Jenn Gale and Hoosac Valley are playing for a berth in the state championship game.
Jenn Gale and Hoosac Valley are playing for a berth in the state championship game. (New England Newspapers file)

AMHERST -- Hoosac Valley girls basketball coach Ron Wojcik paused when asked on Saturday if he had thought much about the Hurricanes' next basketball game.

"A little," he said. "But right now, I just want to enjoy this moment with my team."

Wojcik's euphoria was understandable. He had just coached the Hurricanes (20-5) to their first-ever Western Mass. championship, a 47-35 win over top seed and rival Drury High School.

But on Sunday, according to co-captain Erika Lucia, it was back to work.

"Oh yeah, absolutely," she said when asked if the Hurricanes would be practicing Sunday.

The Hurricanes, who hoisted the Western Mass. girls basketball trophy for the first time in their history, will face Central Mass. champion Nashoba of Bolton (22-2) at 6 p.m. tonight in the DCU Center in Worcester.

The Chieftains and Hurricanes are similar in a number of ways. Both upset the top seed in their division in the finals. The Hurricanes defeated Drury, while Nashoba defeated heavily-favored Tyngsboro 56-52 in overtime.

Nashoba, like Hoosac Valley, will be playing in their first ever-state semifinal. Saturday's sectional trophy was the Chieftains' first in girls basketball.

And the Central Mass. champions are young. Nashoba coach Beth McNamera does not have a senior on her team.

Speaking of seniors, the bad news for the Hurricanes is that senior co-captain Tori Rumbolt is out for the rest of the tournament with a broken ankle. She suffered that injury in the second period of the Western Mass. title game.

But far from collapsing, the Hurricanes rallied from a five-point deficit at the time and went on to win.

Wojcik expects a similar effort tonight.

"These kids get hit in the face and they just get up and keep going," said Wojcik on Saturday. "They're a great bunch to coach, I'll tell you that."

To reach Derek Gentile:
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