AMHERST, Mass. — The Hoosac Valley girls basketball team has made itself at home at Curry Hicks Cage the last few years — picking up sectional titles the last two seasons.
On Saturday afternoon, it had a chance to hang one more banner at its actual home back in Cheshire, and the No. 1 Hurricanes prevailed, beating second-seeded and undefeated Granby, 55-29.
It was a slow start for the Hurricanes as they struggled to get the ball inside to senior center Emily Rosse. The Rams kept her scoreless in the first half, fronting her and doubling her down low.
But at half-time, Hoosac coach Ron Wojick lit a fire under his senior leading scorer.
"Coach just said come down and post harder than I did in the first half and just want the ball more," Rosse said.
She came back out in the third and put up 10 of Hoosac's nineteen points and finished 12 overall and 13 rebounds.
"I got on Emily a little bit at half-time. Even though she was getting double teamed, she wasn't working hard enough," Wojick said. "I thought she could work harder and get open and get those looks."
Granby stuck with Hoosac throughout the first half and only trailed by seven points at half-time, but Hoosac out-scored the Rams (22-1) in the third quarter, 19-6, going ahead 42-22 and then holding them to only seven points in the fourth to seal the 26-point margin of victory.
"I think they were still very confident in their record so they didn't give up," senior Amber Lesure said. "But once we started getting a bigger lead they kind of slowed down."
Despite the scoreless first half from Rosse, the Hurricanes were led by sophomore Fallon Field, who finished with 19 points, and junior Madi Ryan, who came in behind her with 15; 21 of their combined 34 points came in the first half.
Wojick said that the two have stepped in big this season and filled the roles of last year's graduating seniors, Jen Gale and Meg Rodowicz.
Back in December at the start of the season, senior McKenzie Robinson stressed that it was a new year and a new team and that they didn't want to look back on last season. The senior captain said, "We need to take it game by game and not look ahead," but when the final buzzer went off Saturday afternoon she said it felt all the same.
"It didn't feel any different, it felt amazing and it always does because all your hard work pays off," Robinson said.
The Hurricanes now will play Wednesday afternoon for the State Semi-Final at Mass Mutual Center against Bellingham in a rematch of last year's state semis.
Wojick and the girls will prepare like any other game that they have this season.
"We'll do the same thing, we'll get the scouting report and go through it," he said. "Our game plan is to just do it game by game."