CHESHIRE -- Two games into their quest for a second straight Western Massachusetts championship, and the Hoosac Valley girls basketball team is living up to the hype.
A 27-point win to open the season was followed up by a 50-19 win over rival Drury on Monday night. Both wins have come against North Division teams, but that's not the accomplishment it used to be.
"We started off a couple years ago. If you won against a [North] Division team, it was like a big deal," Hoosac's Meg Rodowicz said. "But now it's just kind of a standard."
A sign of a good team is being able to win in different ways. The Hurricanes have done that so far. Against Wahconah, they dropped in 10 3-pointers to build a sizable lead. But against the Blue Devils, it was the inside game that gave Hoosac a big cushion early.
Emily Rosse (10 points) had her team's first four points on a layup and two free throws. Madi Ryan found room in the paint for an easy layup shortly after for a 6-2 lead 2 minutes, 55 seconds into the game.
Then the Hurricanes went to the outside shot, where McKenzie Robinson and Ryan made back-to-back treys for a 12-2 lead before Hoosac ran away for good.
"Sometimes early in a game, especially in a big rivalry game like this, with the players being all nervous and hyped up, sometimes shooting isn't there right off the get-go," Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik said. "So I thought that if we could drive and attack the basket and get it inside a little bit, it might ease us into the game a little bit. Then as it went on, I mean, people got hot, obviously."
Hoosac made just four more 3-pointers the rest of the game. Rodowicz had two of them in consecutive fashion midway through the second quarter. Her second gave the Hurricanes a 26-2 lead and concluded a 24-0 run.
Drury had gone nearly 10 minutes between Emily Moulton's layup to level the score at 2 and Morgan Lamarre's baseline jumper with 3:51 left in the first half, which cut the deficit to 26-4.
The Blue Devils' offensive woes weren't solely their fault. The Hurricanes forced them into 19 first-half turnovers, and the high-pressure defense forced the Blue Devils to speed up their tempo, which they aren't accustomed to doing.
"They get you into that tempo, and not only do they turn you over, but [they] force you to take quick shots, or rushed shots," Drury coach Jay Meehan said by phone after the game. "It's not too often that you see that kind of pressure. It's hard to simulate that kind of speed in practice."
Trying to play at that uncomfortably fast pace played a big role in Drury's 3 of 21 shooting from the floor in the first half. Lamarre, Moulton and Heather Morris had the only Blue Devil baskets in the first 16 minutes. Drury finished the game 9 of 46 from the floor.
"I think Hoosac had a lot to do with that," Meehan said. "Their defensive pressure takes most teams out of anything that they try to do offensively."
Hoosac's defense has been the constant in the early going, giving up a combined 61 points in two games. The difference Monday was how much cleaner it was. The Hurricanes struggled to keep their hands to themselves against Wahconah, but made Drury earn its trips to the line. Drury wasn't shooting 1-and-1s until only 52.8 seconds remained in the first half. Wahconah was at that point just 33 seconds into the second quarter, an improvement of more than six minutes.
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