CHESHIRE -- Players form certain bonds with each other. Some are stronger than others, but when the right two people are on the court together, it can be fun to watch.
Mckenzie Robinson and Emily Rosse have shown that all season. It was another pair that carried the Hoosac Valley girls' basketball team in the Western Massachusetts Division III first round game on Tuesday.
Sophomore Amber Lesure and freshman Madi Ryan worked flawlessly with each other in the 49-36 win over defending champion Palmer.
"We've been playing since we were like [in the] third or fourth grade," Ryan said. "So we're just used to playing with each other, and we just know each other really well."
Fans haven't seen as much of the two together down the stretch because coach Ron Wojcik has wanted to keep certain people on the floor at certain times. The two proved they don't need to be on the floor together all the time to be in sync.
"We play together a lot," Lesure said. "We play AAU, we play a whole bunch of leagues together. We just work really well together."
When they are on the floor together, though, there's no fear. Both will drive the basket, pull up for a jumper, try a tough pass in the paint or launch a 3-ball.
They've had good nights individually this year. They joined forces in a big way Tuesday.
Ryan tied a career high with 11 points, including three 3-pointers, while Lesure scored at least 10 for the fourth time this season. It was the first time this year they've both scored in double digits in the same game.
To make it even more impressive, it was the first postseason game for each of them.
"I was really nervous," Ryan said. "It was a big crowd, and it was my first tournament game, so I was very nervous. I was just ready to play, though."
Wojcik has seen them more than anyone this season, and he's seen them against his first unit's press and trap defense during practice. The way the two played during Monday's practice had the coach concerned about his defense.
"They were really shooting the ball well and knocking a lot of shots down. We joked about it and I said, ‘Jeez, I hope Palmer doesn't do that Tuesday night,' " Wojcik said. "As it was, it translated over into the game. Both Madi and Amber really came up big, and I think it came directly from practice the day before."
It turned out just fine for the Hurricanes, and the second unit was just as important in that part of the game, too. If the Hurricanes are to reach the Curry Hicks Cage, it'll have to be just as reliable on both ends of the court again tonight. No. 7 Hoosac travels to No. 2 Hampshire for a 7 p.m. quarterfinal contest tonight.
"You're watching that game the other night, our best shooter whose got the most 3s on the year, Jen [Gale] doesn't make one, but you have all these other kids sticking 3s," Wojcik said. "I just think it makes us more versatile, and the kids have a lot of confidence with each other, whether you're first team or second team."
The last time the Hurricanes hit the road in the playoffs, they squandered a six-point, fourth-quarter lead and then lost in double-overtime to Mahar.
The Hurricanes certainly haven't forgotten how close they were and how the bus ride home felt.
"We got a taste of the cage, but we didn't quite make it there," Jen Gale said earlier this week. "So we're definitely looking to get there this year."
The essentials ...
Who:. No. 7 Hoosac Valley girls at No. 2 Hampshire
What:. WMass. D-II Quarterfinal Where: Hampshire Regional H.S.
When:. Tonight, 7 p.m.
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On Twitter: @NAT_DigitalJosh