Hoosac Girls Back in Western Mass Title Game
AMHERST, Mass. — One year later, and the Hoosac Valley girls basketball is right back in the Western Massachusetts championship game.
Only this time, no one is a bit surprised.
Emily Rosse scored 27 points as the second-seeded Hurricanes blew past No. 3 Granby, 71-40, on Tuesday night at the Curry Hicks Cage to earn a spot in Saturday's Division 3 sectional final.
The 'Canes will be looking for their second straight Western Mass crown after last year's run that saw Hoosac beat three higher-seeded teams.
This year, the only team seeded higher than Hoosac is No. 1 Sabis, which plays its semi-final on Wednesday night.
Hoosac senior Jennifer Gale said the tournament does have a different feel this winter.
"Last year's run, we were going into it really not knowing what to expect, just going in very nervous," Gale said. "This year, we know what to expect. We're ready for it. We're ready to play every single minute on the court. It's just an amazing experience."
As one of the teams expected to make it to the finals, it's the experience of being the hunted instead of the hunter.
"We definitely have a big target on our back," Gale said. "I mean, we haven't lost in Massachusetts."
The 21-1 Hurricanes took their only loss to a team from Ohio in a holiday tournament at Walt Disney World back in December.
Since then, Hoosac handily has won most of its games, including last night's rematch with Granby (19-3), a team Hoosac beat by 26 in late January.
Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik said he has not spent much time dwelling on the fact that the Hurricanes -- a Cinderella a year ago -- are among the section's elite programs 12 months later.
"We've been focusing one game at a time," Wojcik said. "We've got high expectations for ourselves based on how our season went, but we're taking it one game at a time. We focused on Greylock [in the quarter-finals] last week. This whole week, we spt working on Granby. And we'll see who wins tomorrow night between Sabis and South Hadley.
"To throw in the big picture of Western Mass title or the state or anything like that is way too much to put on these girls. The town has so many expectations for these girls that I don't even want them thinking about them. I want them focused on what we've got to do."
After about the four-minute mark of the first quarter on Tuesday night, Hoosac did pretty much whatever it wanted to do against Granby.
Granby jumped out to a 12-5 lead in the game's opening moments, prompting Wojcik to get a couple of starters out of the game to settle them down.
"I thought what happened was we had the energy from the boys game, and we came out all excited," he said, referring to Hoosac's five-point boys semi-final win over Renaissance, which preceded the girls contest. "We missed a few shots, and all of a sudden we played scared a little bit.
"And I thought we got a big lift from our bench -- Amber [Lesure], Fallon [Field] and Kailynne [Frederick] came in and boom, a couple of steals, kind of got rolling with it. The starters got back in and took it from there."
Field finished with 13 points. Maddie Ryan scored seven with a couple of assists.
And Hoosac's defense stymied Granby in a 31-4 run that spanned the first and second quarters and essentially put the game away.
Senior Rebecca Sapouckey led Granby with 13 points.
Hoosac's girls will play for their second straight sectional title on Saturday at the Cage at 2:15.