Wahconah Girls Build Big Lead Early, Cruise Past Hoosac Valley

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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DALTON, Mass. -- Playing its fourth game in four days, the Wahconah girls basketball team could have been forgiven for being a little down.
But it never is hard to get up for Hoosac Valley.
Wahconah started the matinee in Ed Ladley Gymnasium a little flat on offense, but it never let up on defense in building a 23-point lead en route to a 42-21 win in a rematch of last winter’s Western Massachusetts Division 3 title game.
“We’ve been looking forward to this for, what, 10 months?” Wahconah coach Liz Kay said. “I don’t even know anymore. But, absolutely, they circled this [on the calendar]. I think it was really important that they got to do that.”
Maria Gamberoni scored 21 points, and Olivia Mason added eight for Wahconah.
It took more than three minutes of play for the teams to get their second basket, an Abigail Hugger bucket in the post for the Hurricanes (2-1) to tie the game, 2-2.
Gamberoni said that even when Wahconah’s shots are not falling, it keeps to its game plan.
“We just try to get out there with as much energy as we can,” the senior said. “We try to hit the boards and make steals and get up the floor fast. Transition is kind of our goal every game. Just to run, run, run. If we can do that at the beginning of the game, it always helped.”
Fueled by its defense, Wahconah scored the next 10 points, taking its first double-digit lead when Olivia Gamberoni hit a free throw two minutes into the second quarter to make it 12-2.
Garabadian got two more moments later, but Wahconah went on an 11-0 run that included 3-pointers from Morgan Marauszwski and Maria Gamberoni to take a 23-4 lead into the break.
Maria Gamberoni scored the first four points of the second half to push the lead to 27-4 before Annie Canales hit the first of her two 3-pointers to give the Hurricanes some life.
Hoosac went on to have success getting the ball into the post, even without injured 5-foot-11 sophomore center Gabby Billetz, who had seven points in that meeting in Curry Hicks Cage in March.
Averie McGrath scored under the basket on back-to-back possessions late in the third to cut the margin back to 19.
McGrath finished with a team-high eight points, and Hoosac Valley played nearly even in the second half, which Wahconah won, 19-17.
These two teams figure to see a lot more of one another over the next two weeks as the schedule evolves for the five-team Berkshire County League.
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