WORCESTER — Stitches can wait. Riley Robinson wanted to celebrate.
Robinson left the court after suffering a bloody laceration above her eyebrow on a foul under the basket in the first quarter of Saturday’s Division 3 state final at WPI. But the junior guard returned to the Harrington Gymnasium floor to spark a game-changing run as Hoosac pulled away from St. Mary’s of Lynn, 66-50, for the program’s first championship.
“I just wanted to go in and play,” said Robinson, who, after being patched up with temporary stitches, contributed 9 points and 4 assists.
“I wasn’t really scared. I knew my team would have my back and they did. I’m proud of each and every one of them.”
Robinson returned to an ovation with 6:25 to play in the second quarter. She helped extend an 18-4 Hoosac run for a 35-24 cushion with 2:44 left in the half that would go unchallenged.
Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik said he was “scared“ and “nervous,” at the time of the injury, but minutes later, Robinson delivered.
“Riley’s the heart and soul of our team,” said Wojcik, whose program from Cheshire has appeared in five of the past six finals. “That’s a gutsy effort by that kid.”
In a rematch of the 2014 final, in which St. Mary’s prevailed, the Spartans (18-7) could not stop Hoosac (21-4) and its many weapons.
Lexi Mercier posted a game-high 21 points, including four 3-pointers. Freshman Averie McGrath and senior Alie Mendel each had 11 points, and Robinson posted 9 points and 4 assists.
“I was a little concerned coming into the game because of the way they play,” said St. Mary’s coach Jeff Newhall. “They play with a ton of energy.”
Hoosac locked down defensively.
Senior wing Pamela Gonzalez delivered a team-high 16 points and 12 rebounds for St. Mary’s, and Yirsy Queliz had 12 points, but no other player reached double figures.
“We were really concerned about the 3-point shooters coming in,” Wojcick said. “We knew Gonzalez was going to give us trouble.”
Greg Levinsky can be reached at email@example.com.