|BART Basketball Advances to League Title Game|
|11:20PM / Tuesday, February 13, 2018|
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- It was not that long ago that the BART basketball team was the kind of program others might see as a doormat.
Now, the Wolf Pack is on the doorstep of winning a league championship.
Brandon Bamba scored 27 points Tuesday as Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School defeated Eagle Hill, 59-52, in the semi-finals of the River Valley Athletic League’s B Division Tournament.
On Thursday afternoon at the North Adams Armory, BART will host the league title game -- a far cry from the program’s early days.
“Two years ago, we were getting beaten by 60 and 70 points per game,” BART coach Rob Daugherty said after Tuesday’s win at the Armory. “They stuck with it. They worked on their fundamentals. At home, they do things. And they’ve grown.
“I tell them all time: This win is not necessarily skill. It’s effort. It’s effort to steal the ball. It doesn’t take talent to steal the ball. And they take that to heart.”
BART forced three turnovers down the stretch on Tuesday as it rallied from a 51-48 deficit with an 11-1 run in the final three minutes.
The winning run started when Isaac Bamba set up his brother for a 3-pointer to tie the game.
Brandon then scored in the post on the next Wolf Pack possession to give his team a 53-51 lead it never relinquished.
After fourth-seeded Eagle Hill (6-5) got a free throw to get within a point, Isaac Bamba (20 points) scored in the post. The next time down the court, a couple of offensive rebounds set up an Isaac Bamba free throw to make it a two-possession game.
A William Peets defensive rebound at the other end set up Brandon Bamba’s conventional three-point play in transition with 51 seconds left for the game’s final points.
BART (13-2) started the game in a 6-0 hole and trailed by four points, 13-9, after the first quarter.
But it started the second quarter on a 15-0 run to take control of the game. Brandon Bamba had a couple of baskets in transition during that stretch.
“When they play well, they really can dominate,” Daugherty said. “Sometimes, they lose their focus of passing the ball and working it around. But it always starts with defense. Our defense is better than anything else out there. Our offense starts with our defense.”
The Wolf Pack ended the regular season on a three-game winning streak, holding their opponents to 44, 41 and 31 points down the stretch. The regular season finale was a 33-31 defensive battle over Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School, which met third-seeded Buxton in the other semi-final.
BART split its regular season meetings with its potential Thursday opponents, falling to Buxton and PVCICS in their first meetings before beating each the second time around.