NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Whenever Scott McGuire Jr. has a big night, it usually means good things for the Drury Blue Devils. So it came as no surprise that a special career night for the junior forward helped lead his team to a big, home victory.
McGuire surpassed his 1,000th career point early in the action, and host Drury rode that momentum to a decisive 89-62 victory over the Hoosac Valley Hurricanes at Bucky Bullett Gymnasium on Friday night.
McGuire came into the action just 13 points shy of making history, and he wasted no time in reaching the milestone just before the end of the first quarter. Taking a great behind-the-back pass down low from teammate Reece Racette, McGuire managed to lay the ball into the net even despite drawing a foul, setting himself up for a three-point opportunity. The action was then briefly halted to recognize and celebrate the accomplishment.
“I couldn’t ask for it any other way, with our other captain giving me the assist for it,” McGuire said. “It was only up from there. I scored it, and then we went into the huddle and said, ‘Now let’s win the game.’ Coach said that was now out of the way, and then it was time for business.”
McGuire admitted that he was so locked into the action that he wanted to shoot his free throw before they stopped the game to celebrate the occasion. The Blue Devils like to get out and run on teams, and things had just started clicking at that point in the action.
“I was up and I didn’t want to stop,” McGuire said. “We picked it up defensively after that, and we got it out early and scored.”
McGuire ended the night with a game-high 36 points, and the Blue Devils (14-4) scored at will all night long. Relying on the same speed and ball movement that has carried the team all season long, Drury controlled the pace of play and then continued to pour it on late. As the game wore on and the victory became more apparent, the attention shifted back to McGuire’s milestone.
“Not many juniors score 1,000 points. So congratulations to Scott, and it was a great, great win for us,” Drury coach Jack Racette said. “It couldn’t have happened in a better way when Scott reached it. We knew he needed 13 coming in, even though nobody was talking about it, and he gets his points in transition anyway. We like to play fast and Scott is a great player, and we knew he would get it eventually. But it was great he got it in that way.”
Hoosac actually got off to a fast start of its own, building up to a 9-2 lead just minutes in following a three-pointer in the corner from Casey Meczywor. After Reece Racette set up Max Daugherty for an easy layup at the other end, Casey Meczywor again connected for a triple that helped keep the Canes (6-13) out in front.
“They came out and hit shots and we were down, and us coaches felt that we needed to handle a little adversity. We responded in a big way,” Jack Racette said. “Once we get out and run, that is where we want the pace of the game. That is where we are at our best.”
McGuire was almost immediately at his best, as he sparked the comeback that quickly got Drury back in the action. A steal and a spin move for a basket put him on the scoreboard, and McGuire then registered another steal and laid the ball off the glass for another two points. He then grabbed a pass from Daugherty and dropped a floater in from in front of the net that gave Drury its first lead at 13-12.
Both sides dug in and exchanged blows back-and-forth, bringing an 18-18 tie in the score before the Blue Devils exerted their control. McGuire was fouled on a 3-pointer and hit all three free throws, and Reece Racette then connected on two straight possessions, before assisting on a three-pointer to Cove Massey that opened a double-digit lead.
Drury’s next trip down the court led to the big moment many of the fans were anxiously awaiting, which came with just five seconds left in the opening quarter. Drury held a 33-18 advantage after McGuire sunk the free throw that completed his three-point play, and Hoosac never managed to bring things any closer than that.
The Hurricanes matched each blow in the second quarter to keep things from getting any worse and give themselves a chance. Both sides got out and running and began exchanging buckets, and Joe Delmolino’s triple just before the break pulled Hoosac to within 53-36.
But the Blue Devils raced out of the gate in the second half, putting together their best quarter of play. Drury spread open the floor and got everyone moving, then began working the ball in and back out to create easy scoring opportunities. Reece Racette stole a pass and broke for an easy layup to start the second half, immediately setting the fast tempo that ensued.
“Pace of the game is huge,” Reece said. “We have gotten away from it the last couple of games, and we focused on getting back to it and getting into our running game. That is where our best offense is. So once Scott got his 1,000th point done and it was out of the way, we were more focused on the game as a team. We were just clicking on all cylinders, and when you make shots, you look good. We made our shots, and they were making their shots too, but the pace of the game was huge.”
Unable to trim at the deficit any, Hoosac went into the final quarter still trailing by a large margin. Both sides went to the benches for much of the fourth.
The Blue Devils enjoyed a balance of scoring among their starters. Reece Racette had 20 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists, while Hunter Sarkis and Max Dougherty had nine points apiece and Obilio Rodriguez chipped in eight points.
Casey Meczywor led an equally-balanced scoring attack for the Hurricanes, as he finished with 11 points. Carson Meczywor added nine points, Joe Delmolino had eight, Izaha Stubbs closed with seven and Sam Larabee had six points and six rebounds.
Free throw shooting was a strong suit for both sides on the night. Drury made 20 of 24 free throws, while Hoosac sunk 9-of-12 free throws. It comes as little surprise that the junior who now has over a thousand career points was also perfect from the free throw line on Friday, as McGuire shot 11-for-11 form the charity stripe.
“Our coach definitely gets on us about that,” McGuire said about the team’s free-throw shooting. “We shoot about a hundred a day, to be honest. Coach likes to have us do it after we’ve done pressures and we are gassed, so in tough situations in the game we can go to the free throw line and knock it down with no problem.”