McGrath Leads Hoosac Valley Girls to Win over Wahconah

By Brian Sports
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — After four close quarters of tough defense and several lead changes, the Hoosac Valley girls basketball team held on to beat Wahconah, 57-52, in the first game of the season for both teams.
Averie McGrath led the way for Hoosac Valley, scoring 23 points with four 3-pointers, the only player on the team to score in double digits. Wahconah's Olivia Gamberoni was not far behind, scoring 21 and, like McGrath, was the only player on her team to score double figures. 
Hoosac Valley coach Holly McGovern said McGrath's performance, along with the team's strong play and effort overall, was what allowed it to win. 
"I think, first and foremost, it was our desire and our ability to beat the press," she said. "We got some pretty good looks off of it, and I thought Averie McGrath was getting up and down the floor today. She was something special." 
The game was close throughout, with neither team extending its lead past six points at any point. After one quarter, the score was 14-11, with Hoosac Valley holding the early lead. 
While McGovern said she was happy with the team's offensive play overall, she felt like it struggled to start the game. Despite this, Hoosac managed to hold onto the lead at the end of each of the first three quarters. 
"We came out kind of hot and heavy, chucking up a lot of shots," she said. "We're looking for more efficiency. And like I said, we're just going to get better." 
Hoosac Valley held a four-point lead at the half, with a score of 29-25. It maintained this lead throughout the third, with a 44-40 score going into the fourth quarter. 
Wahconah was playing full-court press defense throughout most of the game. McGovern said this caused a lot of turnovers, but the team was ultimately able to overcome it. 
"I think spacing is always a key against defenses and especially against press breaks and full-court presses," she said. "Timely cuts are important, but we still turned the ball over a lot tonight. But let's be honest, we turned the ball over more than we like. And we need to continue working on that." 
Wahconah came out hot to start the fourth quarter, scoring seven unanswered points to give it a three-point lead with a score of 47-44 with six and a half minutes left in the game. Hoosac Valley was able to fight back quickly, bringing the score to 51-49 by the five-minute mark.
Hoosac Valley took a 56-52 lead with three minutes left, scoring only one free throw to close out the game. However, The team's defense secured the victory by not allowing Wahconah to score during the remainder of the game. 
McGovern said fundamentals are crucial for the team to start the season, especially defense. Neither team scored a basket in the last three minutes of play. 
"I think everybody understands right now that it's early in the season. We've only been at this for about ten days," McGovern said. "Right now, we're just trying to stick to a lot of foundation and a lot of our basics. And if we can do that, we can make small adjustments off of it." 
McGovern said she is excited to see what this team can achieve as the season progresses. 
"I love teaching these guys no matter what," she said. "They've been wonderful, from the start of our trial process, all the way to this point. And I don't see that changing."
Hoosac Valley now holds a 1-0 record to start the season after tonight's win at home. Wahconah sits at 0-1 after the loss. 
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