PITTSFIELD -- On the current Taconic boys' basketball roster, only Drew Scace has had experience playing deep into the Western Massachusetts tournament and playing at the Curry Hicks Cage, playing in the Division II final in 2011 as a freshman.
Soon, that will change. The Braves led wire-to-wire Thursday night and defeated Mahar 57-50 in the Western Massachusetts Division II quarterfinals.
Taconic (13-8) will play top seed Greenfield in the semifinals at the Cage in Amherst. Greenfield defeated Palmer 59-20 Thursday.
Taconic put the Senators (15-6) against the ropes early in the first quarter. A pair of Shaq Ardrey 3s and a behind-the-back dish to Trayvon Sims for a layup gave the Braves a 14-0 lead with 2:27 remaining in the first.
Braves coach Bill Heaphy sought to put pressure early on Mahar by extending the defense and forcing long possessions.
"We started out with a 2-2-1 [defense] just to slow things down," he said. "I liked our half-court defense in the first half. I thought we were playing very well limiting them to one shot."
The Braves went to halftime with a 10-point lead, but Mahar soon began to pick up its offensive pace. Mahar would continue to make noise in the fourth quarter, but the Braves never allowed the lead to dip below 6, and would seal the game with 2:16 remaining, as Sims buried a 3 in the corner to extend the lead to 51-40.
Wahconah boys' basketball
SPRINGFIELD -- Collin Parrott pumped his fist with every 3-pointer he made, his face contorted in a wellspring of emotion.
Unfortunately for the Wahconah sophomore, it was the ones he missed that defined Thursday's 56-42 loss to Sabis in the Western Massachusetts Division II quarterfinals.
"They threw an extra defender on it and I was rushing it," Parrott said. "I had to sit there, look on a roll or maybe drive more. I shouldn't have rushed it so much."
After his fifth 3 cut the deficit to two with 5 minutes, 40 seconds to play, Parrott missed two more deep looks at the basket. The sixth-seeded Warriors (10-11) wouldn't make another shot until the dying seconds, letting No. 3 Sabis finish the game on a 15-3 run. Parrott finished with 18 points in his first postseason appearance while Marco Anastasio had 11.