By Jordan J. Michael
TROY –– After a tremendous comeback victory in the Class C semifinals, the Berne-Knox-Westerlo girls’ basketball team laid an egg against Hoosic Valley in last Saturday’s final. The lopsided score, 56 to 19, surprised both sides.
The Bulldogs struggled mightily with shooting. The basketball seemed to be immune to the basket.
Hoosic Valley, the defending Class C state champion, had a superb defense that was hard for BKW to navigate. Also, with a consistent offense led by seniors Cassidy Chapko and Kimberlee Kocienski, the Indians looked like winners at halftime.
BKW had only three points at halftime as Hoosic Valley glided to a win at Hudson Valley Community College. The Bulldogs shot 11 percent and turned the ball over 25 times.
“You have to tip your hat to them for their great defense,” Bulldogs’ Head Coach Tom Galvin said of the Indians. “I think we had some nerves, and their defense made it very hard to shoot. You have to tip your hat.”
Galvin said that he felt like BKW was ready for the Class C final, preparing the team however he could. Hoosic Valley was the better side last Saturday, but the skewed score was a shock. The Bulldogs’ shots just refused to go into the basket.
Overall, BKW is a better team than what the final score indicated. It just wasn’t the team’s day.
“It’s not supposed to be that easy, but we’ll take it,” Hoosic Valley Head Coach Walter Dorman said of the level of competition in a sectional final. “We work hard on our team defense. The help is always there, and that makes a huge difference.”
BKW didn’t make a basket from the floor until senior Liz Harvey drove for a lay-up with 3:43 remaining in the third quarter. The Bulldogs scored zero points in the second quarter.
The first quarter had nothing to offer as far as offense. Hoosic Valley led, 6 to 3. But, the Indians’ cadence picked up in the second quarter.
“If we maintained our first-quarter intensity, then the rest of the game would have been different,” said Harvey. “They started hitting shots, and we lost some confidence.”
Harvey, BKW’s all-time leading scorer, male or female, took a seat with her teammates as Galvin substituted in the reserves with about a minute left in regulation play. The Bulldogs’ players looked very upset, and Harvey eventually pulled her jersey over her head.
“The second half was really tough,” Harvey said. “I have to give Hoosic Valley serious credit.”
Chapko, the Indians’ only returning starter, gave Hoosic Valley a 30-point lead in the third quarter after pulling up for a jumper, nailing a three-pointer, and making a basket while being fouled. She finished with a game-high 16 points, and was responsible for creating most of the Indians’ offense.
“I didn’t think it would be like this,” Chapko said of the irregular score. “We pushed the ball in transition and played great defense.”
Last Saturday marked Hoosic Valley’s seventh sectional title in eight years. The team has moved back and forth between Class C and Class B over the years.
“It’s always about defense,” Chapko said. “We’re always in the circle at practice.”
The last time BKW was at Hudson Valley Community College for the Class C final, was 2010, and Harvey and Mary Salo were ninth-graders. The Bulldogs lost that game to Greenwich, 65 to 27. Fast-forward three years, and the game against Hoosic Valley was similar in all the wrong ways for BKW.
“You can’t dwell on the negative, so we’ll focus on how we got here,” said Galvin on Saturday. His 286 wins are the sixth all-time in Section 2. “It’s like life,” he said. “You’re not going to get everything you want. It’s bittersweet.”
Salo, Harvey, Makayla McCormick, Sarah Abbott, and Angela Cunningham experienced their last game as Bulldogs’ players. BKW was 38-4 over the last two seasons.
Harvey has a lot of memories with BKW basketball, but she said that she’ll always remember the comeback win against Maple Hill.
“We pulled through that to get here,” she said. “It makes today easier to deal with.”