|BART Boys Basketball Rallies, Falls Short in League Title Game|
|By Stephen Dravis, iBerkshires.com Sports|
06:51PM / Thursday, February 15, 2018
|Brandon Bamba led BART with 16 points in the one-point loss.|
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- You know a program has arrived when moral victories just don’t cut it.
In that sense, the BART basketball team has arrived.
Moments after losing its league championship game on a late 3-pointer after rallying from 11 points down midway through the third quarter, the Wolf Pack players were quiet, dejected and, perhaps at some level, thinking about how they can change the script next season.
Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School knocked down a triple with 6.2 seconds on the clock to take a 39-38 win over a young but resilient BART squad and claim the B Division of the River Valley Athletic League.
“It's amazing what they've done,” Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School coach Rob Daugherty said of his team. “And we had it. We had it. We were tight, we were all over them. They didn't have an open shot at all at the end. He just made a shot with a hand in his face and put 'em ahead by one.
“It's still a tough way to lose. But I'm so proud of these guys.”
BART (13-3) was seeded first in the eight-team playoff bracket, but it was PVCICS (10-2) that took control early at the North Adams Armory, jumping out to a 24-9 lead early in the second quarter.
It was still a 15-point margin before Brandon Bamba (16 points) made a 3-pointer from well outside the arc and then scored in transition to make it a 10-point game, 26-16, at half-time.
The PVCICS Dragons hit four 3-pointers in the first half. BART went all man-to-man in the second half and held the visitors without a triple in the second half until the closing seconds.
Offensively, BART’s comeback started with an Isaac Bamba bucket in the post with about 3 minutes, 30 seconds on the clock to make it a nine-point game, 30-21.
Isaac, who was held scoreless in the first half, scored 15 in the second half to key the comeback.
His basket in transition off a steal by brother Brandon in the closing seconds of the third ended an 8-0 run and made it a one-possession game, 30-27.
With about five minutes left in the fourth, Isaac set up Brandon on a baseline inbounds play to get the deficit down to one, and on BART’s next possession, William Peets (seven points) hit a 3-pointer to give the Wolf Pack their first lead of the game, 34-32, with about four minutes left to play.
The Dragons scored the next four while holding BART to one shot on its next five possessions.
Finally, a Ty Aubin rebound for the Wolf Pack set up an Isaac Bamba bucket in transition to get his team within one, 36-35, with 43 seconds left.
After a timeout, Isaac stole the ball and got it to Brandon, whose shot rimmed out. Isaac was there to put back the rebound and drew a foul with 33 seconds left to play. He converted the conventional three-point play to put BART ahead, 38-36.
That set the stage for the Dragons’ game-winning shot with 6.2 seconds on the clock. BART was not able to get a good look at the basket, and PVCICS escaped with the win.
“I can't say more about those guys,” Daugherty, who notes that BART dresses a junior, a sophomore, three freshmen and a bunch of eighth-graders.
“I've never seen a team play with such heart and with no fear. The score never bothered them. They just continued to fight. They didn't start bombing 3s from the outside. They didn't start doing what so many teams down when they fall behind. They just continued to play their game and went to their strengths.
“That's them. I'm on the sidelines telling them to do stuff, but I only have so much power. I'm so proud of them because these guys are so young to play at such a high mental level. It really is incredible.”