Greylock girls face tough Western Mass. hoops test in Hoosac Valley
Paul Barrett and the Mount Greylock girls basketball team expected a Western Massachusetts Division III title would have to go through defending champion Hoosac Valley.
Barrett thought or hoped, with Hoosac's 19-1 regular season, the Hurricanes would get a No. 1 seed and be on the opposite side of the bracket of the Mounties, meaning the two teams could not meet until the Western Mass. championship game.
When the seeds were released, Sabis claimed the No. 1 spot and Hoosac received a No. 2 and Greylock a No. 7, setting up a potential quarterfinal matchup between the two Berkshire County schools.
Before getting a chance to face Hoosac, Greylock first had to defeat No. 10 Mahar on Monday.
The Senators started out strong, outscoring Greylock 14-6 in the first quarter. But with guard Lucy Barrett heating up in the second half, the Mounties pulled out a 56-53 win.
Monday's opening round game was the first postseason game for every player on the Greylock roster. Lucy Barrett said the team's late game defensive stop was a new experience for the team, and making a big play in a tournament game will help the team's confidence moving forward.
"We were up two and we've never really been in that situation before; this late and in this close of a game," she said. "But we work on it all the time [in practice] and we got the big stop."
Paul Barrett added that he expects his team to be rid of its first-game jitters.
"We had our first tournament game jitters and all that stuff. I was hoping they'd go away after a couple plays," he said. "Once Mahar made a couple of baskets, we needed something to take the weight of the world off our shoulders. Sarah Stripp made a couple baskets that helped us stay in reach."
Confidence will be huge factor in Thursday's game against Hoosac. Greylock is 0-2 this season against the Hurricanes. Hoosac beat Greylock by 19 on the road in January, and won by 15 at home Feb. 11.
In the second meeting against Hoosac, Greylock held the Hurricanes to 52 points. Normally, that would be a solid defensive effort, but the Hurricanes kept Barrett in check, limiting her to just 8 points and the team to 37.
Center Jenna Benzinger led the Mounties with 12 points in the second matchup, but her work on the boards could pay the biggest dividends for the Mounties.
For the Hurricanes, they're looking to use their pressure to limit Benzinger's post touches, and force Barrett to handle the ball, limiting her scoring opportunities.
Taking away Barrett's scoring will force another Mountie to play a big part of the offense. Greylock could get a boost of confidence with the return of senior MacKenzie Flynn. Barrett called Flynn a defensive stopper, and Flynn is capable of making outside shots as well.
Greylock got their first taste of tournament basketball Monday, but on the road against a lively Hoosac crowd will be a different experience.
Regardless of where they were seeded, playing a tournament home game was exactly what Hoosac wanted.
"We get a quarterfinal home game and in the last two years we had to go on the road," Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik said. "We're excited and we'll come out and play Thursday night."
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