CHESHIRE, Mass. -- The two-time defending champion and top-seeded Hoosac Valley girls basketball team defeated No. 9 Wahconah, 51-38, on Friday in the quarter-finals of the Western Massachusetts Division 3 tournament.
First-year Wahconah coach Liz Kay and her squad gave Hoosac a run for it money in the first 16 minutes of the game, holding a 11-9 lead after the first quarter and only trailing five points going into half-time.
"We just wanted to go hard [in the second half]," Kay said. "We wanted to attack as much as we could; they did a really good job of forcing a lot of turnovers and took us out of our game and turnovers are shots that we don't get.
"Our shots were down, and we really struggled to score and that's a credit to their defensive pressure."
The Hurricanes held Wahconah to only 12 points in the third and fourth quarters and put up 16 in each on their offensive end.
Hoosac struggled all evening to finish shots down low and from the foul line (11-20), which benefitted Wahconah in the first half.
"The first half we missed a lot of easy shots, we missed some 3s, but we missed a lot of free throws," Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik said. "I told the girls we had to clean it up, we have to finish our layups, we have to finish our free throws, and we talked about getting out and running in transition more."
Hoosac came out in the third quarter and was able to pull away from Wahconah by nine (35-26), but in the fourth, Fallon Field opened up with a 3-pointer and another fell for McKenzie Robinson that stretched their lead and sealed the win.
The Hoosac Hurricanes will travel back to the Curry Hicks Cage next week and face No. 5 South Hadley, who won in overtime Friday over No. 4 Hampshire.
"It's very exciting, we don't look at last year or the year before, we're a different team," Hoosac senior Robinson said. "We have to focus game by game, it feels great: four teams left in this division and us to be back as one of those teams."
For the Hoosac senior class, this will be their third trip to UMass in their four years with the Hurricanes.
"I couldn't be more proud of them, it's a great run, a great stretch for them and hopefully we will represent Berkshire County well," Wojick said.
Kay and her team finish the season with a record of 12-10.
"We've had great leadership and they have taken me in," Kay said. "Their acceptance of me and taking over the program and their willingness to adjust to what we want them to do as a coaching staff has certainly caused, not only a dramatic improvement, but you see the number of people here tonight and that's a credit to the kids that we have, they're great kids."
For Wahconah, Maddie Sprague finished with 16 points, Julie O'Connor, Lily Pudlo, and Ashley Zink had six.
For Hoosac, Robinson had 16 and Field had 11.