Hoosac Valley Girls Wins Their Holiday Tournament
CHESHIRE, Mass. -- After playing five games in the first nine days of the season, the Hoosac Valley girls basketball team has the next nine days off and plays just once in the next 20 days.
No one has done more to earn the rest.
The Hurricanes continued their 5-0 start on Saturday night with a 59-32 win over Mount Greylock to capture the title of their Holiday Tournament.
"When you looked at the Western Mass rankings coming into this week, West Springfield was No. 2, South Hadley was 10 and Mount Greylock was 9," Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik said, referring to the preseason rankings on the website MassLive.com. "In three out of four days, I just told the girls, you beat 2, 9 and 10. That's pretty impressive."
The No. 18 team in those rankings, Wahconah, was the fourth team in Hoosac's gym this weekend. It dropped a 61-55 overtime decision to South Hadley in Saturday night's consolation game.
The outcome of the championship game was never really in question after Hoosac took a 19-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
But any hopes Mount Greylock (1-2) had for a comeback were dashed by a 14-0 run to open a 51-18 lead in the third quarter.
Emily Rosse scored a bucket in the post, put back an offensive rebound and had a steal in that run on her way to a 21-point night and tournament MVP honors.
Madi Ryan also was selected to the all-tournament team for Hoosac and contributed 13 points, two steals and two assists on Saturday night.
The Mounties were led by Lucy Barrett, who scored 14 points and a team-high three assists. Mount Greylock sophomore Jenna Benzinger had a game-high 19 rebounds.
Mount Greylock struggled against Hoosac's full-court pressure all night, committing 10 turnovers in the first quarter alone.
Wojcik was happy his team was able to play its usual style despite playing three games in four days.
"I know everybody in the tournament played back-to-back games, but it was a tough, physical game Wednesady with West Springfield," he said. "We used up a lot there.
"You have to have the legs to [play full court], and I was proud of the girls for really picking up the pace tonight and pressing and getting a lot out of it. I wasn't sure we were going to have the legs to press the way we wanted to, and I thought the girls did a really good job."
And Hoosac was playing short-handed without sophomore forward Kailynne Frederick, who is injured. Wojcik said he hopes to have her back for the Hurricanes' next game against Pittsfield -- for the record, No. 6 in those preseason rankings.
Mount Greylock on Tuesday gets another crack at Monument Mountain. The Mounties opened the season with a three-point loss in Great Barrington.
South Hadley 61, Wahconah 55 (OT)
Ashley Zink came up big in the fourth quarter to force overtime as Wahconah rallied from a six-point deficit.
But South Hadley's Lexi Gawron scored eight in overtime as the Tigers earned a 13-7 edge in the extra session.
Zinc hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter on the way to an 11-point night.
Her third triple made it 45-44 with just less than a minute left to play.
But South Hadley got a Marley Medina putback and a free throw from Sophhie Gatzounas (game-high 18) to again lead by four with 40.5 seconds left.
With 11.1 on the clock, Wahconah's McKenna McIlquham hit the back end of a two-shot foul to make it a one-possession game.
And after a missed front end of a one-and-one at the other end, Maddie Sprague (team-high 12 points, 10 rebounds) grabbed the carom. Wahconah pushed the ball into the front court and Zinc looked to shoot a game-tying 3.
When the South Hadley defense converged on Zinc, she dished to Kat Lewis, (nine points), who drained a triple at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
In OT, it was South Hadley's turn to do damage from behind the arc. After Wahconah started overtime with a conventional three-point play by Sprague, the Tigers hit 3s on back-to-back possessions to take the lead and never looked back.
Wahconah (2-2) travels to Hampshire on Tuesday night.