Photo Gallery | Pittsfield downed by Chicopee
AMHERST — Playing in a close game in a tournament-type atmosphere is a tough way to start your season, and the lack of chemistry showed for the Pittsfield boys basketball team on Sunday. The Generals squandered a 12-point second-half lead, losing 64-60 to Chicopee in the second game of the Pioneer Valley Tip-Off at the Curry Hicks Cage on Sunday.
In the second half, the Pacers switched to a full-court pressure defense that the Generals could not handle. Pittsfield committed 18 second-half turnovers, fueling Chicopee's comeback.
"It's our first game and we haven't had any scrimmages," Pittsfield coach Steve Ray said. "Not that I'm making excuses, but we didn't handle the last few minutes well."
The key play came with just 28 seconds left in the game. Pittsfield trailed by two with a chance to tie or take the lead. Out of an in-bounds play, Chicopee's Haner Nunez intercepted the pass and sprinted down the court for a layup. The score put Chicopee up 62-58 and iced the game with 23 seconds left.
"We made a lot of mental mistakes throughout the game and those came back to haunt us," Ray said. "We didn't have very much poise under pressure the last few minutes."
In addition to the Pacers' improved defense, Milan Harrison carried the team offensively in the second half. He had 21 of his game-high 26 in the second half. He scored 13 straight points in the third, cutting the deficit to seven.
Pittsfield held a four-point lead heading into the fourth, but Harrison added five more points to start the quarter. Jake Midura's step back jumper with 4:54 left tied the game at 50. Joshua Moore scored four straight, giving Pittsfield a 56-52 lead, but a three-point play from David Goudreault got the Pacers within one. Harrison added a layup and Midura hit a 3-pointer, setting the stage for Nunez's winning play.
Pittsfield showed no signs of its late-game struggles in the first half. Moore attacked the basket early and Simon Nassif provided a solid inside-outside presence. The Generals bench added support as well, as Edwin Rodriguez and Kolbe Muzzy combined for 13 points.
Despite the loss, Ray said this game does not foreshadow things to come for the Generals.
"Overall, the miscalculations we had out there, I'm pretty good with because I think they're all fixable," he said. "Game situations like that are all correctable."
McDonough 3-1-9, Reinhold 3-0-6, Higuera 5-1-12, Cronin 0-2-2, Nassif 3-2-9, Muzzy 3-3-9. Moore 3-4-10, Rodriguez 1-2-4. Ty. Boire 0-0-0. Totals: 21-14-60.
Midura 5-4-16, Harrison 10-3-26, Cote 4-3-11, Zamboni 2-1-5, Goudreault 1-2-4, Nunez 1-0-2. Totals: 23-13-64.
3-point goals — P 4 (McDonough 2, Nassif, Higuera). C 5 (Harrision 3, Midura 2).