Miss Hall's travels to No. 1 Kimball Union Academy for NEPSAC opener

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PITTSFIELD >> The Miss Hall's girls basketball team just snuck into the NEPSAC Class C tournament, which gets underway today.

Their reward for the postseason spot? A trip to No. 1 Kimball Union Academy.

It's a daunting task for the No. 8 Hurricanes, but it's a challenge that the team is ready to face.

"I mean, it's going to be a tough one, obviously," Miss Hall's junior Grace Guachione, and Pittsfield native, said before practice on Tuesday. "But I think we have been preparing a lot, and we played games against teams that have given [KUA] a good game and we have held our ground. We are excited to get out there and show them what we've got."

The Hurricanes finished the regular season with a 13-8 record, while KUA went 19-4. The differences between the teams doesn't stop at just the record, though.

KUA is making its 18th straight NEPSAC Class C appearance while Miss Hall's is making it's third straight trip. Miss Hall's coach Brad Horth has one year under his belt, while KUA's Eileen Williams has been coaching since 1999, has more than 300 career wins, and has had her KUA side in the championship game of the Class C tournament since 2012 — winning it all in 2014.

But all of those differences aren't going to stop Miss Hall's from going up to Meriden, N.H. looking for a win.

"Yeah, it's kind of that little ol' Miss Hall's versus big KUA, a David and Goliath type of thing," Horth said. "Their coach, 300 career wins, I think she has 11 NEPSAC titles under her belt. — they are a powerhouse. Someday we'd love to get up to their level.

"[But] we are going to go up there, we are going to compete, we are going to give them a hell of a game."

If the Hurricanes are going to put up a fight, they know it will come from a complete team performance.

"I think we just have to make sure everyone is involved," Hurricane senior Sarah Willson, of Dalton, said. "We all also have to have good games, because when one of us is off we are all kind of off. I think working together is really going to be the key for us."

The game could be the last for Willson and two other Miss Hall's seniors, Indiana Ravenhill and Sophie Harcleroad. Willson said the thought of her finishing her high school career tomorrow was scary, but also exciting.

"Yeah. I mean, I kind of get nervous before every game, but I think it'll make us play harder," Willson said. "We always play for the seniors, that's been our thing for the last few games. I'm hoping it's not our last one."

Guachione said that coming in as the underdog does take some of the pressure off of Miss Hall's, and with Miss Hall's not knowing a whole lot about their competitors, Horth added that the lack of expectations is something he wants to key on.

"We are the underdog, it's where I like to be," Horth said. "We can go up there, we have nothing to lose. We don't have that KUA reputation where they are expected to go in and run us off the floor."

Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. The winner will play either No. 4 Proctor Academy or No. 5 Hampden Hall Country Day on Saturday in the semifinals. No. 2 St. Luke's School will play No. 7 St. Andrew's School, and No. 3 Lexington Christian will host No. 6 Wilbraham & Monson. The championship game is set for Sunday at Noble & Greenough.

Contact Geoff Smith at 413-496-6254.


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