Hoosac Boys Primed for Another Run Next Winter
WORCESTER, Mass. -- The Hoosac Valley boys basketball team once again will face its share of challenges in the 2015-16 season.
One of the biggest: finding teams that want to play the Hurricanes.
"It's to the point where no one wants to play us any more in the regular season," Hoosac coach Bill Robinson said after Saturday's 61-47 loss to Old Rochester in the Massachusetts Division 3 State Championship.
Robinson pointed out that he had to fill out his 2014-15 schedule with a trip to play Saugus back in December.
"[In Western Mass], Division 1 schools don't want to play us because we're Division 3, and Division 3 schools don't want to play us because we're too good," Robinson said.
There is every reason to think the Hurricanes will be really good next year as they attempt to defend their Westeern Massachusetts title.
Just two players graduate from this winter's roster, and only one of that pair -- Nate Tomkiewicz -- started in Saturday's state final.
"I told these guys after the game just now, you guys don't realize the pressure that's going to be on you next year," Robinson said.
"You're going to be expected to get back here next year."
Nine juniors on this year's team will be returning for their senior season in December 2015.
Among them is Matt Koperniak, who scored a team-high 14 in Saturday's loss.
He said the 'Canes learned a valuable lesson this week from their double-overtime state semi-final and a championship game that saw them tie the game midway through the third quarter.
"We just know that it's doable," Koperniak said. "It's definitely intimidating, the whole state tournament and everything. But we cut right through it and showed everyone what Western Mass is like."
Robinson agreed that the 2015 post-season run will pay dividends nine months from now.
"There's nothing that can replace experience, and we had a lot of kids here tonight who got some great minutes off the bench and picked us up," Robinson said. "[Junior] Avery Hall had a great game, I thought. [J.P.] Levesque again as a sophomore comes through, quality minutes for us, quality shots. [Junior Javon] Reynolds played well for us.
"We got some good production.
"I'll tell you what I just told them: Go to work this summer because we fell one short. We've got to go clean it up this summer to come back next year and win it now."