Photo Gallery | Taconic bests Pittsfield in overtime
PITTSFIELD >> After nearly letting the game slip away in regulation, the Taconic boys basketball showed poise and confidence, pulling out a 60-50 win over city rival Pittsfield at home on Friday.
Trailing by as much as eight in the fourth quarter, Pittsfield used a 10-0 run to take a two-point lead with 15 seconds left. With the game on the line, Taconic Deonte Sandifer used a hesitation crossover move, leading to a layup and forcing overtime. In the extra period, the Braves used a 15-3 run to ice the game.
"We wanted our best ball-handler with [the ball] and I could tell that Deonte felt very confident," Taconic coach Bill Heaphy said of Sandifer's tying play. "He wanted the ball and we said OK — it's yours. ... He's free to scope it out and make a good decision. The biggest thing we said was go to the basket."
"I was just trying to get a quick basket because I knew we needed one," added Sandifer. "My teammates told me I had to step up this game, so I had to lead by example."
Sandifer's ability to create off the dribble helped the Braves offense find rhythm after relying too much on the 3-pointer at times.
The Braves hit 13 3-pointers against Hoosac Valley on Tuesday, but managed just six against the Generals.
The Generals struggled from the line in the first city game this season and although they showed improvement, more struggles from the line allowed Taconic to win.
The visitors shot 17-27 from the line, but seven of those misses came in the second half and overtime.
"It's the game for us," Pittsfield coach Steve Ray said. "[Free throws] and keeping our focus. I thought we lost focus on their 3-pointer shooters in the end, but our takeaway from this is we know we can play with them. ... We know if we fix a could things out there that we're going to be right with them."
Pitsfield's offense struggled to get a rhythm for a majority of the game. Anthony Reinhold played with aggression early, taking the ball to basket and scoring seven points in the first quarter. However, he did not score again until the fourth. Josh Moore played passively early, acting as a facilitator, but he started attacking the basket later in the game, leading the trips to the line.
The teams played to a 24-24 tie after two quarters. Back-to-back 3-pointer from Izaiya Mestre and Matt Stracuzzi gave Taconic an 8-point lead after three.
Pittsfield used free throw shooting to take the lead, setting up Sandifer's tying basket.
The win gives the rivals a split for the year's city games. Both team think a third game in the Western Massachusetts tournament is possible. For the Braves, Heaphy said a win in a tournament-type atmosphere will help his team come tournament time.
"It almost felt like we were going to get away from them, and to their credit they dug in and came back," he said. "We could've folded when they went up. ... To get it together, to play better and get it to overtime, I think the overtime gave us a 'wow we dodged a bullet [feeling].' Lets just find whatever reserve we got and go down swinging. I think this is really going to help us."
Reinhold 4-3-12, McDonough 0-1-1, Moore 2-8-12, Higuera 5-2-12, Muzzy 0-0-0, Rodriguez 1-2-4, Nassif 1-0-3, Ty. Boire 2-1-6. Totals: 15-17-60.
Cotto 3-0-6, Mestre 4-2-12, Stracuzzi 1-0-3, Cooney 1-0-2, Walker 0-1-1, Murphy 1-0-2, Reardon 1-0-3, Ringgold 2-6-10. McIntosh 3-0-6. Totals: 22-10-60.
3-point goals — P 3 (Reinhold, Nassif, Ty. Boire). T 6 (Sandifer 2, Mestre 2, Stracuzzi, Reardon).