CHESHIRE -- The Wahconah girls basketball team was just trying to keep its head above water in the face of a Hoosac Valley rally.
Maddie Sprague’s only points of the game did just that for the Warriors. The sophomore took a quick pass from Shannon Lussier in the paint and completed a 3-point play moments later to extend a two-point margin to five. The Hurricanes wouldn’t score again in a 38-29 Wahconah victory on Wednesday night.
"I was just excited because I was going to finish strong," Sprague said.
It allowed the Warriors (1-1) to pocket their first win of the season in a sloppy game that featured nearly 50 turnovers. Both teams struggled to make layups at Hoosac Valley High School.
Gabby Lavinio scored a game-high 13 points for Wahconah, while Lussier added 11. Hoosac (1-1) didn’t have anyone in double digits, with Meg Rodowicz scoring seven. The Hurricanes didn’t score more than nine points in any one quarter and trailed 6-4 after the first.
"I think we set offense back probably 10 years, both of us tonight," said Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik. "I was getting on the girls about our hustle and our press and our trapping, but really when you look at the scoreboard and they have 38 points, you really need to win that game."
Both teams looked rushed in the face of pressure, but the Warriors settled down first, scoring the first six points of the game. It took more than seven minutes before Rodowicz gave the Hurricanes their first field goal.
Hoosac took a brief lead to start the second quarter, aided by a Wahconah scoring drought that lasted nearly nine minutes. Lavinio ended that, keying a 9-0 run with five points in a minute. The game lumbered along, with the teams trading turnovers and layups that just rolled off the iron.
"I think we just needed to settle down," Lavinio said. "Hoosac’s playing great defense. They worked us up a little bit. I thought we settled down, we adjusted and we ended up finishing the game strong."
The Hurricanes came alive in the fourth, cutting into an eight-point Wahconah lead that felt like double digits. Celina Sistrunk’s bucket with six minutes left pulled Hoosac within two at 31-29. Less than a minute later, she had a 1-and-1 that could’ve tied the game. Instead, the Warriors charged down court after the missed foul shot, finding Sprague in the paint.
"Sometimes you’ve spent a lot of energy making that run to get back into the game," Wojcik said. "It’s the type of thing where we never really got into a rhythm."
Hoosac ended the game the way it started: in a drought. The Hurricanes didn’t score over those final six minutes, allowing Wahconah to hold on.
For the Warriors, who missed the playoffs last year after winning a Western Mass. title in 2011, it was a win even if it wasn’t picture-perfect.
"We definitely battled and we definitely came up with some big stops at the end of that fourth quarter," said Wahconah coach June Blake. "It was anybody’s game and we defensively buckled down.
"Yeah, it wasn’t pretty, but a W is a W."