Lee boys advance in Western Mass. Division III basketball
LEE -- The Lee boys basketball team is always looking for that third wheel.
They found one on Monday in Nick Sitzer.
"In the first half, Heamon [Williams] and [Jake LePrevost] had 29 of our 31 points," said Wildcats coach Dan Korte. "We're pretty easy to guard when we got two guys scoring. In the second half we got a third, fourth guy scoring, we're much more difficult to guard. They can't load up on those two guys."
Sitzer had six points and five rebounds in the second half, giving the No. 7 Wildcats a second inside threat in a 55-41 victory over Turners Falls. Williams finished with 22 while LePrevost added 24 to give Lee a date Thursday at No. 2 Granby in the Western Massachusetts Division III quarterfinals.
"We knew our main strength was going to be down below, under the hoop, rebounds, putbacks," Sitzer said. "We came out in the second half planning on playing tighter D on the 3-point line. Basically limit their shots, get as many rebounds as we could."
The Wildcats (13-8) didn't make much use of their size in the first half. The 10 seed ran circles around Lee, using crisp passing, rapid movement and quick hands to force a tie game at the half. Melvin Moreno had 11 points, including three 3s, but that was all in the first half.
Turners Falls (14-7) made just two baskets in the first 14 minutes of the second half.
"I think maybe we were just exhausted," said Turners Falls coach Gary Mullins. "We've been a pretty good second-half team. Tonight, with all the banging out there and giving away that size and weight, I think we just got tired. And then we got emotionally tired."
Lee began attacking more directly, finding Williams or Sitzer where they could do the most damage. Both were there for putbacks when the Wildcats did miss.
"Going into halftime I was personally disappointed with myself that I wasn't controlling the boards more," Williams said. "I made a concerted effort to get out there and control the boards. Me and Nick and all the big guys did a good job."
Turners Falls couldn't match that inside game, particularly now that the Indians' shots weren't falling. Mullins said cold shooting meant Lee could extend its defense a little and apply more pressure.
At the other end, the Wildcats had Sitzer stepping in as a third threat to complement Williams and LePrevost, two of the top five scorers in Berkshire County. It was a no-win situation for the guests.
"[Sitzer]'s a big guy and he always works hard," Williams said. "I'm glad to see some of his hard work paying off for him. We need him out there every night even if he's not contributing points-wise. He always does something to help us win."
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