Derek Gentile: On hoops at BCC and elsewhere



I was pretty excited about the Berkshire Community College intramural men's basketball team, which lost in the quarterfinals of the New England Regional Intramural Tournament over the weekend.

The BCC men were knocked out by Rutgers, losing by nine. They defeated Providence 69-54 and Southern New Hampshire 48-40.

This is intramurals, of course, and not a varsity team. But it is extremely exciting to those of us who followed and played for the Falcons in the "old days" of the 1960s through the 90s.

Credit goes to BCC's Recreational Services Director Lauren Pellegrino, a member of the county's Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and a 1,000-point scorer for Monument Mountain in her high school years.

Let's be honest here. There are no plans in the immediate future to upgrade the men to a varsity squad.

"It seems as though this is the best format for us right now," said Pellegrino. "We still have a lot of people who work and go to class, so their time is limited. I would say we will remain a club team for at least a few more years."

And anyway, said Pellegrino, whether or not the Falcons become a varsity unit "is something that will be decided by other people and the students."

But the team was not just a bunch of scrubs. Former Pittsfield High School athlete Keiland Cross was the team's leading scorer, while ex-St. Joseph star Joe Wiggins was the squad's top rebounder in the tournament. These guys can play.

Their junior college careers may be limited to intramural activities, but they can take comfort in the fact that they started the rebirth at Patterson.

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Wow. So much for the Atlantic 10, the Big East and the ACC in the NCAA tournament. As we move to the Sweet 16, the Big East was shut out, and the A-10 and ACC got one team each in there.

I would have been happy to report it was UMass that lasted into this next round, but the Minutemen took a pounding by Tennessee in their first game. The Vols are one of three SEC teams in this round.

I wasn't necessarily surprised by UMass' early departure. I got a chance to see them in the A-10 quarterfinals in Brooklyn last weekend, and they didn't look too good.

A team has to attack defensively to be successful in the NCAA playoffs. UMass and teams better known for that, like Duke and Syracuse, just didn't. Louisville, Kentucky and Michigan State are still playing because that's what they do well.

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And finally, I know the Williams College men lost in the NCAA Division III basketball finals, but I read somewhere that their game was the best NCAA tournament game so far. I agree. The thing is, once a team gets to the NCAA finals, in whatever division it's playing, it's usually a toss-up. The team with the ball at the end usually wins. Wisconsin-Whitewater was that team. That does nothing to detract from a superior effort.

To reach Derek Gentile:,
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile.


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