Storm Surge: Hoosac Girls Roll to Sectional Title
AMHERST, Mass. -- If you think you can slow down the Hoosac Valley girls basketball team by taking away its leading scorer, the junior on track to score her thousandth point sometime in the next two or three games, you need to know two things.
One, you probably cannot.
Two, it wouldn't matter if you did.
The Hurricanes showed on Saturday that they have more than enough weapons to beat you any way you want them to.
Jennifer Gale led the way with 28 points as the 'Canes blew past top-seeded Sabis, 72-41, in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 championship game at UMass Amherst's Curry Hicks Cage.
Emily Rosse, the junior who came into the game 56 points away from 1,000, scored 17, including 10 in the second half, as Hoosac completed a dominating run through the Western Mass bracket and claimed its second straight sectional title.
After winning its three Western Mass tourney games by 32, 31 and 31 points, Hoosac moves on to the state semifinals on Tuesday afternoon in Springfield, where it will take on Central Mass champion Bellingham at 2:15 at the Mass Mutual Center.
For Gale, it was a triumphant goodbye to the Western Mass tournament after a stellar career. Gale burst on the Berkshire County basketball scene as a freshman only to be joined over the next two years by a talented crop of stars.
"It's nice to have someone score 1,000," Hoosac junior McKenzie Robinson said. "Having Emily come close and having all next year, it's crazy. You're happy for your teammate.
"But Jen, on the other hand, she couldn't care less how many she scores. She plays her game, and whatever she gets, she gets. ... We're all a very team-oriented. Jen's not selfish. Rosse's not selfish."
Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik echoed Robinson's sentiment.
"I think everybody on our team -- Rosse and all the girls -- they've become a really unselfish and generous team," Wojcik said. "Jen [Gale] or Rosse could average 20 on another team. They average double figures, but we have five girls who average seven or eight points.
"It's one of those things where they sacrificed their own points and maybe minutes at time for the good of the team."
With Sabis (19-6) keying Rosse in the paint, Gale knocked down two 3-pointers in Hoosac's first two possessions to help the 'Canes open an early 9-3 lead.
"That was huge early," Sabis coach Thomas Campagna said. "We had Janiyan [Sanchez] on [Rosse] early, and we were limiting any kind of touches she was getting. That was the game plan.
"But, boy, they hit three 3s early, and we had to get out of that, and that told the story."
Madi Ryan had the other triple for Hoosac, which went on a 7-2 run to start the second quarter and open up its first double-digit lead, 26-14, when Megan Rodowicz scored in transition.
It was a 12-point margin at half-time, but Hoosac opened the third quarter on a 9-2 run to open a working margin it never relinquished.
Hoosac forced four turnovers during that spurt, which ended with an entry pass from Gale to Rosse that the junior converted to make it 41-22.
Gale ended with four assists to go along with her 28 points. Rosse had a game-high 13 rebounds.
Sanchez scored 12 to lead Sabis.