Photo Gallery | PHOTOS: Hoosac Valley at Pittsfield girls basketball
PITTSFIELD — It was close until it wasn't.
In the opening exchanges of the Hoosac Valley and Pittsfield girls basketball game, the Hurricanes and Generals exchanged baskets as the game seemed to settle into a back-and-forth flow.
Then, in a jiffy, the Hurricanes made sure Tuesday's game wasn't going to be a game.
Behind a 15-0 run, Hoosac Valley opened up a double-digit lead after a quarter on the way to a 70-51 win under the dome.
"It comes from our defense," Hoosac's Kailynne Frederick said of the opening run. "Our defense is always the main thing that gets us up. At first, we weren't really making layups — we were making mistakes. But once we figured it out, we got our momentum like we usually do and things just fell into place."
It was a gut punch for the Generals (5-1), who had yet to taste defeat this season.
"If our two or three top players ... are shooting the ball well and we are rebounding well, everything goes along well," Pittsfield coach Joe Racicot said. "If it doesn't — now they found out exactly what happens when it doesn't."
Hoosac's press was the main story of the game. Forcing Pittsfield into over 30 turnovers, the Hurricanes (6-1) swarmed Pittsfield's backcourt whenever they could, and the transition buckets out of the turnovers went a long way in building up the lead.
"Overall, I was really pleased with the defense," Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik said. "I thought we put good pressure on the ball that led to the turnovers and we were able to get some fast break points out of it."
Hoosac was led by a balanced effort on offense. Fallon Field led the team with 16 points, Alie Mendel added 15 and Frederick finished with 12. For Pittsfield, only Peyton Steinman (game-high 25 points) made it to double digits.
"Kailynne has been getting better every game for us," Wojcik said of his center. "She's been getting stronger and [getting] more confidence in the paint.
"Alie has really been running the floor well. As soon as we get the ball she's been sprinting down there. The last few games she's been able to pick up quite a few points on the break. She hasn't been playing like a freshman."
The crippling run started after a putback effort from Pittsfield's Toni Satrape (6 points). Mendel started it, picking off a Pittsfield pass before firing to Frederick for the easy bucket. Mendel then canned a three to make it 7-4 Hoosac, and the Hurricanes were off and running. After Ellie Field (5 points) hit a layup on another Pittsfield turnover, Racicot finally called a timeout to settle his side down with the score 17-4.
"Every time we play these guys, they usually go on a big run sooner or later," Racicot said. "The fact it happened that early, it obviously set us behind the eight ball."
After one, Hoosac led 19-8.
The closest Pittsfield got to Hoosac the rest of the way was in the second. After cutting the deficit to single digits three times, Pittsfield once again got within touching distance at 29-22 on a finish from Steinman, but a Frederick putback and a three from Madi Ryan (4 points) pushed the lead back into double digits as Hoosac took a 36-23 lead into the break.
In the third, Aitken hit back-to-back baskets to make it 36-27, but again the Hurricanes responded. First it was Mendel from distance — she finished with three 3-pointers — then Fallon Field took another steal coast-to-coast for the finish.
To star the fourth, Fallon Field put the game out of reach for good when she opened with a 3-pointer, stole the ball on the next possession then sized up and canned another triple to make it 55-34.
"I think Hoosac triggers a nerve," Racicot said. "The kids just react the way they did. I hear other coaches when we play them yell out 'who are you, I don't know who you are.' Today, there were many times where I didn't recognize who I had on the floor."
The win is the 40th straight for Hoosac Valley in the Berkshires. The last loss for the Hurricanes in the county came against Pittsfield back in February 2013. Wojcik said that he didn't mention the streak that much in the buildup to the game, but afterward he took a moment to reflect on the run.
"It's a huge milestone for them, really," Wojcik said. "It's a testament to all of the players that we have in the program and that we've had in the program. It's just the way they work, these kids work really, really hard."
Fallon Field finished with a double double, adding 10 steals and five assists to her points haul. Frederick had six rebounds, Mendel finished with four assists and Ryan added four helpers. For Pittsfield, Steinman had seven rebounds and six assists. Allie Hunt had eight points and three blocks.
HOOSAC VALLEY (70)
Mercier 3-0-8, F. Field 6-2-16, McMahon 2-0-5, E. Field 2-1-5, Ryan 1-1-4, Mendel 6-0-15, Case 1-0-3, Barrow 0-2-2, Frederick 5-2-12. Totals 26-8-70.
Steinman 10-3-25, Murphy 1-0-3, Aitken 4-0-8, Quetti 0-1-1, Satrape 3-0-6, Hunt 3-2-8. Totals 21-6-51.
3-point goals: HV (Mendel 3, Mercier 2, Field 2, McMahon, Ryan, Case), P (Steinman 2, Murphy).