PITTSFIELD -- In a game between two of the top teams in the North Division, it's fitting that it came down to the last possession.
The Pittsfield boys basketball team pulled out a 70-68 win over Hoosac Valley in a wild fourth-quarter finish.
With 3.7 seconds left in the game, trailing by two, Hoosac needed to inbound the ball and take it the length of the court.
Hoosac coach Bill Robinson said, the plan was to inbound the ball over the halfcourt line and call a timeout. Trevor Alibozek received the ball at halfcourt, but the referee ruled he stepped out of bounds before Hoosac could call timeout. Pittsfield inbounded the ball and dribbled out the clock to seal the win.
"It was bang-bang, and the referee thought he came down out of bounds," Robinson said. "We had our chances well before that to do something in this game, and we didn't."
Poor free-throw shooting by Pittsfield allowed Hoosac a chance to tie or take the lead late in the fourth.
Up by one with just over one minute left in the game, Bryce Daley missed the first free throw of a one-and-one. Hoosac grabbed the rebound, but failed to convert it into points.
Then after a key block from Amancho Adopo, Adopo was fouled, and he too missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Again Hoosac failed to take the lead after the missed free throw.
With 30 seconds left in the game, Adopo and Anthony Jones both missed putback layups before Jones collected the offensive rebound and was fouled.
Pittsfield coach Steve Ray said clutch free-throw shooting is an area his team needs to improve in.
"Our biggest concern is [free throws], and our up-and-down play defensively," Ray said. "I think the free throws are going to come back to haunt us if we don't button that up."
Pittsfield led the entire game, but Hoosac quickly answered every Pittsfield run to keep the game close.
After leading by three at halftime, a 9-2 run sparked by Scott Steinman gave Pittsfield a 10-point lead early in the third.
With Jameson Coughlan battling foul trouble, Alibozek shouldered the load offensively for Hoosac.
Alibozek hit a layup, followed by a 3-pointer and a three-point play to cut the Pittsfield lead to two with 1:50 left in the third. Alibozek and Matt Braman led Hoosac with 21 each. Coughlan scored 12.
A layup by Chad Shade, and an Adopo steal leading to a layup, gave Pittsfield a six-point lead going into the grind-it-out fourth quarter.
After the game, Robinson said his players were somewhat demoralized by the loss; however, there are positives to take from the game, which he relayed to his team.
"We went on the road and we were down to a really good Pittsfield team," he said. "We hung around with an opportunity at the end, but we never got the shot to take."
Shade led Pittsfield with 17; Adopo had 16 and Steinman had 13.
Adopo's 16 leaves him 15 points away from 1,000 for his career.
For Pittsfield, the Generals need to shake off a poor night at the foul line and prepare for Senior Night against Lee today.
Adopo will be looking to reach his milestone at home against the Wildcats. Ray said the senior guard affects the game even without scoring.
"That's one good thing about Adopo, he hasn't had his offense going lately but he's still contributing," he said. "He still works on the boards, he still plays defense and he still contributes by dishing the ball out."
To reach Akeem Glaspie:
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