Girard Leads Drury Boys Past Mount Everett
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Sound second half adjustments to a shifty defensive scheme and an effective offensive sparkplug on Wednesday led the Drury High School boys basketball team to its second win in as many days.
Following a close first half, the Blue Devils (5-2, 0-0 North) used low-post passing to find open shots, pulling away from Mount Everett to win at home, 57-48.
Trying to claw back into the game, cutting their deficit to 49-42 with about a minute to play, the Eagles forced the Blue Devils into a missed layup and looked to move up court on the fast break. But Justin Girard stole an outlet pass intended for Malik Wilbon and sealed an effective individual second half performance.
“First half was really stagnant for our offense,” Girard said, who finished the game with 25 points. “Coach [Jack Racette] made adjustments at half-time, and we were able to penetrate and kick out to the corners, and I was able to knock down some shots and get hot.”
The Blue Devils began pulling away from the Eagles in the third period, when Girard found a shooting rhythm. He began the half by scoring the team's first nine points, including three consecutive jump shots from nearly the same spot in the corner, the last of which from long range, to give his team a 33-28 advantage with 3 minutes, 26 seconds to go in the frame.
One quarter later, a composed Drury offense gathered two offensive rebounds before Alex Heck pulled the ball out to get in its set. Following a post-entry pass, Kareen Beckett found a cutting Girard who finished a layup while earning a trip to the line, ending an 11-3 Blue Devil run for a 44-35 lead with 3:30 left in the game.
“We finally got Girard going on the baseline. Then, we had to get him going on the low post, so he's a player,” Racette said. “He's playing well for us right now. He's kind of becoming our go-to guy.”
The Blue Devils jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first quarter on six points by Heck, who finished with 15. Drury forced four turnovers during that span, before the Eagles mounted a run of their own to end the period.
Mount Everett's Kenny Krom (19 points) scored nine of his team's first 11 points and combined with Wilbon (10 points) to register all but two of its first half points, benefiting from ramping the game up to a feverish pace.
“We've got to play 32 minutes. We haven't done that yet. You've got to wear teams out a little bit. It's the second game, in the second half, we really dug in defensively in the second half. We've just got to keep getting better.” Racette said, in reference to the team's stretch of three games in four days.
Drury won for the second consecutive night, beating St. Joseph, 66-53, on Tuesday in Pittsfield. The Blue Devils play Monument Mountain at home on Friday, having lost to the Spartans earlier this season.
“It gives us some momentum, going into the game Friday against Monument. They beat us up here in the Gene Wein Tournament, so we're going to have to go to work tomorrow,” Girard said.