Western Mass. basketball: PHS girls stunned by Northampton comeback

Saturday March 2, 2013

NORTHAMPTON -- When Trinity Cookis banked in a 3-pointer from the left wing for a 12-point lead with 4 minutes, 33 seconds remaining, it appeared to be the clincher for the Pittsfield girls basketball team.

Instead, the Generals ran out of players, ran out of points and ran out of gas en route to a 48-46 loss to Northampton in the Western Massachusetts Division I Tournament quarterfinals Friday night.

"We missed some free throws [down the stretch] and we probably could have had a different result," said coach Joe Racicot, who wasn't sure if Tuesday's triple overtime win over Agawam caught up with his squad down the stretch. "We were 13 for 30 [Tuesday]. I don't know. It could have been stamina, but we do it all the time. It's either hit or miss."

No. 1 Northampton (17-4) evened the score when Anna Walther made two free throws with 33.8 seconds left. Dominique Satrape and Courtney McLaughlin each missed a basket on the ensuing possession and Northampton came up with the ball and called timeout with 11.7 seconds left.

Racicot knew the last shot would go to either Maya Kerstetter (25 points) or Walther (14). It ended up in Kerstetter's hands and the junior guard knocked down a 10-footer from the left baseline with 1.7 seconds left to win it.

"It was either one of those guys," he said. "They were going to go to either one of them. They had a lot of time to get the ball somewhere and drive to the hoop."

No. 9 Pittsfield (14-7) lost Lauren Carnevale early in the first quarter, and then had both Rachael Hunt and Allie Hunt foul out in the final 3:43.

Without that trio, the Generals struggled to rebound, which limited their ability to push the ball. They also sent Northampton to the line 17 times in the final frame. The Blue Devils made 13 of them.

Pittsfield, meanwhile, shot 2 for 7 from the line in the fourth.

Satrape finished with a team-high 15 points, while Allie Hunt added 12. McLaughlin, who had 35 in the team's triple overtime win over Agawam in the first round, was limited to seven Friday.

For much of the game, the Generals appeared set to defeat Northampton for the third time in two years and second time this season.

Pittsfield won at home 54-42 on Dec. 21. It defeated the Blue Devils in Northampton 53-44 during the Jill E. Harrington Hanzalik Classic in 2011.

"I wouldn't say we were confident, but we felt good about coming here and playing," Racicot said. "The result, unfortunately, didn't show that."

The Generals overcame 11 first-quarter turnovers to take a 9-6 lead into the second quarter. Allie Hunt scored 10 of her points in the second frame as Pittsfield pushed its advantage to 24-15 and then held Northampton off throughout the third.

Cookis' 3-pointer made it a 12-point game, but Pittsfield managed just two free throws the rest of the way.

"I think it was good for our team in general to play an eighth seed [Tuesday] and get warmed up," Racicot said. "I think they were a little flat in the beginning. They didn't play their best and we exploited that for a while. Then the headlights came on and they just came right at us."


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