CHESHIRE -- The way the opening round games played out this year and last, the Hoosac Valley girls basketball team may just want to play all underclassmen.
Last year, Madi Ryan and Amber Lesure powered No. 7 Hoosac past No. 10 Palmer in a first-round game at home. Last week, it was Fallon Field who supplied a much-needed lift when the No. 2 Hurricanes were in a battle with No. 7 Mount Greylock.
"Depth on the bench always helps because it can be one person, it can be two people that can step up," junior Emily Rosse said. "Just different people every night that step up for the game."
Ryan (a freshman last year) and Lesure (a sophomore) were the only Hurricanes to reach double figures in the first-round game. Ryan led the way with 11, and Lesure was right behind with 10.
Field, a freshman, wasn’t alone in double digits last week in the team’s quarterfinal game, but she was the only underclassman, and it was her first tournament game. She finished with 15, while juniors Rosse and McKenzie Robinson had 22 and 12, respectively. It was more about Field’s timing than anything else.
Hoosac had established a five-point lead with 2 minutes, 17 seconds to go in the opening quarter, but it wasn’t a good five points. The long layover from the end of the regular season aided a sloppy start for Hoosac, and Greylock had just made consecutive baskets.
The freshman drove to the basket and converted for her first points and a 15-8 lead with 1:02 to play in the opening quarter. Then she hit a 3-pointer to push the lead to eight, and later a free throw for a 19-12 lead, before the quarter closed.
"Fallon’s an amazing player," Robinson said. "We were looking for that one player to pump us up and get the energy going, and it happened to be Fallon knocking down the important shots, not being scared."
When she came back in midway through the second quarter, she was at it again.
She found the hoop from inside again and earned a trip to the foul line. Then she hit her second of two 3-pointers, which gave Hoosac its first lead of more than 10 points, a 32-20 advantage, with 1:21 left in the half.
Her best basket came in the final minute of the half when she took the ball coast to coast and finished with a drive through the lane for a 37-20 lead with 38 seconds left. The basket didn’t mean much on the scoreboard, but it brought the Hoosac fans back into the game.
"Driving to the hoop gets me going a little bit," she said. "Try to open things for more of the team."
She said after she was "really nervous," but it didn’t show as she went up with the ball confidently time and again.
"I just had to play hard to get my team going," she said. "Didn’t want to disappoint anyone."
She didn’t, and if she continues with that type of performance, she won’t either. Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik wasn’t too surprised by her point total because of the numbers she’s put up during the regular season. She reached at least 10 points on four occasions, including a career-high, 15-point night early in the season.
"Fallon’s going to be a great basketball player. I’ve been saying it all along," Wojcik said. "For Fallon to come out in a game of this magnitude and her first tournament game, it’s just awesome."
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