AMHERST, Mass. -- The Drury boys basketball team returned to glory with a 65-49 win over No. 1-seeded Ware in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 Championship Game Saturday afternoon at the Curry Hicks Cage.
The Blue Devils (19-5) started the game off a bit shaky, going down 9-2 early on. After cooling their nerves they finally stated to get into their offense that got them to this point with Reece Racette finding Obilio Rodriguez under the hoop on two straight possessions. Drury then knocked down two 3-pointers and took a 10-9 lead over Ware, forcing it into a timeout. Scott McGuire then knocked down a step back 3, launching Drury into a 13-1 run to close the quarter up, 21-12.
McGuire finished the game with a team-high 23 points, While Senior teammate Reece Racette scored 16 and Hunter Sarkis 11.
As soon as Drury took that first lead of the game, it never looked back sparking that offensive run with some solid defense. Arguably the Blue Devils' best defensive outing this season came at the perfect time as they were able to force Ware into easy turnovers and tough contested shots throughout the game.
“We thought we could matchup with them well in a man-to-man set. We did a great job stopping [Dillon] Slattery.” Drury head coach Jack Racette said. "He was their guy, and he had to work for everything. When you take a good scorer out of the game like that it's huge.”
Slattery has been averaging 20 points a game this season and Drury was able to hold him to just four on Saturday. Drury continued to ramp up the pressure and take a comfortable 33-22 lead into the break.
The third quarter proved to be the final nail in coffin for Ware as it continued to struggle on the offensive end.
For Drury it was Hunter Sarkis who played a big role in finishing the game off. About midway through the quarter, Sarkis knocked down a big 3 to give Drury its biggest lead of the game at 16. After a timeout from Ware, Sarkis came right back again with another three to push the lead to 19. With the usual points from Mcguire and Jack Racette Drury knew they were going to have to rely on others to score.
“Those back-to-back 3s from Sarkis were daggers," he said. "He was 0-for-6 last night, but shooters keep shooting and he had a great game for us tonight.”
Drury continued to “Ware” its opponent down, getting hustle plays on missed shots and really out working them on the glass.
“Rebounding is our number one concern because we’re not big, but once we get it we get out and run and finish, So our bigs were able to find bodies and wear them them down, I definitely think we wore them down,” Racette said.
In the fourth quarter, Drury just moved the ball around, working the clock as it ticked away to their first title since 1990. This was only the Blue Devils' first appearance since 2008, but this time they were able to get the job done.
“I’ve been here a lot of times and it's not easy to get the accomplishments these guys put forward especially during the offseason," Racette said.
“You have to be a little lucky. Last year we got nabbed at the wire to Pioneer, and they went on to win it, but this year we get them in overtime so it's a nice little payback.”
Drury will now go on to the state semi-finals on Tuesday against Worcester Tech at American International College in Springfield.
Photos from this game here.