Mendel, Mercier Lead Hoosac Valley to Tournament Title
CHESHIRE, Mass. -- The Hoosac Valley girls basketball team knocked down 14 3-pointers in Saturday’s 62-44 win over Greenfield.
None was bigger than Alie Mendel’s with just more than five minutes left in the third quarter.
The Hurricanes (2-0) had led by double figures for most of the first half. But the Green Wave stormed out of half-time with an 8-2 run to make it a two-possession game at 32-26.
That’s when Mendel (19 points) drained the third of her four triples, igniting a 13-4 run that sent Hoosac Valley on to the championship of its holiday tournament.
“Once we get one basket, we usually get a flow going, and we usually just go from there,” said Lexi Mercier. “We always have confidence in our shots and our defense to get stops to keep us going.”
Mercier capped that third quarter run with a 3-pointer to make it 45-30, and Greenfield never got within single digits the rest of the way.
Mercier finished with a game-high 20 points on six 3-pointers to earn a spot on the all-tournament team. Mendel, who scored 21 in the Hurricanes’ first round win, was named the tournament most valuable player.
Hoosac Valley got eight points from freshman Annabelle Canales and six points and nine rebounds from sophomore Riley Robinson as the Hurricanes reload in pursuit of their sixth straight Western Massachusetts title.
“We definitely learned that we can always rely on younger girls coming in, bringing more energy,” Mercier said of the weekend’s lessons.
Hoosac also learned how to deal with a big front line like Greenfield’s led by Sam Smith, who earned a spot on the all-tourney team after scoring 11 points and grabbing 16 rebounds.
“Pittsfield will be like that, but most teams won’t be that big in Berkshire County,” Hoosac Valley coach Ron Wojcik said. “We talked about that. And part of [overcoming] that is us getting up and down the floor to neutralize that a little bit.
“We did a pretty good job of that early, but I don’t know if our legs gave out a little bit on us. I thought Greenfield did a good job, but we didn’t get up and down the court like we should. Part of that was we had to change our rotations a little bit.”
The Hurricanes’ lineup took a hit when senior point guard Skylar Case succumbed to illness and took a seat in the second quarter. With Hoosac’s game plan of full court pressure for 32 minutes, the loss of even one starter can be a strain.
“It wasn’t our best game all around,” Wojcik said. “Coach Bob [LeClair] said he loves winning ugly. I don’t love winning ugly. It was a game where we had to gut it out. … For a young team to gut that out after they made a decent run at us, we were pleased with how they were able to bounce back.”
Hoosac Valley goes to Taconic on Wednesday.