Busy Saturday in Basketball, Wrestling, Swimming Post-Season
Berkshire County will take home at least one Western Massachusetts District 1 Championship after Saturday's regional finals.
Local squads have advanced to the title game in all six brackets -- three girls and three boys -- where they competed over the last week.
In Class D girls, two rivals from the old Berkshire County League will meet for District 1 supremacy when Lee and Hoosac Valley tip off at noon at MCLA's Amsler Center in North Adams.
The Wildcats and Huurricanes met once this season, back on Jan. 21, when Hoosac Valley took a 52-23 win in Cheshire.
Faced with the prospect of Lee or an unknown opponent in Mount Everett, the Wildcats' foe in Wednesday's semi-final, Hoosac Valley coach Holly McGovern said it really did not matter to her whether her team faced familiar or fresh faces in the final.
"At this point in the season, we're happy to be, obviously, in the finals," she said after her semi-final win over Turners Falls. "We want to continue to play hard, work as a team. We're just going to continue to fine tune all the little aspects that we have."
Hoosac Valley has been playing well enough this season to rank first in all of Division 5 statewide in the final Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association power rankings that came out midweek.
Lee (16-4) and Hoosac Valley (17-3) will start a triple-header for local high school basketball fans at the Amsler Center.
At 2 p.m., the Hoosac Valley boys will face Baystate Academy for a Class D title. It will be the third meeting this year between the squads. Baystate won, 88-63, in Cheshire in December and again, 55-50, in the rematch less than two weeks ago.
The Hurricanes (14-6) have a habit of playing better against teams the more times they see them this season. They shaved 20 points off the margin against Baystate from Game 1 to Game 2. They went from a 16-point loss to South Hadley the first time around to a six-point loss in the rematch. And after losing to Wahconah by nine points in Dalton, the Hurricanes came back to win by three points at home.
The other Hoosac Valley loss came to Drury, and the Blue Devils will be the last team on the floor at MCLA on Saturday afternoon, when they meet Paulo Freire in the Class boys final.
Drury (16-4) may be playing its best ball of the season, riding a seven-game winning streak.
The other three county teams playing in Western Mass tournament finals on Saturday head to Westfield High.
The Taconic girls (11-9) will get things started at 1 p.m. in the Class C final against Springfield International Charter School.
The same two schools will lock horns at 3 p.m. in the Class C boys final. The Taconic boys (16-4) were the top-ranked team in the state in the last regular season Division 5 power rankings. Springfield ICS, formerly known as Sabis, was ranked second in Division 4 when the rankings came out midweek.
The nightcap at Westfield High will feature the second-ranked team statewide in D4 girls play, Wahconah (16-4) against South Hadley. This one will be another rematch; Wahconah won easily, 63-28, in December but by just two points, 54-52, in the rematch earlier this month.
The Western Mass tourneys organized by the Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference are not the only game in town when it comes to post-season basketball on Saturday.
McCann Tech (12-8) hosts Blue Hills at 5 p.m. in the Hive in the semi-finals of the State Vocational tournament. The winner will play the winner of Upper Cape and Westfield Tech for the State Voc title.
Win or lose, all eight of the local basketball teams in action Saturday will move on to state tournament play starting Monday.
In fact, with the regular season cutoff for basketball falling on Thursday, none of Saturday's games will count toward teams' seeds in the upcoming state tournaments. Saturday's games are, strictly speaking, "exemption games," beyond the 20-game regular season limit.
On Thursday, the MIAA tweeted that it will release the brackets for five girls and five boys state tournaments on Saturday.
While the basketball state tourney is just getting started, the swimming season is winding down, and that sends local swimmers across the commonwealth to Boston University for this weekend's Division 2 Championships.
Taconic's Mia Bencivenga is qualified in the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle. Her teammate, Mia Zuccalo, is qualified in the 100 breaststroke.
Pittsfield's Kiera Devine is slated to swim in the same heat as Bencivenga in the 500. Jackie Roccabruna is qualified in the 100 free. They will be joined by teammates Emily Bradford and Riley Steinman in the 400 free relay.
For Monument Mountain, Zoe Holmes is qualified in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly.
The Spartans also have two girls relay quartets qualified, in the 400 free and 200 free.
The girls Division 2 meet gets underway at 6:45 on Saturday evening.
The boys hit the pool at 6:45 on Sunday.
Monument Mountain's Sam Cybulski is qualified in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke. He will be joined at the meet by the Spartans' 200 medley relay quartet.
In the wrestling all-state meet that gets underway Saturday in Fitchburg, five Berkshire County student-athletes will be competing.
At 113 pounds, Mount Everett's Connor Lupiani is seeded 17th after placing sixth at the Division 3 meet last week. Monument Mountain's Colin Kinne is seeded 18th in the weight class.
At 126, Monument Mountain's Ely Cormier is seeded eighth after finishing third in the divisional state meet.
Taconic's Noah Poirier is seeded 11th at 152 pounds, and his teammate Broc Healey is seeded 16th at 160.
The all-state wrestling meet originally was scheduled for Friday and Saturday but got pushed to Saturday and Sunday due to Friday's snowstorm.