CHESHIRE -- The pressure from the Hoosac Valley girls full-court press can generate steals and transition baskets in a hurry.
Taconic looked to have it figured out early in the third quarter, but the Hurricanes used a 17-2 run to start the fourth, sealing the 71-41 victory Wednesday. A key to Hurricanes momentum to start the fourth was a buzzer beating shot by Emily Rosse off a missed free throw.
"[Hoosac] is going to press the whole game. When you get lazy with your press breaker you end up comitting turnovers. ...When we got tired, [the press breaker] started to not work," Taconic coach Matt Mickle said.
After leading 32-19 at halftime, Taconic was able to break the press and score on the interior with Nyanna Slaughter. Slaughter scored 8 straight points for the Braves, cutting the Hoosac lead to 6 to start the third. Slaughter finished with 18.
"In the third quarter I think the girls were playing poised and sticking to the game plan,"Mickle said. "Nyanna is a big part of what we’re doing here. She’s long, can handle the ball and finish. But [Hoosac] makes it tough to get the ball into her."
The Hurricanes regrouped after the Taconic run to go on a 13-4 run, ending the third quarter with 15-point lead.
Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik credited an adjustment he made to the full-court press for the runs. The Hoosac guards applied tighter pressure in the back court, while the wings pushed up, ready to intercept any long passes.
"It was kind of a blur to me," Wojcik said. "After our timeout [to stop the run], we talked about adjusting our pressure and getting in to the passing lanes. We were more agressive and started forcing some turnovers. Our offense feeds off our defense."
Jenn Gale benfitted from the pressure defense scoring 23 points including four 3-pointers to lead all scorers. McKenzie Robinson had 12 and Emily Rosse had 11 for the Hurricanes.
"The defense was kind of relaxing and staying in the paint more, so that opened up some outside shots," Gale said.
After pulling away in the second half Wojcik said Taconic provided the first real test for his team this season.
"I thought [Taconic] came out and played hard. It was a spirited effort and it pushed us to do something we have not had to do yet -- be in a tight game in the third quarter," he said.
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