NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — One team was coming off its biggest win of the season, while another team was trying to recover from its worst loss of the year.
The Drury and Hoosac Valley girls' basketball teams went in two entirely different directions on Monday, however, with the Blue Devils using a 21-1 run between the first and second quarters to bust the doors open on a 59-38 win at Bucky Bullett Gymnasium.
Drury's defense struggled in its last game, allowing a season-high 63 points on its way to a 16-point defeat to Pittsfield. John Franzoni's squad reestablished itself on the defensive end against the Hurricanes, though, allowing just a single 3-point basket to Jenn Gale in the second quarter. That pushed a six-point lead after the first quarter to a 20-point cushion at halftime, all but assuring a Blue Devils' sweep over Hoosac this season.
"Pittsfield played well against us," Franzoni said in response to his team's struggles in the last game. "Give them credit. They played very well. We focused the last week on our defense, we got some kids healthy and, you know, this is a big rivalry. Our seniors wanted to go out not having lost to them, and they accomplished that.
"We got great efforts from everybody. Ten kids played well tonight."
While Drury (6-2) regrouped nicely from just its second loss of the season, the Hurricanes (7-3) were unable to build on the momentum of a huge South Division victory over Lenox last week. Ron Wojcik's crew started the game off strong, using a trio of threes from McKenzie Robinson, Amber Lesure and Gale to open a 9-6 lead. Hoosac's defense left too many shooters open, however, allowing the hosts to reel off a 10-1 run to end the first quarter.
"We didn't play defense, that's it," Wojcik said of the difference between Monday's game and a seven-point loss to the Blue Devils in the first meeting a month ago. "You have to play defense. You can't give up 59 points in a game like this. You have to hold a team in the 30s, 40s and 50s. We've been giving up 28 points a game, and to give up 59 tonight is disgusting."
Drury forward Shannon Garvey was major factor in the Blue Devils' scoring 33 first-half points. She netted six of her game-high 16 points in the first quarter and was a menace all night long with her outside shot. Although she's one of the three tallest players on her team, Garvey showed her outside touch by making jump shots on five of her eight baskets in the game. The senior captain also added a game-high eight rebounds and now has reached double digits in scoring in five of the past six games.
"I think I'm a lot more confident now than I was the past few years, and I'm definitely looking to shoot it," Garvey said. "Danielle [Racette] and Ali [Tatro] have really been giving me some great assists, and I wouldn't be able to get open and shoot it without them. I think I'm getting more opportunities now. We have bigger players that can take up more space in the paint, so Coach has me playing farther out, and I think it's working."
It was working for a lot of Drury players on Monday actually. Eight different players scored in the first half alone for the hosts, who really took control of the game at the start of the second quarter. Racette, who was held relatively quiet beside her five rebounds and eight assists, started the quarter off by converting a 3-point play. Garvey then hit a baseline jumper before junior Mackenzie Bona sank one of her three baskets on the night to push the Devils' lead to 23-10.
Tatro followed with a lay in, thanks to a nifty pass from freshman Olivia Carlson, who was saving the ball from going out of bounds. Junior Emily Moulton, who finished with 10 points, four rebounds and two blocks, then cashed in on a nice feed from Racette before Bona swished a baseline runner to give Drury a 19-point edge. Gale then knocked down her second of three triples on the night, ending a 21-1 run for the Blue Devils and scoring the 'Canes only points of the second quarter.
"We said if they're going to try and double team Danielle or run a trap, then we know we have Shannon, we have Megan [Benoit] and Mackenzie Bona came off the bench and shot the ball well. We have kids that can shoot, so if you want to double team Danielle, she's going to find the open player. And we had the diagonal-x pass going against the trap that got Ali and Emily going.
"I tell you you have to give Emily Moulton credit. She's playing well and getting better every game. We have 10 kids that can play, and it's nice to put kids on the court that can all score. If you leave Shannon open, she's going to shoot the ball. She's worked hard, and she's playing with confidence."
Tatro had another solid overall game for Drury, scoring 11 points to go along with a game-high nine assists and six steals. She also scored four points during a 13-4 run to start the third quarter that put the game away for good. One of the Hoosac's biggest problems on the night was their inability to score easy baskets inside the paint. The visitors didn't get a two-point basket until late in the third quarter and only made three shots inside the 3-point line the entire night. In what was a stark contrast, the Hurricanes drained eight threes compared to none for the Blue Devils, while Drury made 26 regular field goals compared to just three for Hoosac.
"We're not aggressive enough inside," Wojcik said. "We had some post-ups inside. We had some people that did seal, but we either didn't get the ball there or post up aggressive enough and look to do something once we got the ball. You can't win games on the perimeter, and you can't win games with no D."
The one bright spot for the Hurricanes was the play of freshman Madison Ryan, who keyed a 12-0 run by the Hoosac reserves to end the game. Ryan scored eight of her team-high 11 points in the fourth quarter, while Lesure also chipped in by sinking three triples on her way to 11 points and two assists in the game.
The night belonged to the Blue Devils, however, who looked like they wanted to make Monday's game a statement one.
"We wanted to go out and prove that we were the better team," Franzoni said. "I think that was the key. Hoosac has done a good job this year. They have a good record. We could see them again down the road, but we said we wanted to go out tonight and go right after them and attack them for 32 minutes, and I thought the kids did a great job."
Both teams return to action on Thursday. Drury plays at Mount Greylock, while Hoosac travels to Taconic.
JV Game: Drury's junior varsity team defeated Hoosac Valley 41-8 in the earlier game. Freshman Molly Moulton led the way with 12 points and five steals for the Blue Devils, while Katie Toomey added a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Heather Morris also had a solid overall game, collecting seven points, five boards and four steals. Marissa Felter was the high scorer for the Hurricanes with four points.