Pioneer Valley Girls Edge McCann Tech in Tourney Opener
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The McCann Tech girls basketball team fell just short in the first round of the Western Massachusetts Division 4 tournament opener, as 10th-seeded Pioneer Valley escaped the Hornets Nest with a 45-42 win and a berth in the quarter-finals.
It was a rough start for McCann as it struggled on both ends of the floor. With costly turnovers, the Hornets quickly found themselves in a 6-0 hole forcing them into an early timeout.
It took McCann nearly five minutes before they scored their first points of the game at the free throw line. With all the first quarter turnovers it was a positive to only be down by two points going into the second quarter. Unfortunately for McCann the struggles continued as they were never able to catch up with Pioneer. After some back-and-forth play by both teams, Pioneer was able to go on another run right before the half. The Panthers were able to knock down a couple 3-pointers including one right at the end of the half to give them a 22-14 lead.
"We turned the ball over way too much in the first half, we played scared, and it got in our heads and that is what lost us the game.” McCann coach Kathy Budaj said. “I had to call a timeout early because we were just throwing the ball away, We were settling for long 3s.”
In the second half, Pioneer continued to dominate on the offensive glass, getting there straight baskets off of rebounds. Paige Lorghman lead both teams in scoring with 21 points, including a red hot third quarter when she poured in 15 points. Late in the third McCann started to grow into the game upping their intensity and getting some of those turnovers that hurt them in the first half.
The closest they got in the game came right at the end when Kaylee Tatro knocked down a runner in the lane to finally cut the deficit to one possession, 42-45. Tatro had six on the night while Isabella LaCasse scored a team high 17. By this time it was too late for McCann. They trailed the entire game and were unable to get the stops they needed late in the game. With one last chance at the buzzer they were unable to get the three pointer to go to send the game into overtime ending their playoff run early.
After a loss like this its tough to find any bright spots, but if you had to look for one it would be that McCann is returning every single player next year as they will try to bounce back from this disappointing post-season run.
“I told them that we had a good seed to make a run to the Cage, that was our goal, but it's not going to happen this year,” Budaj said. "Next year we will have another chance to get there but we need to start taking care of business. Feel what we are feeling now and don’t forget it because next year is it.”
Pioneer will continue on to Thursday go to second-seeded Ware, a 42-17 winner over Gateway on Monday night.