North Adams Transcript
ADAMS -- Ron Wojcik knew his team wasn't going to be the No. 1 seed. All he wanted was to play somebody new.
For two of the past three seasons, the Hoosac Valley girls' basketball team had been placed in the same bracket as rival Drury. Each time, the Hurricanes lost. This year, the only way Hoosac will see Drury again is in the Western Massachusetts Division II final.
Hoosac has drawn the No. 8 seed, which is lower than Hurricane coaches speculated, and will play South Hadley in the First Round today at home at 7 p.m. For that, Wojcik is grateful.
"I didn't want to play them in the first or second round," he said. "We've already played them twice. ... I just think that, once again, with a young team, I think there's a lot of mental focus that goes with it. I think seeing some of these teams down here that they hadn't seen or played against, they don't come in with any real preconceived ideas, where you have that mental block that we played Drury twice and lost to them twice.
"So I think it's a good situation all around."
Tonight's game will also be the first home playoff game for anyone on the Hoosac roster. Erica Mach is the lone senior, and she does not have fond memories of her previous playoff experience. In her freshman year, Hoosac lost at Drury, 34-28. In her sophomore year, the Hurricanes failed to make the tournament. Then last year, the Hurricanes traveled south to Monument Mountain and were beaten by 10, 50-40.
"We've always lost that first game in the tournament," she said following the regular season finale at home against Lenox. "So we're hoping we can go further than the first game."
Mach, though, is a big reason for this home game. As the only captain, she has embraced the role and has been willing to put in the extra work to bring the underclassmen up to speed.
In the finale against Lenox, she nearly spurred Hoosac to a share of the South Division title and a higher seed. She did it with what she's been doing all year -- solid defense and rebounding.
"That's her strength. Her strength is using her body and just pounding the glass for us," Wojcik said. "Hopefully some of that now is starting to rub off on some of our younger kids because we have her pound them every day in practice, really teach them about the physicality of it because the freshman don't really know that coming in from travel."
Top-seeded Mahar is awaiting Hoosac in the quarterfinals, should the Hurricanes get past South Hadley.To do so, Hoosac will have to effectively handle South Hadley's press and fast breaks. The Hurricanes spent practice Sunday working on both.
Hoosac may be without two players tonight who were hurt inFriday's scrimmage with Lee. Wojcik would not give names, other than to say they are two key players.