Tuesday night, the Hoosac Valley girls basketball team found out it would be playing for an MIAA state Division III championship on Saturday. By the time the Hurricanes got to practice on Wednesday, they all knew when.
The Hurricanes will play Eastern Massachusetts champion Bishop Fenwick Saturday at noon, in the first of four games at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield.
"I didn't get to tell them in person," Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik said after practice on Wednesday. "A lot of it was on social media."
Thanks to an agreement with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the MIAA moved the state championships to Springfield. Four games will be played at the MassMutual Center and four games will be contested at Blake Arena on the Springfield College campus.
The state finals had been in the DCU Center for decades. But this summer, the Hall of Fame, the Western Massachusetts Sports Commission and the City of Springfield banded together to put forth the proposal that became the Road to Springfield.
The eight finalists will arrive in Springfield on Friday and be put up in an area hotel. Each team will practice where they play, so the Hurricanes will have their pregame practice in the MassMutual Center. There will be a Friday night banquet at the Hall of Fame, and each team will have a police escort to their respective game site on Saturday.
"I think it's exiting for the girls," said the Hoosac coach. "I think the whole weekend for the kids is going to be a special experience."
After the Hoosac-Bishop Fenwick game, three more games will be played. At 2:15, the Division III boys game between Bishop Stang and Oxford will tip off, followed by the Division I girls game between Bishop Feehan and Natick. The finale at the MassMutual Center will be at 6:45, featuring the Division I boys final between Cambridge Rindge & Latin and St. John's of Shrewsbury.
Over at Springfield College, the day begins at noon with Millis and Cathedral in the Division IV girls final, followed by the D-IV boys game between St. Mary's of Lynn and Maynard. The Division II girls, featuring Longmeadow and Watertown, tips at 4:30, followed by the D-II boys game between Concord-Carlisle and New Mission.
The Hurricanes won their fourth consecutive Western Massachusetts Division III championship on Saturday, beating North Berkshire rival Drury 51-40. Three days later, it was back to the DCU Center in Worcester, where the Hurricanes beat Central Mass. champion Littleton 64-37.
That win ended a three-game losing streak at the DCU Center. Hoosac lost to Archbishop Williams in last year's state title game and to St. Mary's of Lynn in the 2014 state final. The Hurricanes lost to Nashoba Regional in the 2013 state semifinals, also played in Worcester.
The Hurricanes are, however 2-0 in the MassMutual Center, after back-to-back wins over Bellingham in Division III state semifinals.
"We've done well at the MassMutual Center," Wojcik said. "We're excited to be in the final."
Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.