AMHERST -- The Curry Hicks Cage will have a decidedly Hoosac Valley feel to it Saturday afternoon.
Less than two hours after the boys clinched a spot in the Western Massachusetts Division III title game, the second-seeded girls secured a return trip to the championship game with a 71-40 win over No. 3 Granby on Tuesday night.
"Being back here feels amazing," Hoosac's Emily Rosse said. "We're coming back to do what we did last year and see if we can get it again."
The girls were courtside for the final tense moments of the boys game, which was immediately before. Despite their trying not to, they still got emotionally involved, and it showed in the first four minutes of the opening quarter.
As has been the case all year, the Hurricanes regrouped and were on their way.
Granby enjoyed a 12-5 lead before Hoosac got on track. The Hurricanes shut the Rams down for nearly the rest of the half, ripping off a 33-6 run to close the half up 38-18.
Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik has long said -- and the team has shown -- the pressure-style of play provides an ability to collect points in bunches. Hoosac saw that happen in the final 2:25 of the first quarter.
Meg Rodowicz's putback started a 10-0 spurt to finish the quarter that put Hoosac up 15-12. It was capped by a Rosse turnaround jumper with 6 seconds left. But it was Madi Ryan's consecutive baskets (a coast-to-coast drive followed by a breakaway layup after a steal and feed from Amber Lesure) that gave Hoosac its first and last lead of the game (13-12).
"Our defense works so that we wear teams out," Ryan said. "It started wearing them out, and we started pushing harder."
With Hoosac rolling toward its second consecutive Western Mass. final, it was a veteran leading the way. Rosse finished the first half with 15 points and the game with 27.
Hoosac has proven throughout the season that any player, regardless of age, can step up and be a key player. Rosse made sure the inexperienced Cage-goers wouldn't have to shoulder the load.
"It's been a great mix for us," Wojcik said. "For the freshmen to come in and not have the pressure of I have to score, knowing they can just fill a role" is great.
It didn't matter who handled the ball on the outside (McKenzie Robinson, Ryan, Rodowicz or Fallon Field), they all found Rosse in the post. She didn't miss much, hitting several turnaround jumpers, including one with 2 seconds on the clock before the first half expired.
"Coach just says run the floor, I can beat the big," Rosse said. "That's what I did tonight for my team."
"Her big girl was stepping to us on the drive and we just dished it off," Ryan said. "She made her layups."
While not being asked to do much, Field seemed to decide she was going to continue her postseason success. She was second for the Hurricanes with 13 points, which included five straight points in the second quarter. The first basket could have earned a spot on ESPN's nightly top-10 plays.
On one of her routine drives to the basket, Field was fouled hard and hit the floor hard on her back. As she was falling backward, she heaved the ball toward the ceiling, and it found its way through the hoop. She finished her first-half scoring with a deft touch on a baseline floater.
"We've kind of been getting on Fallon all season and saying ‘Hey, you can do this. Don't hold back,' " Wojcik said. "She hasn't held back the last two games."
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