Photo Gallery | Pittsfield tops Commerce to advance to the Cage
PITTSFIELD >> Pittsfield's Peyton Steinman scored five of her team's first seven points, but then had to sit midway through the first quarter with two personal fouls. That turned out to be no problem at all.
Bella Aitken scored 13 of her game-high 18 points in the first half as the No. 3 Generals built a double-digit lead and never let Commerce catch up, eliminating the sixth-seeded Red Raiders 71-34 in a Western Massachusetts Division II quarterfinal game Thursday night at the Moynihan Field House.
"I was very, very confident," said Aitken, "Once I got my rhythm, I kept going."
Aitken was one of three Pittsfield players to score in double figures. Steinman finished with 13, as did Allie Hunt. Hunt finished up with 10 rebounds while teammate Britney Perkett had a game-high 12 boards.
In all, 10 of the 11 players Pittsfield coach Joe Racicot put on the floor got into the scorebook. Having three in double figures, the coach said, is a good sign as the team moves on.
"It took them a little to warm up to the fact that Peyton wasn't coming in for the [rest of] the first half," said Racicot. "They sustained what we needed to have.
"It's good to have that back with the three girls in double figures and a few other girls scoring. It's going to be key because all of these other teams are going to be focusing on just a couple of players."
The Pittsfield-Commerce game was played before the watchful eyes of Belchertown head coach Jason Woodcock, his staff and several of the Orioles players. They were scouting for next week's Western Mass. semifinal, and saw that the Generals are not a one-person team.
After scoring five of her team's first seven points, Steinman picked up her second foul with 3:13 left in the first quarter. That sent her to the bench for the remainder of the first half.
But Perkett started an 8-3 run to close out the quarter. Four different Generals scored in that time and Pittsfield held a 15-6 lead.
Back-to-back 3-point baskets by Aitken and Steinman in the last two minutes of the third quarter put the game out of reach and sent the Generals on to the Cage.
"It was tough not playing for a while, but they were stupid fouls, stupid fouls on my part," said Steinman. "It was nice to see them step up and get the lead without me in there."
Commerce's Gerliz Hernandez Yepez, who led the Red Raiders with 18 points and 10 rebounds, converted a 3-point play to cut the Pittsfield lead to six points.
The Generals answered with a basket when Aitken scored off a press break, and she closed a 7-0 run with a catch-and-shoot trey from the right wing. Pittsfield led 28-18 at halftime, and the lead never got under nine points.
"We always rely on Peyton for the big buckets. But when our team can really pick up the slack when she's out," Hunt said, "it feels incredible."
Marchena 4-2-12, Delgado 0-0-0, Torres 0-0-0, Latta 0-0-0, Martinez 0-0-0, Gonzalez 0-0-0, Hernandez Yepez 6-4-18, Marshall 0-0-0, Fernandez 0-0-0, Linares 0-0-0, Jones 0-0-0, Anderson 2-0-4. Totals 12-6-34.
Steinman 5-2-13, Curry 1-1-3, Murphy 0-0-0, Cookis 1-0-3, Perkett 2-0-4, Eline-Wright 0-2-2, Aitken 8-0-18, Castanga 1-1-3, Shade 2-0-5, Hunt 6-1-13, Collins 1-0-3. Totals 29-7-71.
3-point goals — C 4 (Marchena 2, Hernandez Yepez 2). P 6 (Aitken 2, Steinman, Cookis, Shade, Collins).
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.