DALTON -- Lenox came to Wahconah Regional High School on Thursday desperate for a win against a Warriors team that had won four straight.
Wahconah may be the one starting to feel pressure now after a 45-41 loss to the Millionaires dropped the Warriors back to .500.
"We knew we've been in a big hole," said Lenox's Hayden Zinchuk. "Before this game we said ‘We really need this ‘W' so we can go on and build our spirits. This was perfect."
Zinchuk was dynamite, scoring 23 points and playing a key role in a full-court press that bothered Wahconah (7-7). The Millionaires (8-6) jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first minute thanks to that pressure.
The Warriors were still within a couple baskets throughout the second half, but never could string together the run they needed. Wahconah didn't have a field goal in the fourth quarter, instead relying on seven foul shots. The Warriors missed six foul shots over the final eight minutes.
"I felt like we were trading baskets with Lenox for a while," said Wahconah senior Gabby Lavinio. "Like you said, a lot of it was foul shots. I think in the end, some of shots weren't falling and that's just how it goes sometimes."
Lavinio finished with 16 points while teammate Shannon Lussier had 11. Liz Mitts added 11 for the Millionaires, who lost by a point to Monument Mountain a week ago.
"We did a lot of different things tonight, so I was pleased they knew where they were going and what to do," said Lenox coach Nicole Patella. "To keep a lead, not give it up, that feels really good.
The game-long press was one of those things, and it cost the Warriors possessions or forced them into rushed shots in the fourth quarter. Zinchuk seemed unstoppable at the other end, cutting towards the basket and finding her way to layups around the block.
Zinchuk had eight straight points for her team in the third quarter -- four were second-chance points -- and scored seven of her team's final eight points in the fourth.
"She loves to go to the ball," Patella said. "She works off the ball better than any other person I know in the county. She works for every point she gets."
Lenox now needs just two more wins to return to the Western Massachusetts Division III tournament where the Millionaires reached the finals last year. The Warriors must win three of their remaining six to make their first postseason trip in two years. Four of those games are in Dalton.
"We've got to move forward," said Wahconah coach June Blake. "We've got an entire week before our next game. We've got a lot of things to work on."
NOTES: Wahconah next hosts Drury on Feb. 7. Lenox plays the Blue Devils in North Adams on Monday. ... The Warriors shot 10 of 20 from the line while Lenox was 7 of 9. ... Lenox didn't make a single 3-pointer but Wahconah knocked down three, including one from Lavinio that pulled the Warriors within three points at the end of the third quarter.
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