(Worcester MA) Hoosac Valley’s plan was to use their speed, force turnovers and make three’s.
Those three had carried the Hurricanes to a 23-win season.
Then along came St. Mary’s in the Division 3 state finals on Saturday morning at the DCU Center in Worcester.
Nothing worked for the team from Cheshire and they were buried by the Spartans from Lynn, 74-36, ending a seventeen-game winning streak.
Before the game I had a chat with someone who hadn’t seen St. Mary’s play. I told them that I doubted that Hoosac Valley had faced a player like Brianna Rudolph. (I had seen Brianna carry St. Mary’s past Archbishop Williams, 47-45, in the D3 state semi-finals.)
It didn’t take Brianna (Division 1 UMass Lowell commit) long to prove my point. The Spartans broke away from the Hurricanes in the first three minutes with Brianna (26 points) tallying eight straight – three layups and a jump shot.
That run in the first period gave St. Mary’s (24-2) their initial separation and there was no looking back.
The ‘Canes were able to stem the tide a couple of times but the lead kept growing.
The Spartans, winners of nine straight, had point runs of: eight, ten, thirteen, eight, and nine.
The only run that the Lady Canes from the Berkshire Country League put together was eight, late in the final quarter. Three’s by freshman Kailynne Frederick and Maddie Ryan keyed those consecutive points. Those were the only 3’s Hoosac Valley would get.
This game went from “still undecided” to “out-of-reach,” four minutes into the second half. During a five minute stretch, starting with a minute left in the second quarter, St. Mary’s outscored the Lady Canes, 21-2, on their way to a 53-19 advantage with twelve minutes of playing time left.
Jennie Mucciarone had a layup and three assists in the big run. Reserve Gianna Moschella added an old-fashioned three and two layups.
Softball has a mercy rule and I couldn’t help thinking that the need for those final twelve minutes to be played (with a team down 34) didn’t seem necessary. But it was played and St. Mary’s won, 74-36.
It was obvious early on that HV was not going to be able to force the Spartans into turnovers that would lead to quick baskets. Too many good passers and dribblers on the St. Mary’s team.
Unable to turn pressure into scores the Lady Canes fell back into a half-court defense that had no answers for the take-it-to-the-basket Spartans.
Senior Sharell Sanders ended up with thirteen points including eleven in the first half. The terrific point guard will be playing for Division 2 Caldwell College (New Jersey) next season.
Another Spartans senior, Jennie Mucciarone sat out the second period with three fouls but was big in St. Mary’s pull away in the second half. Jennie will play at Division 3 Tufts next season.
Brianna Rudolph (26 points) ended her Spartans career in wonderful fashion. She was part of a man-to-man defense that had HV going east-to-west in the front court most of the game. Brianna will be at UMass Lowell in the fall.
Sophomores Kayla Carter (10 points) and Gianna Moschella (14 points) would suggest that the well is far from dry at St. Mary’s.
Maddie Ryan paced Hoosac Valley with ten points.
There was never a lack of effort on HV’s part. They finish 23-2.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)