McCann Tech Girls Advance to Sectional Quarter-Finals

By Kevin Sports
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The McCann Tech girls basketball team Tuesday earned a first round win over North Brookfield, 57-40, in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 tournament.
Izzy LaCasse led the way for the Hornets, scoring 14 points. Grace Towler added 13, and Kaylee Tatro scored 10. 
It was a slow start for sixth-seeded McCann (13-8),  as nerves seemed to get the better of the Hornets. With careless turnovers and a lack of presence on the glass, they found themselves down early.
Fortunately for McCann, North Brookfield couldn’t take advance of the Hornets’ slow start despite collecting numerous first quarter offensive rebounds. Late in the quarter, McCann started to settle in moving the ball and attacking the zone. It was able to draw fouls and get things going at the free-throw line when shots weren’t falling. 
“Going to the hoop has been big, We’ve been getting a decent amount of free throws a game because we are getting people in foul trouble.” McCann Tech coach Kathy Budaj said. “They had to sit [Serenity Ayala] for a while, which helped us, but the girls were nervous we were sloppy and not composed.” 
The Hornets knocked down 12 first half free throws. They were able to walk away from the first quarter with a 15-8 lead. The second quarter saw more of the same from both teams as they both continued to struggle for the early part of the quarter. McCann held North Brookfield scoreless for the first three minutes of the quarter, but still allowed them to go on a 6-0 run. As North Brookfield started to climb back into the game, Ayrian Quinones knocked down a big 3-pointer to give the hosts a seven-point lead. McCann ran with that momentum and finished the half up 28-19.
Finally in the second half, McCann Tech started to play Hornets basketball, ramping up the defensive pressure and really getting itself some easy looks for points. This has been a big focal point for McCann all year and it helped them open the game up tonight.
“At half I told them to take control of the game, relax and slow down, and when we did we started playing our game,” Budaj said.
The Hornets outscored North Brookfield, 19-9, in the quarter and really solidified their spot in the next round of the tournament. LaCasse was big in that quarter, not only scoring nine points but getting multiple steals to help propel the energy in the gym. 
The fourth quarter McCann was able to play their bench and give some starters a little rest. They would go back and forth trading baskets but the game was all but finished.
McCann Tech moves on to Friday’s Western Massachusetts Division 4 quarter-finals, where it will go on the road to take on No. 3 Hopkins Academy (15-6), a 76-54 winner over Duggan Academy on Tuesady night.
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