PITTSFIELD -- The coming of the new year is a time for reflection, a time for resolution and a time for turning the page.
The Lenox girls basketball team blew a 10-point lead in the third quarter but shut host Taconic down in the final five minutes en route to a 46-40 win Monday night.
It was the first post-vacation game for both teams.
"It was definitely a turning point," said Lenox's Liz Mitts. "In our last few games, we've been scoring not the amount of points we want. Tonight, everyone stepped up."
Mitts and freshman point guard Jaclynn Hathaway each had double-doubles for Lenox. Mitts, a senior, had 14 points and 12 rebounds while Hathaway had 14 points and 13 boards.
It was a one-win December for the Millionaires, who aren't used to starting the year off like that. When the players returned to the gym, they decided to take matters into their own hands.
"We had a team meeting. We tried to work harder in practice and I think our hard work showed," said Mitts. "It was just a players' meeting [Sunday]. We have a lot of young players, so we just tried to motivate them and get them to step up."
Hollie Downer, whose two free throws with 15.2 seconds left iced the victory on Monday, said sometimes words can be as important as deeds.
"No coaches, just captains. It meant a lot, it really did," she said of the meeting. "Everyone opened up and we just clicked.
Taconic led 11-10 after one quarter but the Millionaires took the lead when Hathaway drained a 3-point shot to start the second quarter. Lenox led 17-15 at halftime and opened the third quarter with a 10-3 run to take what looked to be an insurmountable 27-18 lead.
It looked that way because the Braves were held without a field goal in the second quarter until the final 10 seconds.
The Braves finally got rolling in the fourth quarter, and tied the game on a Brianna Rogers hoop with 5:35 left to play. Nyanna Slaughter, who had a game-high 15 points but was in foul trouble for much of the night, put the Braves in the lead when she made the second of two free throws.
It took Lenox more than two minutes to get the lead back, and it was Hathaway who took one step then launched a jumper. It started the 11-4 run that put the Millionaires ahead for keeps.
"I was relatively calm because I have seniors out there who have here before and I didn't feel like we were going to get rattled," Lenox coach Nicole Patella said. "Even with a freshman point guard."
Both teams wanted to turn the page and start the year off well.
"We started out flat," Taconic coach Matt Mickle said. "I didn't think we played well in the first half -- too many missed layups, too many free throws. Unfortunately, when you dig yourself that much of a hole, it's hard to come out of it."
Slaughter, who had 11 rebounds to go with her 15 points, was one of three Braves to snare double-digit rebounds. Rogers had 12 and Shalee Conyers had 11. The Braves committed 21 turnovers to 20 for Lenox.
It was a chance for the Braves to get to .500, but they'll just try again.
"We're trying to improve our record from last year," said Slaughter. "We're trying to get to .500 so we can get in the [Western Massachusetts Division II] tournament. This game was important.
"Thursday, I think we'll come out and get that."
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