NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Freshman Scott McGuire’s big night pushed the Drury boys basketball team past Hoosac Valley, 63-50, Thursday night for a trip to Curry Hicks Cage.
Duke-North Carolina, Louisville-Kentucky, Drury-Hoosac, What do these three matches have in common? A burning rivalry that dates back centuries. It was only fitting that Drury and Hoosac would meet up in the quarter-finals of the Western Massachusetts Division 3 tournament.
McGuire led all scorers with an impressive 20-point night, including two big 3-pointers in the third quarter.
Hayden Bird added 17 points, 13 of which came in the second half. Reece Racette had 16, including 10 of 13 from the line for the second-seeded Blue Devils (18-3).
For Hoosac Valley (12-10), Colin Rousseau scored 15 points, and Izaha Stubbs pitched in with 13.
Every year, we are graced with two Drury-Hoosac match-ups, and on a rare occasion we get these two teams to meet up in post-season play. Fortunately for fans, this was one of those years.
Hoosac Valley knocked off No. 7 seed Pioneer in the first round of the tournament to give itself a chance at redemption against Drury after losing both regular season matches. Just like the last meeting, Drury was ready to go at the start of the game, going on a 9-0 run and forcing Hoosac into an early timeout. It was a good move from first-year coach Mike Larabee as the Canes were able to slow the game down and go on a run of their own to close the quarter only down two, 15-13.
In the second quarter Hoosac eventually took the lead, thanks to extra opportunities on the offensive glass from Austin Mendel and Keagan McGrath. This has been Drury’s kryptonite all season long and it would prove to be a problem here in the first half as the Devils went into the break trailing, 29-26.
“It’s been an emphasis for 21 games thus far: We are small. We have to rebound as a team,” Drury coach Jack Racette said. “We don’t have a legit rebounder, we have to rebound with all five guys, and we didn’t do that in the first half.”
As you would expect, Drury came out of the break with second half adjustments.
Freshman McGuire had a game to remember in just his first Western Mass tournament game. He scored 10 points in the third quarter alone, including two big 3s to give Drury its first lead since early in the second quarter. In a quarter filled with turnovers from both sides, McGuire was one of the only bright spots in the third.
“I was nervous at first, but my coach talked me through it,” he said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity, I’m a freshman. Usually they don’t play a lot, but I worked hard in practice and coach trusts in me.”
Drury finished the quarter up by three points and did not look back from there. Drury would wear this Hoosac Valley team down and continue the run in the fourth, totaling 10 straight points completed by an and-one basket from Reece Racette.
“We have to keep the games going fast,” Jack Racette said. “In the third and fourth quarter both times we played them, they started to not get those rebounds and we started to getting loose balls. We wore them down, and I think that has been the difference when we played them this year."
Hoosac Valley, the defending Western Mass champ, has nothing to be ashamed of as it fought hard and pushed Drury to the limits all game long. It was a physical battle, but it looked like the Hurricanes would run out of gas in the second half. In his first year as Hoosac Valley head coach, Mike Larabee has a lot to be proud of, including freshman Izaha Stubbs, who will be a big piece for this team in the coming years.
Drury will now face the No. 3 seed Palmer (20-1) in the semi-finals at the Cage next week. These are the top two seeds left in the tournament as No. 9 Wahconah knocked off No. 1 seed Sabis on Thursday night to set up a date with No. 5 Mount Greylock in the semis.