Hoosac Valley girls hoops' run ends in D-II state semifinals
WORCESTER -- McKenzie Robinson ran in for the lay-up and then looked up at the massive scoreboard inside the DCU Center.
The Hoosac Valley sophomore had just helped the Hurricanes rattle off five straight points against Nashoba in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association's Division II state semifinals. Unfortunately, Hoosac needed a lot more.
"I honestly looked at the scoreboard and I thought it was a closer game," Robinson said. "It wasn't, but I want to remember that score, keep in me for next year. Just to give me that extra hedge to get over."
Robinson and the Hurricanes saw their dream season come to an end against the dangerous Chieftains, 52-32, on Monday. Offensive struggles and the dynamic passing of the Central Mass. champions were too much for Hoosac.
"I thought they beat us at our own game, getting up and down the court in transition tonight," said Hurricanes coach Ron Wojcik. "They moved the ball well against our pressure. We hadn't seen anybody really be able to attack it, move the ball as well as they did tonight."
Hoosac (19-6) didn't have a single player in double figures. Meg Rodowicz led the team with eight points while regular-season leader Emily Rosse had just six.
Nashoba (22-2) had four players with eight points or more, led by 13 from Celia Burke. The Chieftains shared the ball incredibly well, pinging it around the Hoosac defense like a game of pinball.
"We had heard all about their press," said Nashoba coach Beth McNamara. "We just talked about maintaining our composure, finding the open player, making good cuts, getting through the gaps. We did that. My kids really handled it well."
Hoosac's offense struggled to find the same success. The Hurricanes didn't crack double digits in a quarter until the fourth and saw shots close to the basket fall away. Rosse didn't score until late in the third, while Jenn Gale -- one of the heroes of Saturday's sectional final -- was scoreless until the fourth.
"It just kept getting me down because my shots weren't falling," Rosse said. "I just didn't want to shoot anymore. But Coach told me to keep shooting and they would fall eventually."
The Hurricanes played without Tori Rumbolt, who broke her ankle in the Western Mass. final. They also lost Erika Lucia in the second half to a head injury.
Wojcik said Rumbolt would've helped, but he's not sure she would have been enough to overcome this Nashoba team.
"I haven't seen a team like this at all in Berkshire County," Robinson said. "They played really good and they gave us something we'd never seen before. They caught us off guard."
Robinson finished with four points, helping the Hurricanes close the game on a 10-2 run. It was something they needed far earlier, but Robinson said she was still proud of the first Hoosac team to claim a Western Mass. title.
"Hard work pays off," Robinson said. "These chances are only once in a lifetime, so you have to take them when you get them."
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