Hoosac Valley earns Hoophall Classic win over Longmeadow
SPRINGFIELD — Two years after squeaking out an instant classic against South Hadley, the Hoosac Valley girls basketball team returned to Springfield College on Friday night for the Hoophall Classic against Longmeadow.
This time, there was no instant classic. But the result was the same — a win.
The Hurricanes handled their business to remain undefeated on the year, turning a nine-point halftime lead into a rout before coasting out to a 65-54 win over the Lancers.
After taking a 37-28 lead into the break, Alie Mendel scored 13 of her game-high 21 points in the third quarter, as the Hurricanes (9-0) built up a 58-40 lead.
"The middle opened up for me," Mendel said matter-of-factly, "so I knew I had my drive down."
Mendel took home game MVP honors for her performance, which also included seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Skylar Case scored 12 points, all in the first half, and Lexi Mercier finished with 10. Riley Robinson just missed out on double figures with eight points, but did haul in 10 boards and swipe four steals.
"Definitely took control as far as going to the basket," Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik said of Mendel. "That's one of her strengths. We try to get her going to the hole with different sets in our offense and off the break. She did a great job taking the ball to the basket. She has great body control and physically gets hit and can get the and-ones, too. It was excellent."
In that third period, Mendel's first bucket came on a pass from Mercier to make it 40-30. She was fouled on the play, but missed her free throw. Instead, she corralled the miss, stepped back to the 3-point line and canned a triple to make it 43-30.
Mendel capped her third with a drive to the basket that made it 56-40.
In the fourth, Longmeadow kept fighting and made a late run at the game, bringing it within 65-54 with 1 minute, 8 seconds left on a pair of free throws by Jenna Joseph. That, though, was as close as the Lancers could get.
"I'm very proud of how we played," Longmeadow coach Andrea Enright said. "We struggled last night [a 54-38 loss to Pittsfield] and there was a point in the game last night where we kind of rolled over and we died. That was the challenge tonight — we play four quarters and we never get outworked — that was the challenge today, especially against Hoosac. We did not get outworked tonight, they showed up."
In the first half, Case helped keep the boat steady as the Hurricanes found their footing. After racing out to an 8-1 advantage on a bucket by Kayla Garabedian, Longmeadow rallied back and took a 12-10 lead on a Jordyn Subrick (19 points) putback. Shubrick added 14 rebounds, and was named Longmeadow's MVP for the game.
The lead though, was short lived. In fact, it lasted just eleven seconds before Robinson took an offensive carom and put it back in. In total, Hoosac led for 29:39 of action, while the game was tied for 2:05.
Case hit Garabedian for a layup later in the first to make it 17-14, then in the second she hit a 3 off a pass from Mendel on one possession, then came back down and fed Mendel for a 3 off an inbounds play to make it 26-15.
"She's, you talk about MVPs on the team, I know everyone looks at the scorers but Skylar has a steadying influence," Wojcik said. "All season long she's been awesome. She's been running the point, she's our senior leader on the court running the offense, running the defense, and she can step up and make big shots when she needs to and she did in the first half."
With the win, Hoosac improves to 9-0 on the year. Outsized on the interior, Hoosac lost the rebounding battle but kept it close at 51-42. The `Canes also had 23 offensive rebounds, leading to 14 second-chance points. Hoosac also scored 25 points off of 34 Longmeadow turnovers.
It was far from a perfect game for the `Canes, but Wojcik credited his team with fighting for 32 minutes against a bigger Longmeadow team.
"Give them credit, I thought Andrea's kids played 32 minutes hard at us tonight. I thought our kids withstood that even though it wasn't, I would say, our best offensive night or a stellar night offensively. I thought our kids showed some resiliency."
Mercier 4-1-10, Robinson 1-6-8, Mendel 8-3-21, Case 4-2-12, Field 2-0-5, Canales 1-0-2, Halverson 1-0-2, Garabedian 2-1-5. Totals 23-13-65
Rothstein 4-1-9, Joseph 4-2-10, Tyler 3-2-9, Shubrick 7-5-19, Minardi 2-0-4, Riordan 0-0-0, Levin 0-0-0, Cardaropoli 0-3-3. Totals 20-13-54.
Hoosac 20 17 21 7 — 65
Longmeadow 14 14 12 14 — 54
3-point goals — HV 6 (Mendel 2, Case 2, Field, Mercier). L 1 (Tyler).
Geoff Smith can be reached at email@example.com, at @GSmith_Eagle and 413-496-6254.
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