Mach Makes her Mark in Win over MountiesADAMS, Mass. — Erica Mach was in foul trouble in the first half against Mount Greylock on Friday night. The Hoosac Valley senior
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Ron Wojcik's club led the entire game but didn't fully seal its fifth win in a row until Mach and fellow forward Emily Rosse took control of the paint in the fourth quarter. The two frontline players wore the smaller Greylock roster down as the game went on, combining for 18 rebounds, 10 of which came on the offensive end, in the second half. They were extremely potent in the fourth quarter, combining to score 12 of Hoosac's 15 points in the frame, as the hosts closed out the contest on a 15-9 run.
"Between the two of them, they're probably averaging double figures a game in rebounds," Wojcik said. "I think it's something we try to take advantage of. We talked that we thought we could control the boards against them tonight. We usually go into each game with three keys, and I thought one of the keys was the offensive boards. I don't think we did a great job of that in the first half but in the second half, I thought we really got after it.
"Part of that might be wearing them down a little bit."
Up 20-13 at halftime, the Hurricanes (6-1) couldn't separate themselves throughout a back-and-forth third quarter. Led by Mach and Rosse, however, the hosts went on an 8-2 run at the start of the fourth to open what would be an insurmountable 14-point lead. Rosse (eight points, 13 rebounds) first grabbed one of her six offensive rebounds and scored on a putback to start the run in the fourth. After a lay-in by Mounties junior Alex Majetich (six points, seven boards, three blocks), Hoosac responded with another lay-in by Rosse off a long pass from Tori Rumbolt. Mach then came through with a putback of her own before sinking a pair of foul shots after being fouled on a point-blank look down low.
Mach scored two more buckets before the game was through to finish with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Like Rosse, she became too much to handle on the offensive boards, pulling down seven of them on the night. In addition to controlling the glass, Rosse and Mach showed an ability to set each other up with unselfish passes in tight spaces.
"We work good together," Mach said of her fellow forward. "Even though she's a freshman and I'm a senior, it doesn't matter. Even though we're the two tallest players on the team, we pump each other up for rebounding. It's about hard work and hustle. We work on that a lot in practice and me and Rosse go at it all the time. I push her around, she pushes me around, so we're ready when we play."
The two teams played evenly in the first half, although Hoosac had a clear advantage in one particular category: 3-point shooting. The hosts got three shots from behind the arc to fall in the first quarter, the difference in their 16-7 lead at the end of the first. Jenn Gale, McKenzie Robinson and Amber Lesure each swished shots from downtown, while Mach pumped in five points from the paint to get the 'Canes off to a quick start.
"We have a lot of kids that can shoot," Wojcik said. "I think we're at the point where some kids are just starting to gain some confidence a little bit. I tell them everyday that we've been seeing zones all of the time. We're fairly quick, so a lot of teams haven't played man against us. When they go to the zone, we're going to have to hit some outside shots."
The Mounties (3-4) hung tough in the second quarter, however, clamping down on the defensive end and holding Hoosac to just one field goal in the quarter. The Hurricanes lost Mach, Gale and Lesure to early foul trouble and then had some trouble with Greylock's 1-3-1 zone defense. If it wasn't for two free throws by Rumbolt with 3.7 seconds left in the half, Hoosac would have scored just two points total in the second quarter.
"I thought Greylock did a great job in their 1-3-1," Wojcik said. "We had a couple of little things in for it, but we really didn't execute well. Subsequently we struggled to score and when we struggle to score, we struggle to press. One thing leads to another, so I thought it really slowed us down. The other things was I had to pull Gale and Lesure out, who are my two best shooters, and I didn't have them in the second quarter."
Although they played outstanding defense in the second frame, the Mounties just couldn't score enough points to make the Hurricanes pay. Paul Barrett's team was undersized, but they did good job of getting to the hoop and then to the foul line. Greylock only went 4 of 9 from the charity stripe in the second quarter, however, leaving them with a 20-13 deficit at halftime.
"We had a strong defensive effort in the second quarter, but we didn't capitalize by scoring only six points," Barrett said. "Hoosac wore us down a bit, and that led to some defensive lapses in the second half. Rosse and Mach capitalized with some critical rebounds and put backs."
Sophomore Megan Rodowicz made two quick baskets early in the third quarter to get Hoosac's offense back on track, but Mounties point guard Kaylene Lemme kept the game close with a lay up off a steal, followed by a 3-pointer from the left corner. The Greylock senior finished with a team-high 10 points, four rebounds and four steals, while freshman guard Lucy Barrett added seven points and six boards. The Mounties' offense struggled to make shots all night, though, and it eventually caught up to them when Mach and Rosse took over in the fourth quarter.
Greylock next hosts St. Joe's at 6 p.m. on Monday night, while Hoosac plays at Lenox at 7 p.m. on the same night.
The game against the Millionaires sets up to a be a big one in terms of the South Division standings, with the winner earning the top spot in the division. With a five straight wins of at least 10 points or more, Mach says she likes the direction her team is heading a third of the way into the season.
"We're getting ready to play Lenox on Monday," Mach said. "If we beat them, we'll be in the lead in the South. We're definitely coming closer as a team and working together."