WORCESTER -- The Hoosac Valley girls' basketball team creates offense from defense. It has all season.
That is until Monday night's Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Division II state semifinal contest. Nashoba found a way to break the defensive pressure, which turned into Hoosac Valley not creating much offensive pressure.
"They were outstanding at breaking the press and passing over our heads. That's my first time seeing that," Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik said. "I think the big thing is to really be able to get stops defensively. You could be missing offensively and keep the game close, but we couldn't do that."
The Hurricanes traditional leading scorers were held silent for much of the game. Nashoba held the Hurricanes to their third lowest point total of the season, winning 52-32 to advance to the state title game.
"I thought we had a few easy missed shots early that would have let us keep pace for a while," Wojcik said. "But once we dug ourselves that hole, we struggled more."
Emily Rosse and Jenn Gale have been the Hurricanes offensive spark all season long and especially during their magical playoff run. Rosse averaged 10.9 points a game this season, and in the four playoff wins she had pushed that number to 14. Gale's playoff numbers were fantastic. In the four wins, she averaged 12 points per game, highlighted by a 22-point performance in the quarterfinal victory over Hampshire.
Meg Rodowicz was left to carry the team's offense. She scored seven of Hoosac's 11 first-half points, and finished with a team-high eight.
Rosse scored her first points of the contest with 2 minutes and 14 seconds left to play in the third quarter. She finished the game with six points. Gale didn't add a bucket till 6:12 left in the game. She was fouled on the play and added a free throw, finishing the game with three points. Madi Ryan also had six points.
"It was really tough. They just kept beating me down and my shots weren't falling," Rosse said. "I didn't want to keep shooting any more. Coach said keep shooting and they'd fall eventually, they didn't though."
Rosse is at her best when the defense is solid and she is collecting rebounds under the basket. Nashoba used its height to keep Rosse away from the basket and control the basketball.
Nashoba outrebounded the Hurricanes 37-19. Rosse was held to six rebounds, she averaged almost nine in the regular season. She also collected just three steals after averaging four this season.
"We wanted to keep [Rosse] off the glass," Nashoba coach Beth McNamara said. "We knew she is a good rebounder. We said she was the one kid that we definitely needed to box out on and we did all game. That really slowed their offense."
McKenzie Robinson scored 10 seconds into the contest and the Hurricanes failed to score again until the two-minute mark.
"I think it was confidence," Gale said. "Just not having [shots] fall led to a huge breakdown."
It's rare for the Hurricanes to find themselves trailing by double digits at halftime. Hoosac was unable to hit shots in the first quarter, which translated into a large deficit early. The only time the Hurricanes hit double-figures in a quarter was the fourth.
"Why we didn't get going offensively tonight? I don't know," Wojcik said. "Maybe the environment, but you don't want to make excuses like that. But I'm not really sure.
"Once you dig a big hole like that you can be in trouble. It was 12-6 at the end of the first. It should have been 12-12, and from there, we just couldn't dig ourselves out."
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