Hoosac Valley Girls Hold on to Beat Wahconah
DALTON, Mass. -- All Wahconah girls basketball coach Liz Kay asked of her team going into Tuesday's game against Hoosac Valley was that it not leave the court with any regrets.
In the end, Wahconah may have had just one regret: that the game was not a few seconds longer.
Hoosac Valley's McKenzie Robinson broke up a desparartion try on an inbounds with 1.3 seconds left to seal a 55-54 win for the Hurricanes.
Wahconah (9-8) led most of the afternoon and led by three points with 1 minute, 39 seconds remaining before the Hurricanes (14-1) finished with a 5-1 run.
"I think we just decided that regardless of what happened, we're not going to have any regrets," Kay said. "And everybody basically made the decision to go forwards and not backwards. We were going to be the aggressors -- act and not react.
"We were going to take it to them so that we didn't have any regrets. Because we have walked out of several games having a lot of regrets about the mistakes that we make. I don't mind aggressive mistakes, but the 'back on your heels' mistakes are things we've been trying to eliminate for a while."
Hoosac Valley coach Ron Wojcik agreed that Wahconah met its goal to play more aggressive.
The Hurricanes, who have made a living on full court pressure, faced harder pressure on Saturday than Wojcik could recall in some time.
"They did a great job," Wojcik said. "They were aggressive. [2014 Division 3 finalist] has tried to press like that a couple of times, but it wasn't as aggressive as that. I thought [Wahconah] did a really, really nice job with that."
Fallon Field scored 19 points, and Emily Rosse scored 17 with 16 rebounds to lead the Hurricanes, who have won six straight since losing to Sabis on Jan. 16.
Wahconah got 16 points from Lily Pudlo, 11 each from Ashley Zink and Katie Dumas and 10 points and 12 rebounds from Maddie Sprague.
After taking a 31-27 lead into the locker room, Wahconah came out on an 8-3 run to build its biggest margin of the day when Sprague set up Zink to make it 39-30.
But on Hoosac's next trip, Robinson fed Field for a 3-pointer that sparked an 11-3 run for the 'Canes. Field hit three more 3s in that stretch and scored 15 points in the third period to get Hoosac back in the game.
The Hurricanes took their first lead of the game on a Kailynne Frederick bucket with an asist from Madi Ryan with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
But Wahconah regained the lead early in the fourth on a Sprague putback to make it 49-48.
After a pair of Ryan free throws swung the lead back to Hoosac, Wahconah scored four straight on a Sprague drive down the lane and a Pudlo bucket in the post to make it 53-50.
Rosse -- who scored scored 14 with 14 rebounds in the first half but went to the bench with her fourth foul in the third quarter -- erased Wahconah's last lead with a triple from the left wing corner with 1:07 on the clock.
"You never know what time to [put a player back in the game]," Wojcik said. "I waited until about halfway through the fourth, thinking she could maybe make a couple of big plays for us, and she made that big 3.
"I basically told her, 'Don't go for any blocks. Just rebound. ... And contribute what you can on the offensive glass.' And she did a great job staying in the game."
After a Wahconah turnover at the top of the key with about 40 seconds left, Ryan drew a foul and converted both ends of a one-and-one to give Hoosac a 55-53 lead.
Wahconah called timeout with 21.8 seconds on the game clock and 18 on the shot clock. Kay later said she had no intention of trying to hold for the last shot and told her players to stay with the aggressive style that worked so well all game.
Wahconah drew a foul with 18.2 on the clock but made just one of two free throws.
But it got a second chance when Hoosac missed a front end of a one-and-one with 14.3 seconds left. Dumas grabbed the rebound, and Wahconah pushed the ball into the front court. It tried to pound the ball into the post, but it was tipped out of bounds by Hoosac, giving Wahconah an inbounds try under its basket with 1.3 seconds left.
The pass out to the top of the key was tipped by Robinson, and Field grabbed the loose ball to touch off a celebration by the 'Canes.
Despite having pushed the 2014 state finalists harder than any Berkshire County team has done in two years, no one on the Wahconah side was doing any celebrating.
"We just want our 10th win," Kay said. "The kids aren't treating it like a moral victory. They're upset. They're crying. To them, it isn't about, 'We played them close.'
"To them, it's that we can compete with anybody. And it's taken us a long time to get there."