses his size and skill level to his advantage," he said.
Ray credited Jones for his development heading into the basketball season. The forward showed his touch around the basket, converting lay-up after lay-up. He finished with 19 points, including 12 in the second half.
"[Playing] football helped me out by getting quicker and bigger," Jones said.
Despite trailing throughout the game, St. Joe battled the entire second half. The team hit five 3-pointers in the half and cut the lead to 14 midway through the third. But in the end, Pittsfield was too much. The highlight of the game came when Justin Crawford came up with the ball after a scramble and fired home a 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter. He ended with 11 to lead St. Joe. Reilly Balcom added 9 points.
"I liked the second half energy. We came out and played some conviction [and] cut the lead down to 14. We got excited, started running our plays, but it took a lot of energy to do that," Kinnas said.
For Pittsfield, Ray said the team must eliminate some of the mental mistakes it made early in the game moving forward.
"Overall, we're happy with the effort, but there is a lot of things we need to clean up," Ray said.