Hoosac Valley girls hoopsters comfortable from 3-point range
SPRINGFIELD -- It's no secret the Hoosac Valley girls basketball team likes to shoot the 3-pointer.
The Hurricanes did it all last season, and have continued to hit from beyond the arc this season.
"We're always looking for our open threes," said senior Jenn Gale. "I mean, we're a 3-point-shooting team. We like to shoot them. We like to let them fly."
They've actually bettered their total from last year. Through their state semifinal loss to Nashoba last March (25 games), Hoosac made 117 3-pointers. It has 120 to its credit after Tuesday's semifinal win, which was its 23rd game.
The numbers are close, but until Tuesday's game, the fashion in which they have come has not.
The Hurricanes often relied on the trey last year to turn a tight game in their favor. For much of this season, Hoosac has enjoyed large leads, which has taken the pressure off the deep shot.
Those leads haven't deterred the Hurricanes from putting up 3-pointers. Entering the Western Massachusetts championship game, Hoosac was converting on 27 percent of its 3-point attempts. Up-to-date stats were not yet available.
"We don't really hold back too many people," coach Ron Wojcik said. "Everybody's kind of got the green light with it. At any time it could happen."
At times this season, like the opener against Wahconah and the Western Mass. title game against Sabis, the trey helped get the offense going and build those big leads.
With the exception of the Austintown-Fitch game in December, the Hurricanes haven't needed the 3-pointer to shift momentum in their favor much. They needed it Tuesday, and the confidence was there.
"We came here early. Coach wanted us to shoot early, which obviously helped us," McKenzie Robinson said. "Once again, we had to look for the open girl, take our time on shot, have the follow through and just be confident. If we miss, you're going to make it the next time. If you miss that one, you make it the next time. You can't give up on yourself."
The box score read seven 3-pointers for Hoosac against Bellingham. It would be easy to think the Hurricanes were lights out from beyond the arc. They shot well, but it wasn't without some kind bounces from the rims.
"Our shooting was a little rough today," laughed Meg Rodowicz, who had a second-half three. "But we were lucky to have them go in."
The first two to fall through after bouncing around on the rim were huge baskets for Hoosac at the end of the first half.
Robinson first put up a deep trey from the top of the arc as time expired on the shot clock with 13 seconds left in the half. Hoosac earned a turnover, and Amber Lesure spotted up in the left corner for another 3-pointer. The back-to-back threes stopped a 7-0 Bellingham run and took a three-point lead out to nine at halftime.
"That was so exciting. When Kenzie threw that up, I was like ‘Oh boy,' " Lesure said. "Then we came down again, and I made it. I've had an awful year shooting, so I was so excited that I finally got it."
Hoosac's final three that dropped in with some help was just as crucial. Gale found some open space on the wing, let it fly, and -- eventually -- it fell in for her second trey and Hoosac's final points. That basket proved to be the game-winner in what finished as a two-point Hoosac win.
"I don't want to say we got lucky," Madi Ryan said. "But they all seemed to roll in."
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