Losses to Pittsfield, Lee and Monument Mountain may have shaken the confidence of the Lenox girls basketball team. But Hayden Zinchuk said Thursday's win at Wahconah Regional may have restored the confidence.
"Hopefully, we can build from there and start winning some more," said the Lenox senior, this week's Eagle Player of the Week.
Zinchuk and her Lenox teammates beat Wahconah 45-41 to end a skid that included 1, 6 and 9-point defeats. The Millionaires were in every one of those games until the end. The win on Thursday may have helped the Millionaires turn the corner.
"In the Wahconah game, we were able to go basket-for-basket. In other games, we started getting down, we let other teams keep scoring and we weren't able to come back with points," she said. "We were mentally tough."
Zinchuk finished that game with 23 points.
The regular season continues for the Millionaires tonight, when they travel to play at Drury.
There's never a great time to lose games, but Zinchuk said if Lenox had to lose some games, it was good that it has already happened.
"It's better to lose early on in the season," she said. "We need to win and build our momentum up for the tournament."
The girls basketball program has been pretty successful in Lenox for the past several years. The Millionaires are looking to get back to the Western Massachusetts Division III Tournament for the third straight year and the fifth time in the last six seasons.
Two years ago, the Millionaires were upset in their first game. Last year, Zinchuk and her mates knocked off Lee in the semifinals, and lost to champion Sabis a few days later. The Lenox senior said their success of this year really began in the Curry Hicks Cage last year.
"A lot of it has," she said. "After last year when we beat Lee and that was really big, I think our expectations for this year grew a lot."
The loss in the final has proven to be a learning experience for Lenox.
"We knew that we had to work really hard this year," Zinchuk said, "and hopefully, we could get back there and finish it up."
Lenox still needs a couple more victories to qualify for the Division III tournament. With almost a month to go, Zinchuk, her teammates and coach Nicole Patella have to be feeling a little confident about returning.
Like many Berkshire County sports teams, the Lenox girls are multi-sport participants. The success Lenox has had in soccer, for example, has helped the basketball team become better.
"I think it does. A lot of the same girls play with me in soccer and basketball," said Zinchuk. "I think the team camaraderie really helps. We know each other really well and we have a lot of fun, which helps us play harder and succeed."