CHESHIRE — For some seven minutes in the first half, the Hoosac Valley girls basketball team played nearly flawless basketball.
The final 16 minutes were anything but.
The Berkshire County Hurricanes were held to 11 points in the second half by the Pioneer Valley Hurricanes, as Amherst withstood a 19-0 run and rebounded for a 43-36 win in a battle of two unbeaten teams on Tuesday night.
“We didn’t have the energy that we typically come out with,” Hoosac coach Holly McGovern said. “We recognized that early. We had a couple of fouls, not moving our feet to get into the right positions. As the game went on, we just weren’t able to execute a lot of our plays.”
Amherst’s Delaney Macphetres led the way with a game-high 20 points and 12 rebounds. The forward also had three steals and a block for the visitors. Audrey Bowen added 13 for Amherst, now 4-0.
Macphetres was the key player in the game, when she was on and off the court.
Amherst had jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead, with Macphetres scoring three of the nine points. But after getting inside for two, Macphetres fouled Alyssa Garabedian in the act of shooting. Garabedian made both free throws, but more important was the fact that it was Macphetres’ second foul. Amherst coach Ralph Loos took her out, so she wouldn’t get a quick third foul.
After Amherst scored four straight points to make it 13-4, McGovern called her second timeout of the quarter with 1:34 left, and out of the time out, things started to change.
Alyssa Garabedian hit a pull-up jumper from the right baseline and then, after getting credit for a steal, she fed Averie McGrath for a fastbreak layup with 25 seconds left. All of a sudden what was starting to look like a blowout, was a tight game again. Hoosac Trailed 13-8.
Those four points started the aforementioned 19-0 run. Amherst went 0 for 2 over the first 3:27 of the second quarter, turning the ball over six times. And by the time Loos called time out with 4:33 left, the 19-0 run put Hoosac up 21-13. McGrath, who led Hoosac with 13 points, had seven points in that run.
McGrath hit a 3-point basket with a minute left in the half, and neither team scored again, giving Hoosac a 25-20 lead at intermission.
Hoosac’s offense, which was only in synch during that 19-0 run, fell out of synch in the third quarter. Hoosac opened by going 0 for 7 with five turnovers and finished the quarter 2 for 10 with seven turnovers. Amherst wasn’t much better, scoring only six points and cutting the lead to 29-26 after three.
The teams traded hoops to open the fourth. It seemed that when Hoosac’s Hanna Shea drained 3-pointer with 5:48 left in the game, the Hurricanes were going to win. it was, however, only 35-30.
The home team only put one more point on the board, as Amherst outscored Hoosac 13-1 in the final 5 1/2 minutes to claim the victory.
“Anytime they’re going to clog up the middle like that, we’ve got to do a better job of locating and driving and kick, and then relocate again,” said McGovern. “It’s something that we’ve been harping on, working on a bit here and there. At the same time, we needed to do that tonight. We didn’t do it at all.”
One of the traditional Hoosac weapons did not appear Tuesday. The Hurricanes were just 2 for 13 from 3-point range, and passed up several other long-range opportunities.
“I thought a lot of our threes were stationary. I don’t think we did a great job with the drag and kick, and that’s just basketball right now,” McGovern said. “You have to be willing to drag into some gaps, attract attention and look for the open player.”
Hoosac was outrebounded 42-35 in the game. Amherst’s Bowen had nine rebounds to go with Macphetres’ 12. Alyssa Garabedian and Gabby Billetz each had nine boards for Hoosac.
Mares 0-0-0, Bowen 5-2-13, Klaes 1-0-2, S. Higham 1-0-2, Z. Higham 1-0-3, Adadedvoll 0-0-0, Macphetres 7-6-20, Cruz 0-0-0, Hastie 1-0-3. Totals 16-8-43.
HOOSAC VALLEY (36)
Boudreau 0-0-0, Billetz 1-0-2, Shea 3-1-8, A. Garabedian 1-2-4, Lesure 1-1-3, McGrath 4-3-12, T. Garabedian 2-3-7. Totals 12-10-36.
Amherst 13 7 6 17 — 43
Hoosac 8 17 4 7 — 36
3-point goals — Amherst 3 (Bowen, Z. Higham, Hastie). Hoosac 2 (Shea, McGrath).