BART Charter basketball dispatches PVCICS from RVAL tournament semifinals

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NORTH ADAMS — A year after being upset at home by the Dragons in the River Valley Athletic League semifinals, the Wolfpack left no doubt on Tuesday night at home.

The Berkshire Arts and Technologies Charter School basketball team hammered Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter 67-48 in the 2020 RVAL Tournament Semis to move into the Open Division championship game for the first time.

BART dispatched its rival behind 23 points from Isaac Bamba and another 21 from Brandon Bamba, punching a ticket to the title game on Thursday against Eagle Hill. BART is the top seed in the Open Division, meaning the matchup with No. 2 Eagle Hill will take place at the North Adams Armory at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

"This was the game we wanted to play. Move the ball, get the higher-percentage shot," said BART coach Robert Daugherty. "The defense was really tough. We were all over them all game long.

"That made the game, the defense. It was really good to see them come out and play. We got this monkey off our backs."

The visiting Dragons hung around for a while on Tuesday, staying within two points after a quarter and quickly cutting into a sizable deficit at the start of the second half.

BART led 28-15 at the break, courtesy of a big offensive second quarter. Owen Brady scored all five of his points, while William Peets added four points, two blocks and two rebounds and Brandon Bamba connected on one of his three, 3-pointers in the game. However, to start the third quarter, the Wolfpack offense went cold.

PVCICS scored the first four points of the third, and Daugherty called a timeout with 5 minutes, 28 seconds on the clock with the lead down to nine.

Peets grabbed two offensive rebounds on BART's next possession, but couldn't convert from the foul line. Still, that extra effort was contagious, and Isaac Bamba came up with a quick steal and went the other way. Brandon Bamba finished off a putback for the hosts' first points of the second half with more than three minutes gone by.

The Bamba brothers then went on a scoring flurry, all stemming from stellar perimeter defense and rebounding. Isaac made a steal and found Brandon in transition and vis versa, with Peets and Reggie Delphia mixing in. Brandon Bamba scored nine of his 21 in the third, including a deep 3-pointer late. It was a 12-0 run that turned a nine point advantage into a 40-19 crater that PVCICS couldn't climb out of.

"We were just playing good defense. Every time we kept on getting a stop, every time back down the court it was a layup. It was basically defense that won the game," said Isaac Bamba. "It's pretty regular for us, we try to do it every game."

BART led 46-28 through three quarters, and the fourth provided more of the same for the Wolfpack, who were now hunting passing lanes constantly and creating offense in transition with abandon.

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Isaac Bamba erupted for 13 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth, shooting 5 of 6 from the free-throw line to seal the win.

Peets finished with nine points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots. Kayla Saunders and Ty Aubin got the start, with Isaac and Brandon Bamba coming off the bench. Saunder's scored the game's first bucket and finished with three points, as the Wolfpack got points from nine different players.

BART edged Eagle Hill in the regular season, 60-57, back on Jan. 14 at the Armory, and will get another crack at them in the finals on Thursday evening.

"Just have to play our game, same way we've been playing all year," said Isaac Bamba. "We only have one loss, so if we just keep up the same momentum, we're going to win."

———

PVCICS (48)

Hunter 6-1-17, Robert 5-5-15, John 0-2-2, Odin 1-0-2, Silas 2-0-4, Robbie 2-1-3, Jesse 2-0-4, Sam 0-1-1. Totals 18-10-48.

BART (67)

Delphia 1-0-2, Rodriguez 0-0-0, Matthews 0-1-1, Peets 3-3-9, Brady 2-1-5, Aubin 0-1-1, Moser 0-2-2, I. Bamba 9-5-23, Saunders 1-1-3, B. Bamba 8-2-21. Totals 24-16-67.

PVCICS     9     6     13     20     —     48

BART     11     17     18     21     —     67

3-point goals — P: 4 (Hunter); B 3 (B. Bamba).

Mike Walsh can be reached at mwalsh@berkshireeagle.com, at @CLNS_Walsh on Twitter and 413-496-6240.


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