CHESHIRE -- Don't let this year's numbers fool you. Emily Rosse is a scorer on the basketball court.
But if there is one thing the Hoosac Valley sophomore cares about more, it's winning.
Her scoring numbers might not be off the chart the way they were last season, but that could be because of her defensive prowess.
The Hurricanes ran a full-court press for most of last season and Rosse was stationed at the top of the press. This season, coach Ron Wojcik made the switch to a half and three-quarter pressing defense. The biggest change came by putting Rosse at the back of the press.
Her point total benefited last season from being at the top of the press and receiving the fast-break points. This year, she is at the back of the press, while Meg Rodowicz and Jen Gale spend the majority of the time up top.
"I think her scoring may be down a little bit because more points are being distributed to the girls up front in our press," Wojcik said. "Honestly, someone like her, she doesn't care. She just wants to win games. But she is a scorer. We need to focus on her more, we've been doing that more with the inside game."
Wojcik is quick to point out the things that don't show up in a box score are what help teams win games. Rosse has been collecting those stats. She leads the team in steals, but Wojcik is more impressed with the amount of deflections she causes on the defensive end that don't turn into steals.
The Hurricanes have held teams to an average of 37.9 points per game this season. The most they have given up is 59 in a loss to rival Drury on Jan. 14. Nine times Hoosac has held an opponent to under 30 points.
"I feel like when we are in our press we're hard to beat on defense," Rosse said. "That's been the focus. Just being intense on defense. If we all take care of our [assignments] we'll be fine."
Rosse leads the team in scoring, averaging 10.6 points per game. Her season-high came in a victory over Monument Mountain on Jan. 22. She recorded 23 points in the win that clinched a trip to the Western Mass. tournament.
It's a far cry from the 42 points she dropped in a contest last season against Mount Everett. But this year, her game has been more well-rounded. According to Wojcik, she's distributing the ball better this season in addition to playing better defense.
"I've just been concentrating more on my shots lately," Rosse said. "I have just been thinking everything I [shoot] will go in."
Since the Drury game, Rosse and the Hurricanes have been on a roll. She's averaged 15.8 points per game and recorded a double-double in five of the seven games following the defeat. She had a triple-double in the win over Monument.
"Me and [Rosse] definitely work good together," senior Tori Rumbolt said. "Always being next to her on the court kind of gives this reassurance of if I don't get the rebound she will. Or if I miss this shot, she'll get the rebound and put it back in. I think she makes everyone feel better [when shooting]."
The Hurricanes have made a name for themselves shooting 3-pointers this season and being an outside-shooting team. Teams have adjusted to that lately.
Hoosac has seen more zone defenses over the past few weeks, leading to Rosse being more effective underneath the basket.
"[Our shooting] brings them out to the perimeter and there is no one inside," Rosse said. "It lets me be open for a pass or rebound."
Hoosac opened the season with a stellar defensive effort against Mount Greylock on Dec. 10. The Hurricanes gave up 38 points in the contest. A repeat performance tonight when Berkshire County's third leading scorer -- Lucy Barrett -- and the Mounties roll into Cheshire will clinch at least a share of the South Division title. A victory on Monday, in the Hurricanes' final game of the season, against Lenox will allow them to win it outright.
Lenox claimed the South last season by beating Hoosac three times. A win Monday will give Hoosac its third win over Lenox this season.
"We just have to execute everything that we've been working on in practice," Rosse said. "That's what is going to allow us to beat Lenox and win [the South]."
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