PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- With a 12-0 record this winter, the Taconic girls basketball team is on a heck of a run.
On Monday night, it ran all over the defending Berkshire County North Division champs to take a two-game lead in the loss column in this year’s race for the title.
Ciany Conyers and Ahliya Phillips scored 15 points apiece, and Faith Cross scored 10 points and recorded five blocks to lead Taconic to a 56-41 win over Hoosac Valley.
Conyers scored three times in transition in the first four minutes of the game to help Taconic jump out to a 10-5 lead, and it never looked back in completing the season sweep of the Hurricanes.
“I thought we got a ton of points early in transition,” Taconic coach Matt Mickle said. “We got a few breakouts, did a good job of rebounding and created some turnovers. We got some easy stuff to start the game, which is obviously an easy way to start the game.”
Phillips also had a transition bucket in the opening moments, and Taconic’s fast break produced points throughout the night.
“That’s what we want to do,” Mickle said. “We’re quick, we’re fast. We want to run. We can play in the half court, but we’re looking to push the tempo. I know Hoosac plays the same way. Sometimes, that style, you never know what’s going to happen. But we did a good job of continuing to put pressure on them.”
It was a seven-point game late in the second quarter, but Taconic closed with five straight to take a double-digit lead into half-time.
First, an offensive rebound by Cross led to a triple by Phillips. Then, after a Hoosac Valley turnover, Conyers put back an offensive rebound for her 13th point of the first half to make it 28-16 in the locker room.
Taconic came out strong in the third quarter, scoring on eight of nine possessions at one point to run its lead to 45-27 when Tamia Patrick (13 points) put back a rebound in the final minute of the quarter.
The only thing that allowed Hoosac Valley to keep it from turning into a complete runaway in the second half was its 3-point shooting. The Hurricanes scored 21 of their 25 second-half points from behind the arc. Sarah Field had four of those 3s to finish with a game-high 12.
Hoosac Valley coach Ron Wojcik was more focused on his team’s defense -- or lack of their of -- in his postgame comments.
“I thought it was just total effort,” Wojcik said. “They outhustled us up and down the court -- loose balls, offensive rebounds. We didn’t defend, we didn’t deny. We didn’t trap.
“I don’t know why. But that’s it. Give them a ton of credit for outworking and outhustling us. They were certainly much better than us.”
Hoosac Valley made a push to start the fourth, using a 6-2 run to get within 14 when Averie McGrath hit a triple.
But Phillips answered with a 3 and then made a steal and set up Conyers in transition for a bucket. Moments later, Cross made a steal at one end and scored at the other to make it 54-33 with about three minutes left.
“She played so big,” Mickle said of Cross. “She was frustrated the other night against Wahconah. I probably didn’t give her the minutes I should have given her. But I thought she played huge tonight. To me, it looked like she was inspired.
“She created a lot of chaos out there tonight.”
Taconic and Hoosac Valley will play each other one more time, next Monday in Pittsfield as part of the North-South crossover games, but that one will not count in the league standings.
Taconic will look to move closer to a league title on Friday when it plays Pittsfield at the Boys and Girls Club.
Hoosac Valley (11-4, 8-2) continues a challenging stretch to end the season on Thursday when it hosts Wahconah.