Pittsfield boys basketball holds off Holyoke
Photo Gallery | Pittsfield-Holyoke Boys High School Basketball
PITTSFIELD — The Pittsfield boys basketball team handled Holyoke's pressure, limited turnovers and earned a 67-59 win on Tuesday.
After Chicopee used a full-court press to chip away at an 12-point deficit and defeat Pittsfield on Sunday, the Generals spent extra practice time on Monday working on breaking the press.
Edwin Rodriguez led the way after taking over as the primary ballhandler in the second half. He used his speed and vision to navigate the Knights' pressure and find teammates for scores. He finished with 14 points, but his play with the ball in his hands was key.
"I was kind of nervous coming up the court," Rodriguez said of initially seeing Holyoke's press. "But then I got the hang of it and got some confidence. Coach [Steve Ray] let me do what I had do to and it turned out well."
Both teams overcame a sloppy first half, finding rhythm in the second half. The Knights started the third quarter on a 6-1 run, cutting their deficit to two. The Generals answered, however, as Rodriguez hit a 3-pointer, ending the drought. Josh Moore followed with a 3-pointer in transition, extending the lead to eight. Pittsfield never trailed in the second half.
The hosts thrived in transition, and in the half-court forward Simon Nassif made the Knights pay down low. He had a team-high 17 points and 14 rebounds.
"Last game we didn't get a lot of looks inside, so we tried to incorporate [the post] more this game, get the offense flowing through [the post] and get kick-outs for open 3's," Nassif said. "It feels good to get position and attack. If you keep attacking and going at them, they have to get tired eventually."
Nassif's play in the post put Holyoke on the ropes and Moore's athletic ability served as the knockout blow. The junior transfer struggled at times during the game, playing through foul trouble while working to get acclimated to the new system. The 6-foot-4 guard had 16 points, but his final two points — a powerful slam dunk in transition over a Holyoke defender — put his potential on full display for the home crowd. He added 12 rebounds and three blocks as well. Anthony Reinhold had 10 points.
"It took all the air out of Holyoke and it got the crowd bouncing off the walls," Ray said of Moore's dunk. "We really want that to be what we get from Josh on a regular basis. He's a little shy, a little new and working his way into the system, but we think by the end of the year he's going to be a heck of a player."
Moore provided flair to a game that was not very visually pleasing in the first half. The teams combined for 22 turnovers and 17 fouls before halftime. The Generals entered the bonus early in the second quarter, but they shot 1 of 5 from the line, allowing the Knights to hang around. Holyoke's Jack Keane and Derek Birriel ended the half with consecutive 3-pointers, but a two-minute scoring drought to start the quarter doomed the Knights. Jordan Nelson led with 20 points.
Birriel 3-1-10, Keane 3-2-10, Nelson 7-6-20, DeLeon 1-0-2, Vazquez 5-0-10, Anderson 0-3-3, Diaz 1-1-4. Totals: 20-13-59.
Reinhold 4-2-10, McDonough 1-1-4, Moore 6-3-16, Higuera 1-2-4, Muzzy 0-0-0, Rodriguez 4-4-14, Cronin 1-0-2, Nassif 8-1-17. Totals: 25-13-67.
3-point goals H 6 (Birriel 3, Keane 2, Diaz 1). P 4 (McDonough 1, Moore 1, Rodriguez 2).
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