Photo Gallery | Pittsfield girls top Monument Mountain
PITTSFIELD — The Pittsfield starting unit got off to a hot start and the bench came in and got even hotter as the Generals dispatched Monument Mountain on Monday, 74-49.
Starters Peyton Steinman (14 points), Bella Aitken (12 points), Brittney Perkett (11 points) and Allie Hunt (10 points) all hit double digits in the win, while Natasha Shade came off the bench and tied for the game-high with 14 points as Pittsfield moved to 11-4 overall and 6-2 in the Berkshire County North.
The key span for Pittsfield came in a six-minute stretch between the first and second quarters. After the Generals hopped out to a 10-2 lead, Monument got itself back in the game and made it 15-9 on a free throw from Anika Helmke (10 points) with 2:02 to go in the first. Monument did not score again until there was 3:44 to go in the second.
During that stretch, Steinman and Hunt barely saw the floor, while Shade scored eight points and recorded two assists to put Pittsfield up 29-10 after Monument ended the drought.
"We are starting to get a few bangs and bruises from playing some physical games back-to-back," Pittsfield coach Joe Racicot said. "That was a big help [getting the bench going]. The second team has been pressuring the starting team all season long, and they made a good bid today that they want to play."
The loss dropped Monument to 6-11 overall and 1-6 in the league, and also officially knocked the Spartans out of the playoff race. Monument needed to end the season with four straight wins starting Monday.
"Yeah, you never like to start that slow, especially when your opponent starts that fast," Monument coach Steve Soule said. "They are a very good team, they have probably the best player in the county [in Steinman] and she pushed the ball when she needed to and we weren't' getting back. Some pretty easy baskets for them in the first half."
At halftime, Pittsfield led 38-16.
Out of the break, Helmke tried to get her team going as she scored seven points and dished out an assist in the first four minutes of the third, but then Pittsfield called a timeout with 3:40 in the period and Helmke went down with a leg injury shortly after. From there, Pittsfield hit the jets to finish off the game.
"We were up eight or 10 at their place and they started hitting a three here and there and I promised myself, I don't care what the score is, if they even start a little bit of a run today I had to call a timeout," Racicot said, referencing his team's 54-51 loss to Monument in double overtime earlier this season. "It was a matter of I didn't want to get them started."
The win was a needed bounce-back for the Generals after a weekend loss to Chicopee Comp.
"I expected a letdown [against Chicopee Comp], but Chicopee Comp was a big letdown and we discussed that," Racicot said. "I'm happy with the way my kids responded to that loss. That's key. We go to Drury next at Drury, that's on Thursday. We just have to hope we can take a little bit of this and put it into that."
For Soule, the loss left the coach bummed that his side couldn't make a late push into the playoffs.
"It's very disappointing," Soule said. "We clearly have a good enough team to make the tournament and I was hoping we'd squeak in after we lost a few in a row thinking we'd be one of the toughest 7, 8, or 9 seeds that anybody is going to face, but we just kind of got on a bit of a losing streak and weren't able to break it quickly enough."
Steinman finished with six rebounds and four assists, while Perkett added eight boards and Kamea Quetti had five blocks. Shade finished with five dimes. For Monument, Helmke hauled in 11 rebounds and Lily Cormier had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
MONUMENT MOUNTAIN (49)
McLaughlin 1-1-3, Hu. Hassett 0-0-0, Kelly 2-0-4, Powell 0-1-1, Saporito 1-0-2, Cormier 4-1-10, Higgins 5-2-12, Rada 2-0-4, Ha. Hassett 1-0-3, Dupont 0-0-0, Helmke 4-1-10. Totals 20-6-49.
Steinman 5-3-14, Cookis 0-0-0, Perkett 5-1-11, Eline-Wright 4-1-9, Aitken 4-4-12, Quetti 0-0-0, Satrape 2-0-4, Shade 6-2-14, Hunt 3-4-10. Totals 29-15-74.
3-point goals — MM 3 (Cormier, Ha. Hassett, Helmke), P 1 (Steinman).