Sabis Girls Dominate Boards to Hand Hoosac First Loss

By Stephen Sports
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Last year, the Hoosac Valley girls basketball team rebounded from its first loss of the season with a 17-game winning streak, a Western Mass title and a berth in the state championship game.
If the Hurricanes want to come anywhere close to doing the same thing this winter, they will have to rebound in more ways than one.
Sabis International Charter School dominated the glass in the second half Friday night to erase a 15-point half-time lead and earn a 63-60 win over Hoosac Valley at the Spalding HoopHall Classic at Springfield College.
Kelsie Jacobs grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds and put back an offensive carom with 27 seconds left to provide the final margin of victory.
"The game was lost on the boards," Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik said. "At half-time, we had the stats, and the rebounds were even [23-23 Hoosac]. And at the end of the game, I think we lost the rebounding battle by 20. That's where the game was lost.
"We gave them too many second opportunities. Second and third opportunities."
The official stats gave Sabis a 52-36 advantage on the glass. The Bulldogs grabbed 20 offensive rebounds, nearly equalling Hoosac's 24 defensive rebounds for the game.
"That's something we work on every day," Sabis coach Tom Campagna said. "Kelsi's a great rebounder. She can leap. But Madison [Sinkfield] does all the work.  She does so much work down there that often times doesn't show in the stats. She just is able to open up space down there for Kelsi to do the work.
"I think all five of us -- that's the other thing we took from the Central [loss] is rebounding is a five-person game. And it's not just about leaping, it's about doing the work when the ball's in the air."
Sinkfield grabbed seven rebounds, and guard Jailena Sanchez had eight for Sabis. Jacobs and Sanches led the Bulldogs in scoring with 17 and 15 points, respectively.
For Hoosac Valley (8-1), Emily Rosse led all scorers with 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Fallon Field scored 14 despite battling foul trouble that sent her to the bench for good in the final minute of the game.
The three-point Sabis win was a measure of revenge for last year's 31-point Hoosac win over the Bulldogs in the finals of the Western Mass tournament.
At half-time on Friday night at Blake Arena, it looked like the 'Canes were on their way to another laugher.
Instead, Sabis (6-4) got the last laugh.
"Last year, we tried to play a half-court game and slow down their pace, but today, we prepared to come in and play at the pace that we played and kind of take it right at them," Campagna said. "You know we lost to [Springfield] Central, but we saw a lot of good stuff in the second half, and we're going to try to build on that -- playing at that kind of a pace."
Rosse said the Bulldogs' comeback came down to effort.
"I think in the second half, we just didn't give it our all like we did in the first half," she said. "We could have come out and pushed harder, and we didn't. They came out and pushed harder than we did, and they ended up winning the game with offensive and defensive rebounds."
Hoosac built its lead with a 19-8 second quarter that featured 3-pointers from Rosse, McKenzie Robinson and Cassidy McMahon. Hoosac opened the quarter on a 10-0 run that started with a Field free throw and ended with a pair at the line from Kailynne Frederick to make it 22-8.
Sabis scored the next six, but Rosse set up Robinson for a triple and then knocked down two of her own to send the Hurricanes to the locker room with a comfortable margin, 31-16.
Sabis erased most of that lead in the first five minutes of the second half.
Jacobs scored four, and Sanchez hit a 3 in a 9-0 run to open the third. Maddie Ryan (nine points) finally scored in transition to get Hoosac on the board three minutes into the quarter and make it 33-25.
But Sabis kept coming, making it a one-point game when Mariah Pendleton set up Sanchez in transition to make it 33-30 and tying it with 2:27 left in the quarter on a Sanchez triple to make it 35-35.
Hoosac managed to get back on top and led briefly by six near the end of the third
But Sabis went on a 12-2 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters to take a 52-48 lead when Janaiya Sanchez put back an offensive rebound with 5:40 left to play.
Hoosac responded with a 7-0 run that featured two Rosse baskets and an assist from Rosse to McMahon to give the 'Canes a 55-52 lead.
It was 60-55 with 1:30 left when Robinson had a steal and lay-in.
But Sabis scored the game's last eight points -- six thanks to offensive rebounds.
When Jacobs scored and was fouled cutting the lead to three, Jailena Sanchez grabbed the rebound of her missed free throw, and Janaiya Sanchez ended up at the line to shoot two. She made the first to make it a two-point game but missed the second. Pendleton got the carom, and Janaiya Sanchez ended up hitting a 3 to make it 61-60.
After a Hoosac timeout, the 'Canes missed a shot at the end, but Jacobs got the rebound. Jailena Sanchez was fouled and missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Jacobs got two offensive rebounds, putting back the second to make it 63-60.
Hoosac missed a shot with 7 seconds on the clock and fouled on the inbound. Jacobs missed the front end, and Rosse got the rebound with 4.8 on the clock as the 'Canes immediately called timeout.
Hoosac managed to get the ball into the front court for a desparation 3 that rimmed out as the buzzer sounded, sending the 'Canes home with a loss against a Western Mass team for the first time in 37 tries going back to Pittsfield's 42-30 win in Cheshire on Feb. 5, 2013.
"I knew they would come out hard," Robinson said. "No team takes it easy on us. It's 32 minutes against Hoosac Valley. Everyone wants to come at us. I give Sabis a lot of credit. They did come out hard, beat us to the boards. It was a great game played by them.
"What we can't do is put our heads down, and I think we did a little. That carried over a little to the lack of rebounds. But ... you've just got to keep playing the game, give it your all, just like Sabis did tonight. We learned a lesson. We've got to box out, and we've got to carry it over to the next game."
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