Berkshire County basketball power rankings, Week 8: Wahconah girls slip by Hoosac Valley
As teams enter the final full week of regular season play, a new edition of The Eagle's basketball rankings finds a shuffling atop the girls list.
A wild week of games saw year-long top squad Hoosac Valley lose a pair of conference games, before one team to mount that hill, Pittsfield, suffered some rough schedule luck and got tripped up by an equally-talented Taconic team. Hoosac Valley's lone saving grace of the week, though, a win over those Braves. Meanwhile, coach Liz Kay's Wahconah Warriors have left the growing pains of a new-look starting lineup miles in the rear-view and usurped the title of top dog in Berkshire County. The Berkshire North remains up for grabs, as Hoosac will have another shot at PHS, while the Generals can still knock off Wahconah, and Taconic has a shot to sweep the Warriors, all this coming week.
On the boys' side, things only grew stronger in the top half of the rankings. Taconic continues to run roughshod over the county, despite some strong quarters and halves by Wahconah, Lenox and Pittsfield High. Behind the Braves, Wahconah is firing on all cylinders and permanently bypasses Drury with a season sweep in emphatic fashion. Pittsfield is still seeking that elusive 10th win that dodged coach Brandon Mauer in Year 1 of his tenure, and there is ample opportunity for the Generals to prove worthy of a top three spot with a visit from Drury tonight and a trip to Wahconah still on the docket.
Elsewhere in the Berkshires, Gwendolyn Carpenter and Scott McGuire continue to lead the county in scoring, while the Greylock boys welcomed injured star Toby Foehl back with open arms and into a heated race for the postseason and the Berkshire South. He's now hit 52, 3-pointers in just 12 games.
1. Taconic (14-3, Last week: 1)
Friday night's second-half runaway and sweep of city rival Pittsfield High made 13-straight victories for the Braves. Not one of those contests has had a final score with a single-digit differential. The Generals played Taconic to a one-possession game in the first half, and Wahconah gave coach Bill Heaphy's squad some trouble in Dalton, but at the end of the day, Taconic's depth and experience from a state finals run a year ago prove too much, every, single, time. With Quentin Gittens back at full strength running the show, Quincy Davis liable to catch flame at any moment and Isaac Percy and Mohammed Sanogo a brilliant inside-outside pairing in the frontcourt, Taconic isn't looking to relent this position anytime soon.
2. Wahconah (13-3, Last week: 2)
If the Braves are to relinquish their post, it will take a major performance tonight at Taconic. The Warriors and coach Dustin Belcher learned some things while trying to come back and scare the Braves a couple weeks ago on their home floor. Since that loss, Wahconah has put together a workmanlike four-straight wins and solidified the No. 2 spot by cleaning off Drury by 19 at home. Kevin Huban continues to light up the county and has cleared 20 points in each of those last four games. Taconic held him to nine and the Warriors to a season-low 46 points back on Jan. 25.
3. Drury (13-3, Last week: 3)
Despite being swept by Wahconah, the Blue Devils own a big win over Pittsfield High, and the absolutely electric play of Reece Racette and Scott McGuire hold them steady at No. 3 in the rankings. While the Berkshire North is an uphill battle, coach Jack Racette's crew will continue taking each and every game with the goal of getting better and in shape for the upcoming Division IV tournament. Hunter Sarkis has poured in 28 3-pointers this season, and when he scores more than three points, the Blue Devils are 13-0.
Also keep an eye on both McCann Tech teams. The Hornets boys are getting dangerous as Jeremy Beany heats up, while coach Kathy Budaj's girls keep getting better and better with a return trip to Western Mass. now firmed up.
4. Pittsfield (9-7, Last week: 4)
5. Monument Mountain (13-5, Last week: 6)
6. McCann Tech (11-4, Last week: 7)
7. Mount Greylock (6-10, Last week: 10)
8. Lee (10-8, Last week: 5)
9. Lenox (6-11, Last week: 8)
10. Hoosac Valley (5-11, Last week: 9)
11. Mount Everett (3-11, Last week: 11)
1. Wahconah (15-2, Last week: 3)
All the Warriors do is win, and it has gotten to the point where coach Liz Kay's squad cannot be denied the top spot in Berkshire County. Wahconah has put together six straight wins since a loss to Hoosac Valley on Jan. 15, and that run includes a revenge victory over the Hurricanes, along with double-digit take-downs of quality foes in Pittsfield, Drury and Monument Mountain twice. While Maria Gamberoni has been ablaze, and the outside shooting of Noelle Furlong (30, 3-pointers), Morgan Marauszwski (22) and Victoria Gamberoni (19) has really opened up the paint, defense is the calling card of big blue during this ascent. Of late, Kay's unit has surrendered more than 40 points once during the six games, while also holding top-notch scorers like Lexi Mercier to three points, Brooke DiGennaro to 11 and Destiny Brown to five and seven.
2. Hoosac Valley (12-3, Last week: 1)
It wasn't a great week for the Hurricanes, but on the path to larger fish in the Western Massachusetts tournament, learning experiences can only help. Hoosac fell twice, stumbling on the final possessions in a buzzer-beater loss to Wahconah, and then getting handled down low by the power duo of Alexis Garvy and Julia Eline-Wright of Pittsfield High. The Generals handed Hoosac an 11-point loss and sent coach Ron Wojcik's crew back to the practice floor and the film room for some heavy work before they finish out with two more Berkshire North games and a traditional road trip to Foxborough.
3. Taconic (12-3, Last week: 2)
The Braves are the lone team in the lone team in the top four to not be able to get the better of Hoosac Valley. The Hurricanes completed the season sweep on Feb. 4. However, it was a single-digit game, and the lone blemish over a strong few weeks for coach Matt Mickle's rapidly gelling team. The Braves bounced back instantly with two wins in two nights, including in a packed house at the Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires for the War on the Floor with rival Pittsfield. The Generals came in roaring off the Hoosac win, but Taconic got 19 points from freshman Ahliya Phillips and held an absolutely scorching Alexis Garvey to 11 points.
4. Pittsfield (10-6, Last week: 4)
5. Mount Everett (10-6, Last week: 6)
6. Drury (10-7, Last week: 5)
7. Monument Mountain (5-11, Last week: 9)
8. Mount Greylock (8-8, Last week: 10)
9. McCann Tech (11-6, Last week: 8)
10. Lee (6-10, Last week: 7)
11. Lenox (4-12, Last week: 11)
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