|Will Guthie’s three-point play with 5.8 seconds left in overtime lifted the Pittsfield Saukees to a 52-51 victory over the Flying Geese of Wethersfield, who were making their Macomb-Western Holiday Tournament debut. It was a dramatic ending to the first round as Pittsfield overcame an eight-point fourth quarter deficit. Unfortunately for Wethersfield, it was a familiar refrain as the Geese suffered their third loss by a single point already this season.|
The win for the Saukees (5-6) was an unlikely one to say the least, especially after starting guard Cade Tomhave left the game and did not return after slamming into the press table going after a loose ball with one minute left in the third quarter.
Another storyline was the play of Wethersfield’s Coltin Quagliano. He played all 36 minutes, tallying 32 points, five rebounds and five steals. Quagliano gave Wethersfield (6-4) a 45-37 advantage with just under four minutes remaining in regulation, the largest lead of the night be either side.
But the Geese misfired on seven of their next eight field goal attempts, finishing under 30 percent for the game (17-for-57). Guthrie assisted on baskets by Carter Klatt and Peyton Apps to pull the Saukees to within four. After a lay up by Quagliano, a put-back by Klatt again made the deficit four. After Wethersfield missed the front-end of a one-and-one, Noah Gay brought Pittsfield to within two on a put-back lay in with 1:29 left. A steal by Guthrie set up the game-tying lay up by Apps with 42 seconds remaining. Guthrie blocked away a potential game-winning shot by Wethersfield with two seconds left and Pittsfield defended well the following in-bounds play to force an extra frame.
In overtime, it appeared Quagliano would finally save the day for the Geese when he knocked the ball loose near midcourt and sprinted ahead for the go-ahead basket with 1:16 to go. Tevin Baker then stole the ball away for Wethersfield with under 20 seconds remaining forcing Pittsfield to foul Quagliano with 13 seconds to play. He made one out of two making the score 51-49.
Pittsfield raced downcourt as Nate Scranton drove to the lane and hit a wide-open Guthrie with a deft bounce pass. Guthrie converted and was fouled to set up the game-winning free throw. Wethersfield had one more chance, but Kale Nelson’s leaner from 10 feet at the buzzer was just off the mark.
Pittsfield overcame 21 turnovers with a 39-28 rebounding margin and big edge in field goal shooting (46.5% to 29.8%). Three Saukees reached double figures in points: Klatt (14), Guthrie (12), and Apps (10). All three players finished with at least five rebounds as well. Klatt and Tomhave recorded four assists.
Quagliano’s 32 points were the most by any player on day one of the tournament. Baker was a force on the boards for the Geese, recording eight boards to go with seven points. Waylon Bryant chipped in with five points, four assists, and three steals. Wethersfield had just seven turnovers and shot almost twice as many free throws as the opposition, but made just 48 percent (12-for-25) at the line.
Pittsfield advances to the quarterfinals to face the two-time defending champions from West Hancock, a 59-43 winner over Illini Bluffs in the first round, for yet another late-night tip off at 9:30 pm Friday. Wethersfield will match up with Illini Bluffs at 2:30 Friday in the consolation bracket.
December 26, 2019