Hoosac girls basketball opens season with win over Wahconah


DALTON -- Everything about the way the Hoosac Valley girls basketball team played was fast Thursday night.

Points, pace and fouls all came at break-neck speeds for the Hurricanes, as they began their quest for a second straight Western Massachusetts title with a 69-42 rout of Wahconah on opening night.

"It was a good start because we just have to keep up the intensity and show everyone what we're here to do this year like last year," Hoosac's Emily Rosse said.

Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik said he's trying to push his team to play even faster than it did last year. At times -- like the opening 3 minutes -- it worked great.

Rosse opened with a pair of 3-pointers, and McKenzie Robinson and Jenn Gale followed with one apiece before Meg Rodowicz's three-point play gave Hoosac a 15-0 lead with 4:57 left in the first quarter.

It was those kind of stretches Hoosac fans grew accustomed to during the team's Western Mass. Division II championship run last year. They were important then and are just as important now.

"It's important to get off like this," Robinson said. "Moving on to Drury [on] Monday, another huge game for us, home. It's huge. It brings our confidence up, but it changes nothing."

The lead grew to 26 midway through the second quarter when Robinson dropped in her second trey of the night, but then sometimes the Hurricanes' feet couldn't keep up.

The fouls piled up, and Wahconah found itself at the free-throw line consistently. The Warriors were shooting 1-and-1s just 33 seconds into the second quarter.

"The good news is we were aggressive," Wojcik said. "The bad new is we were over-aggressive.

"We want to play even faster than we did last year and so we've been kind of gearing everything that way. I think the girls got to recognize, and it's first time out and five days of practice, what it takes to do that. And it's more with the feet, less with the hands."

The opportunity was there to claw back into the game, but the Warriors couldn't make enough to bring the deficit to a manageable number for the second half.

Wahconah was 10 of 16 (62.5 percent) in the final 3:25 of the first half, which cut Hoosac's lead to 18.

"We were 14 of 24 [for the game], so not as great as I would like to see," Wahconah coach June Blake said. "I would have liked to seen us take a little more advantage of the foul advantage in the first half."

Hoosac found its feet in the first 3 minutes of the second half, which cut down on the fouls and led to a offensive resurgence. The Hurricanes had the lead back to 26 on a Rosse basket in the paint and again on a Madi Ryan bucket as the pace quickened in both directions.

"We ran the floor really well today, but we can always do better," Gale said.

Hoosac nearly topped its best offensive output from the championship campaign (73, against St. Joseph). Robinson, Gale and Rosse made back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter for a 66-33 lead, but the Hurricanes fell a little short.

"That's one of the things we wanted to do was not only on our pressure pick up the pace, but run more," Wojcik said. "I want to really put the points up."

To reach Josh Colligan:
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