Racette Sparks Devils to Victory over Lee
LEE, Mass. -- Danielle Racette had her best game of the season on Tuesday night. It was the kind of performance that helped the Drury girls' basketball team scratch a seven-year itch.
Racette scored a game-high 18 points, grabbed six rebounds, dished out eight assists and made four steals to lead the Blue Devils to a 47-37 road win over Lee. It was the Wildcats' first league loss of the year and the first time Drury had defeated Lee since Michele Boudreau was running the point for the Blue Devils back in 2005. Despite making it to a pair of Division 2 Western Mass. title games during that span, Drury has been unable to knock off Lee, which has been girls' basketball powerhouse for the past decade.
Tuesday's win also marked the first time Blue Devils head coach John Franzoni has won a game on the Wildcats' home court. The victory helps Drury (9-3, 4-2) stay within striking distance of Lee (10-4, 5-1) for the North Division lead and also clinches a tournament berth for the Blue Devils.
"We've had a lot of good games against them and some close calls over the years, but they've always come out on top," Franzoni said. "I'm just glad that our seniors got a chance to beat them on their way out. We're happy to make the tournament and still be alive for the North Division title. We've got some tough games, but this win definitely keeps our chances alive."
Drury was close to taking down the Wildcats the first time the two teams met this season, but senior Stephanie Young hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to lift Lee to a 38-35 win in just the second game of the year. Franzoni said turnovers were a big reason why his team lost that night, something the Blue Devils were able to correct the second time around. Drury had 25 turnovers in the first game, but cut that number down to 10 in the rematch. Only three of those turnovers were committed in the second half.
"Our three goals were to limit turnovers, limit their second-chance points and take away offensive rebounds and make them face a set defense on every possesion," Franzoni said. I thought we did a good job on all three of those aspects tonight. When you commit turnovers against Lee, that only allows them to get out and run and hurt you on the offensive end."
Young scored 27 points in the first game between the two teams this season but was held to just 15 points the second time around. No other player scored more than eight points for the Wildcats, who were held to under 40 points by the Blue Devils for the second time this year.
"It was just a great team effort defensively," Franzoni said. "I thought four different girls played well against Young, and we did a good job of mixing up our defenses. We felt we were the deeper team, and I think that was the key tonight. We received several good contributions off of our bench."
Another key was the play of Racette, who had hit eight 3-pointers through the first 11 games of the season coming into Tuesday night's game. Racette hit half of that number against Lee, however, draining four threes on the night, the last of which gave the Devils a 39-28 lead with about three minutes left on the clock.
After taking a 21-15 lead into the locker room at halftime, Drury stretched its lead to 12 points by the end of the third quarter. Lee rallied back to make it a six-point game in the fourth quarter, but Racette's triple and an 8 for 9 effort at the free-throw line in the final two minutes of the game sealed the victory for the Blue Devils. Racette was 4 of 5 from the foul line in the final quarter of play.
"Danielle Racette is a big-time player, and she came to play in a big game tonight," Franzoni said. "Every time they came back, Danielle just made a play to help us keep our lead. She either made a big basket or made a great pass. She was huge on both ends of the court tonight."
Senior center Shannon Garvey also chipped in with 10 points and 10 rebounds for Drury, while junior forward Emily Moulton added six points and seven boards.
The Blue Devils next host Lenox at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.
JV Game: Drury's junior varsity team earned a hard-fought 38-29 win over the Wildcats in the earlier game. Molly Moulton led the way for the Blue Devils with 10 points. Heather Morris was close to a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds, while Katie Toomey chipped in with seven points and seven boards.
Lee was led by Karli Retzel, who poured in a game-high 14 points.