NORTH ADAMS -- The McCann Tech girls' basketball team doesn't remember much from its contest against Monson.
It was a forgettable performance, to say the least.
Monson topped the Hornets 59-26 a month ago. Now, No. 8 Monson, will host No. 9 McCann tonight in the first round of the Western Massachusetts Division III tournament.
"They definitely have a really good shooter that we didn't keep an eye on good enough last time," senior Kennedy Valois said. "And I'm pretty sure they're fast, so we'll have to keep up."
The last time the Hornets faced Monson, no player scored in double figures. This time McCann will be without leading scorer Mary Nguyen. She averaged over 13 points a game and was the leader of the Hornet offense. The team's second-leading scorer is junior Eileen Zajac. She averages five points a game and her season-high was 12 in a Jan. 15 win over Sci-Tech.
"We scored 28 points against Cathedral without Mary," coach Mike Dowling said. "I thought that was pretty good. The last three games before that we scored 37 [against Mount Everett], 34 [against Sci-Tech] and 27 [against Southwick] all with Mary. So we weren't that far off [from our average]. It's a big loss no doubt. But nobody is putting their heads down. We're going to go out there and play our hardest."
Monson hurt the Hornets with the long ball in the previous meeting. The Mustangs hit seven 3-pointers in the contest. Five of those came from Karyce Welsh. Fifty-one of Welsh's 127 baskets on the season have come from 3-point land. She's the leading scorer for the Mustangs, averaging 19 points per game.
Welsh isn't the only Mustang who can hit the long shot. Miranda Couture hit 21 3-pointers and Rachel Gordon made 12.
"We're just working on getting back on defense," Dowling said. "We're trying to focus on stopping [Welsh]. We know she hits a lot of 3s."
The Hornets were held to just two second-quarter points in the late January loss. Something they will have to change to hang with a high scoring Monson team.
"Just have to hustle more and play defense," senior Xiomara Colon said. "We need to make more layups and hit our foul shots, too. We should be able to keep hustling because we've been running a lot in practices."
The Hornets have called up a few players from the junior varsity roster in the past few weeks. Freshman Kelly Dobbert has provided a scoring spark for the team. She split time between varsity and junior varsity for much of the season.
Dowling is hopeful that youth will allow the team to keep pace with Monson.
"They are all going to play [tonight]. It's a really big game for our young kids," Dowling said. "We just talked and I told them: ‘Don't be wide-eyed and bushy tailed and scared like a deer. You're going to go out there and run for four or five minutes and play hard.' We're going to run in shifts I think. Everyone that is here [at practice] is going to play. We need the whole bench.
"If we get beat by 30, it's going to be our best effort we can put forward."