PITTSFIELD -- The biggest play of Friday night's Pittsfield-Taconic city rivalry game came from a player experiencing his first ever Generals-Braves matchup.
Freshman guard Bryce Daley's clutch 3-pointer in the waning seconds led the Generals to a 71-68 win Friday night.
With the score tied at 68, and 11.1 seconds left in the game, Daley hit the game-winning three from the right wing. The trey was Daley's fourth of the game, and coach Steve Ray said the shot highlights Daley's maturity as a player, despite his age.
"It was a big shot by a freshman," Ray said. "We had shooters spotted up, we had [Amancho] Adopo crash, and I said to Daley ‘We need it.' "
Daley had 16 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter.
"I really wanted to win," Daley said "I had the confidence in myself, so I wanted to take it in my own hands and make the shot."
Pittsfield's win overshadowed Taconic's Shaq Ardrey joining Berkshire County's career 1,000-point club with a 3-pointer midway through the first quarter.
The shot capped a 12-2 run for the Braves, but Pittsfield regrouped after Ardrey's milestone was reached. He finished with 32 points.
"[The 1,000th point] is a good feeling, but it's also a bad feeling." Ardrey said. "I'm glad I got my 1,000 points, but I'd rather get the W any day."
Pittsfield found out before the game that forward Anthony Jones would miss the rest of the season. The specific reason was not given for the record.
Jones' absence shifted Jerry McDonough into the starting lineup, and gave Chad Shade the task of guarding Taconic big man Mike Taylor.
Shade did a good job of using his quickness to get the basket, and denying the entry pass to Taylor.
Taylor finished with 10 points, but Taconic coach Bill Heaphy would have liked more touches from his center.
"I thought the timing was off," he said. "When [Taylor] was open we didn't get it in to him. They recovered, got around him, and then we're making the pass too late."
The third quarter featured six ties and three lead changes. Scott Steinman's six third-quarter points helped keep Pittsfield close. But layups from Taylor and Drew Scace gave Taconic a four-point lead going into the fourth.
The fourth quarter, however, belonged to Daley. The freshman started the quarter with back-to-back threes. A 7-0 run capped by a Daley three with 1:45 left in the game gave Pittsfield a four-point lead. Ardrey answered with back-to-back threes of his own to put Taconic up two. A Shade put-back off an offensive rebound tied the game at 68, setting the stage for Daley's game-winner.
Heaphy said Daley's big quarter was a result of his defenders not closing out on Pittsfield's shooters.
"[Daley's] got the green light to shoot when he's open," Heaphy said. "The disappointing thing from our end is that they were uncontested looks."
Ray said Friday's win was an emotional battle in a playoff-like atmosphere. The ability his team showed to pull out the game in clutch fashion, he said, will give the team confidence heading into the postseason.
"Every game we play is a confidence builder," he said. "[Close games] prepare us for the tournament, and it prepares us for the tournament atmosphere. We know that anybody in Berkshire County, particularly in the North, can come out and beat anybody on any given night."
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