AMHERST, Mass. -- Fallon Field scored 24 points on Saturday afternoon to lead the Hoosac Valley girls basketball team to its fourth straight Western Massachusetts championship with a 51-40 win over rival Drury at Curry Hicks Cage.
The second-seeded Hurricanes (20-5) bounced back from a slow start that saw them fall behind, 14-2, and trail, 25-22, at half-time.
"We knew they were going to come out hard," Field said of Drury. "They have a lot of heart, and we know those girls. But we had to keep our heads up. Basketball is about runs. We could have gone on a run in the beginning, but they did. And we came back.
"They were hungry for us. Most teams are. But being our rivals, and we beat them twice and in the jamboree, they came out hard. And we didn't really bring it in the beginning."
Hoosac's press turned the tide in the third quarter as the Hurricanes went on a 13-0 run to take a 35-27 lead when Kailynne Frederick (seven points, eight rebounds) scored to make it 35-27 late in the period.
Brooke DiGennaro scored a team-high 12 points for fourth-seeded Drury (16-7) -- all on 3-pointers. Molly Moulton added nine points, and Jenna Moulton scored seven. Olivia Carlson grabbed a game-high 21 rebounds.
For Hoosac Valley seniors Madi Ryan and Cassidy McMahon, it was a fourth straight Western Mass title. The first came against the same Drury program. The first time around, Hoosac was the underdog going into the final.
"They're very positive," Field said of the seniors. "They're always getting us up. Cass, her defense gets us up, and Madi the same and with her offense. They never put their heads down, no matter what the situation is. They're always getting us up.
"Experience definitely is very important. We're used to playing in front of crowds and in this big gym with the depth behind the hoop, so it definitely played in our hands today."
Hoosac Valley coach Ron Wojcik agreed that the leadership of veterans like McMahon, Ryan, Field and Skylar Case was key for the 'Canes in title run No. 4.
"We knew we had four seasoned returning kids, but all these younger kids coming in had never played, certainly, in an environment like this," he said. "It rubs off. I think every day they see the work ethic the kids put into it."
And just like in years past, Wojcik did not miss the significance of all the younger Adams and Cheshire girls mixed among the crowd in Curry Hicks Cage.
"I think we have a great travel and youth program, and in the off-season, the kids really put their work in whether it's AAU or summer basketball," Wojcik said. "And a lot of times, we get them at that point where skill wise, they're doing really well.
"There were a lot of younger kids in the stands today. Everyone wants to be a part of it. ... I think it snowballs a little bit. It's just a combination of we're really blessed to have good players and a lot of people who put a lot of time into the youth programs as well."
Hoosac will face Littleton in the state semi-finals on Tuesday at the DCU Center in Worcester.