PITTSFIELD -- Sometimes it's not about stopping Amancho Adopo.
It's having an answer for him.
Even when the Pittsfield junior threw down a thunderous dunk in the third quarter against Lenox on Friday, the Millionaires provided a response. Kris Vahle knocked down a quick 3. It was the same story in the fourth quarter of Lenox's 72-65 win, with the Millionaires only conceding the lead for a minute.
"As soon as he made that [dunk], [Jared Tuttle and I] just kind of looked at each other," Vahle said. "As soon as the crowd got up, you have to think, you have to answer that, especially in their building. You're not going to stop him."
Lenox (6-9) just had enough of their own daggers to keep hope alive for a Western Massachusetts Division III tournament berth. The Millionaires put six players in double figures, led by 14 points, 10 boards and 10 assists from Andrew Vickery. Bailey Patella added 14 points while Tuttle and Vahle had 11 each.
Adopo had 24 points, serving as the engine for a Generals' team in free fall. Pittsfield (8-7) has lost four straight and is down two starters for the year. Ty Discoe is out with an injury while Aaron Bradley is no longer with the team.
"It's got to start in practice," Adopo said. "We're going to practice, try to put together a few people to replace them. That's all we can do."
Adopo sat out the second quarter with foul trouble, allowing Lenox to build a double-digit lead. He returned in the third and the Generals started chipping away.
"Within no time at all they brought it down to four or something like that," Vickery said. "Once we slowed down our offense and set our defense up, we were able to handle the pressure and actually put the pressure back on them."
Much of the final six minutes was a slugfest, with the Millionaires answering the challenge. An Adopo free throw gave Pittsfield a 60-59 lead with 3:44 to play before Robert Tharion knocked down two straight shots. A deep 3 from Adopo tied the game at 63, but Lenox came back again with a 3-point play from Tuttle.
Pittsfield would never get closer than a point the rest of the way.
"We didn't give up," said Lenox coach Scott Sibley. "We knew if we did, we're not going to be playing after Feb. 19. There's a lot of heart with these seniors."
The Millionaires must win four of their final five to reach the postseason. Friday's win was a step in the right direction.
"The loss to Drury the other night kind of put us on the brink," Sibley said. "As long as we come out and play like we did tonight, we still got a pulse and a heartbeat. That's the big thing."
To reach Christopher James:
or (413) 496-6252.
On Twitter: @BECJ2K.