AMHERST -- Pittsfield High School's girls basketball team battled in the second half to shrink Longmeadow's lead, but the Lancers' size down low was too much for the Generals to handle, and Pittsfield fell in the Western Massachusetts Division II semifinals 65-51 on Thursday at the Curry Hicks Cage.
Trailing by 16 in the first half, Pittsfield opened the second half on fire defensively.
The Generals used a full-court trapping defense to confuse the Lancers' guards. The trapping led to eight third-quarter turnovers by Longmeadow, and allowed Pittsfield to open on an 8-0 run.
"Our bench is a little thin, so we figured we try a zone in the first half," Pittsfield coach Joe Racicot said. "In the second half, we talked about coming out hard -- mano y mano -- taking care of business."
A putback by Lauren Carnevale, followed by a 3-pointer from the right wing by Trinity Cookis, and Longmeadow's lead was cut to eight points with 3 minutes, 31 seconds remaining in the third.
From that point on, however, Longmeadow handled the trap, finishing on an 8-2 run, and took a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter.
"We had to settle down," Longmeadow coach Andrea Enright said. "We were a little frazzled at first. Our point guards had to take control and get the ball, settle us down and move the ball.
"We knew we had to waste as much time off the clock as we could, so they didn't have a chance to get a run on us."
Longmeadow maintained its lead in the fourth, but Pittsfield kept applying pressure.
A Cookis three-pointer, followed by a Carnevale layup, cut the Longmeadow lead to 10 with less than three minutes remaining in the game. Carnevale finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. Cookis had nine points on three 3-pointers.
Despite the loss, Racicot said he's pleased with his team's effort during the game, and throughout the season.
"We've scrapped all season," he said. "You've got to love the effort the kids put out. They responded and you can't ask for more."
The theme of the first half, and throughout the game, was the way Longmeadow used its size in the post. Longmeadow had a 19-15 first-half rebounding advantage over the Generals and a 39-26 advantage overall.
Longmeadow's Taj Lewis had seven rebounds in the first half, to go along with nine points. She finished with 17 points and 18 rebounds to record a double-double.
Lewis had a strong presence in the post, and Longmeadow's Emma Robin did her damage from the perimeter. Robin found holes in Pittsfield's zone early, scoring eight points in the first quarter. She finished with 16 points and six rebounds.
Robin helped the Lancers open on a 15-4 run to start the game.
Pittsfield guard Peyton Steinman tried to keep the game close early. Steinman's transition layup off a steal cut Longmeadow's lead to 10 late in the first quarter, but Pittsfield didn't score again in the first. Steinman led the Generals with 18 points.
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