Western Mass Finals Feature Four From County
AMHERST, Mass. -- Berkshire County will be well represented on Saturday when six Western Massachusetts basketball championships are decided at Curry Hicks Cage.
And that is no coincidence.
After three months of beating up on one another, the county's teams were well prepared for the rigors of their respective Western Mass tournaments.
Six area teams advanced to this week's semi-finals, and four have moved on the title round.
In Division 3 boys, Hoosac Valley and Wahconah will tip off at about 4 p.m.
Hoosac Valley boys beat Wahconah twice in the regular season, the second time by just five points in Cheshire a little more than a month ago. Wahconah gets another shot Saturday afternoon with a sectional title on the line.
Their collision guarantees the county will have at least one team moving on to the state tournament next week. It could have as many as three.
The Hoosac Valley and Pittsfield girls finished first and second, respectively, in the Northern Division of the Berkshire County League. On Saturday, they will contend for a Division 3 and Division 2 title, respectively.
"We've played a really good schedule this year," Hoosac Valley coach Ron Wojcik said after his team advanced on Tuesday night. "The county schedule is excellent. Wahconah, Monument and Pittsfield, we played six times, and they are all really, really good teams. Wahconah could have been down here if they had another match-up."
Instead, Wahconah's girls ran up into the two-time defending Western Mass champion Hurricanes in the quarter-finals and dropped a 51-38 decision.
"I'm proud of our kids because I thought we went through a grueling schedule," Wojcik said. "And I think it's helping now. It's paying off."
Saturday's action tips off with the Division 4 boys and girls state title games.
At 10:45, Quaboag and Monson will meet for the D4 girls championship. At 12:30, Monson fans will hang around to watch their boys play Hopkins.
Hoosac fans also will have a double-header, watching the top-seeded Hurricanes (20-2) take on No. 2 Granby (22-0) at 2:15. At 4, the second-seeded Hoosac Valley boys (15-7) tip off against Wahconah (14-8).
The week of tournament action concludes with a Division 2 double-header. First, No. 2 seed Pittsfield (19-3) meets No. 5 Belchertown (14-8) for the girls title. Then No. 4 Tantasqua (18-3) takes on seventh-seeded South Hadley (14-8).