Pittsfield girls scrap to get by Taconic in city rivalry game

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PITTSFIELD — The ability to successfully rebound a basketball is more than just jumping high. Rebounding starts with boxing out your defender, anticipating how the shot will come off the rim and then skying for the ball. The willingness to scrap and throw your body around doesn't hurt either.

Against city rival Taconic, the Pittsfield girls basketball team dominated the boards en route to a 65-48 win on Monday during the annual "War on the Floor" matchup at PHS. The win gives the Pittsfield girls the season series over Taconic.

The Generals pulled down a whopping 60 total rebounds. Three players notched double-figure rebounds with Bella Aitken leading the way with 15. Pittsfield's ability to clean the glass led to putbacks, kick outs to open shooters and one-shot offensive possessions for the Braves.

"It definitely rotates the offense a lot," Aitken said of the team's strong rebounding. "To have a lot of people that are able to get the rebound is good for us. Not just having [Alexis] Garvey, but everyone."

Rebounding and aggressive drives to the basket kept Pittsfield's offense rolling in the first half. The Generals shot 9 of 11 from the free-throw line in the second half. Taconic's Addison Lyon made consecutive 3-pointers, cutting Pittsfield's lead to 10 at the half.

3-point shooting helped the Braves close the gap in the second half. Ashley Rufo drained a trey, followed by a hard drive to the basket for a score from Tamia Patrick. Rufo scored again and Riana Gittens' putback tied the score at 36 with 2 minutes, 50 seconds left in the third. After a Jordyn Lummus free throw, Lyon gave Taconic the lead with a 3-pointer.

Taconic's offense fell silent from then on, however, as the Generals closed on an 11-0 run. They would not trail again.

"They're bigger than us, a little bit stronger, deeper, so I think they had some fresh kids that were running in and out of there," Taconic coach Matt Mickle said. "I don't think it was lack of effort on our part. We busted our [butts] and did the best we could rebounding. Some times the ball falls into their hands."

Aitken led Pittsfield with 27 points. Alexis Garvey, back from a battle with the flu, added 11. Rufo and Patrick led Taconic with 12 points each. Gittens added 10 points.

The city rivalry game always brings an elevated sense of pressure for two Pittsfield schools. Pittsfield coach Joe Racicot said once his players settled down, they were able to play at their normal level and focus on the task at hand.

"We had a hard discussion at halftime, and a hard discussion in the third quarter when they took the lead — the kids responded," Racicot said. "You get caught up in the hype, but they responded well as a group. No matter who I put in there, they did what they had to do to come back."

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TACONIC (48)

Amaral 0-0-0, Gittens 3-4-10, Moody 0-0-0, Rufo 5-1-12, Lyon 3-0-9, Patrick 5-2-12, Lazits 1-3-5, Christopher 0-0-0. Totals: 17-10-48

PITTSFIELD (65)

Curry 0-0-0, Shade 0-0-0, Castagna 1-4-6, Bramer 3-2-8, Perkett 0-1-1, Aitken 10-5-27, Buda 1-0-2, Garvey 3-5-11, Shaver 0-0-0, Lummus 2-5-9. Totals: 20-22-65.

Taconic     11     11     17     9     —     48

Pittsfield     13     19     16     17     —     65

3-point goals — T 4 (Lyon 3, Rufo). P 3 (Aitken 2, Lummus).

Akeem Glaspie can be reached at aglaspie@berkshireeagle.com, at @TheAkeemGlaspie on Twitter and 413-496-6252.



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