CHESHIRE, Mass. -- A couple of minutes at the start of the third quarter turned the most anticipated game in Saturday’s Berkshire County Coaches vs. Cancer Showcase into the kind of game no one anticipated.
Hoosac Valley scored eight straight points to turn a nine-point lead into a 17-point lead and went on to a 66-37 win over defending Division 2 State Champion Longmeadow.
“The first quarter and first half was the kind of game I expected,” Hoosac Valley coach Ron Wojcik said. “We were fortunate. We came out after half-time, and we ran a couple of sets, scored out of them, jumped on them with six quick points. I think 11 went to 17 or something like that.
“And I think someone, maybe Lexi [Mercier] hit a 3, and now it’s kind of ballooned out. I certainly didn’t expect that.
“And Longmeadow didn’t quit. They kept coming at us. I told the girls, I think they did a really good job at the offensive end of the court.”
Hoosac Valley (9-1) got 20 points and 11 rebounds from Fallon Field, 15 points -- all on 3-pointers -- from Mercier and 14 points from Allie Mendel as it won its fifth straight game.
The victory also gave Berkshire County a 3-2 record in the 10th annual Coaches vs. Cancer event, where Taconic and Wahconah earlier earned wins over Athol and Granby, respectively. The Pioneer Valley contingent got Ws from Mahar and Hampshire over Mount Everett and Mount Greylock, respectively.
In the nightcap between programs that played in state finals of their respective divisions a year ago, Hoosac used an 11-0 first-quarter run to take a 15-8 lead. Field scored to start and end that run and had an assist to Mendel during the stretch.
The Lancers (6-5) responded, scoring on back-to-back possessions to narrow the gap to six points early in the second quarter.
But Kailynne Frederick scored in the post to start an 8-0 Hoosac run that re-established the Canes’ working margin.
Frederick finished with nine points and 10 rebounds against a formidable Longmeadow frontcourt.
Although 24 of Hoosac’s points came outside the 3-point arc, much of the rest came in the paint -- both in transition and in the halfcourt offense.
“Fallon does a nice job with her drives creating space,” Wojcik said. “And some of our other girls got in there. We were concerned with their size. We talked about it in practice yesterday. We said, ‘You just have to be aggressive and attack it.’ “
And stretch it with the long ball.
“If we can knock down shots -- and Lexi really has a nice stroke when she gets it going -- that’s huge for us,” Wojcik said. “Once you hit some shots like that, it spreads them out a little bit and opens up things inside.”
Hoosac went to the locker room with a 33-22 lead, but Longmeadow scored first in the second half when Jordyn Shubrick (team-high 15 points) scored in the post on the Lancers’ first possession.
On Longmeadow’s next possession, Skylar Case made a steal and scored in transition to ignite the 8-0 Hoosac run that turned the game around.
In the middle part of the quarter, Hoosac extended its lead by outscoring Longmeadow 8-5 thanks to a pair of Mercier 3s -- the second giving the ‘Canes their first 20-point lead at 49-29.
In the fourth quarter, Hoosac’s bench took over, holding Longmeadow to just two points and extending the final margin of victory to 29 points.
Hoosac is on the road on Tuesday to face Taconic.