PITTSFIELD -- Matt Ward has his Miss Hall's School basketball team in the NEPSAC Class C playoffs for the first time. It would not be right to say, however, that the Hurricanes are just happy to be there.
"When I coached at Lenox with Cogs [former head coach Brian Cogswell], we got to the [Curry Hicks Cage] and he said everything from here on out is icing on the cake," said Ward, "and we like a lot of icing."
The cake is in the oven for Miss Hall's as Ward's team earned the fifth seed in the tournament and will play at defending champion Beaver Country Day School at 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon in Brookline.
"BCD won the tourney last year. That's the team every girl on our team wanted to play," said Ward.
Ward, who doubles as Miss Hall's athletic director, is in his third year as the head basketball coach. The Pittsfield native was a three-sport athlete at St. Joseph.
Beaver Country Day is the No. 4 seed in the Class C tournament and the winner of that game will play the winner of the game between top-seeded Kimball Union and eighth-seed Berwick Academy.
The championship game will be played on Sunday, March 2, at Noble & Greenough School in Dedham.
The Hurricanes went into their regular-season finale Monday with 13-6 record, the best mark in school history. They are coming off weekend wins over Stoneleigh-Burnham and Hopkins School. Stoneleigh-Burnham is the No. 3 seed and will open play Wednesday at home against No. 6 Lexington Christian.
Ward said he thought his team would be good, but this good?
"To be honest, no," he said. "I knew we had talent. I wasn't sure how this new talent was going to mesh with the older talent.
"Not only have the [younger players] done well themselves, they've made everyone better."
The Hurricanes don't have a senior on the roster. They start three juniors, a sophomore and freshman point guard Grace Guachione from Pittsfield.
Juniors Nanya Okeke from New Jersey, Summer Sutton from Hudson, N.Y., and sophomore Sarah Willson of Dalton are the team's tri-captains. Okeke plays the center spot, Sutton is Ward's shooting guard and Wilson is a forward. Also starting is junior Tiana Dyson of New Haven, Conn.
Guachione and Wilson are part of a large Berkshire County contingent playing basketball at the school on Holmes Road. Junior Savannah Romeo of Lee and freshmen Mary Catherine Balcom of Pittsfield and Gabrielle Keator of Lenox are also on Ward's roster.
It's the juniors who have helped lay the foundation for the Hurricanes' success.
"Four started as freshmen. They kind of got beat up a little," said Ward. "They're a huge reason we are where we are."
To reach Howard Herman:
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.