'Hard-Working' Drury Girls Bow in Western Mass Tournament

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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GREENFIELD, Mass. -- The most emotional moment of Monday’s Western Massachusetts Division 3 girls basketball quarter-final came with 2 minutes, 14 seconds left when Drury senior Cassandra Crosier fouled out of an eventual 86-47 Greenfield victory.
“The way Cassie came out of the game, trying to take a charge, that shows who she is,” Drury coach Ian Downey said. “She’s a rough, tough girl. And despite four fouls and a 40-point game, she tried taking a charge.
“And I thought she did. I thought she took one. Those calls are 50-50. They’re going to go either way. But I think that really showed how those two managed the season, being seniors with a first-year coach.”
Crosier and classmate MacKenzie McGuire played their final games in a Drury uniform in Monday’s loss at the fifth-seeded Green Wave (20-1).
While Drury returns four starters and most of its offense, the legacy of the Class of 2018 left a lasting mark on the program Downey is trying to build.
“Coming in as a first-year coach, I feel like it’s always hardest on the seniors,” Downey said. “They’re the ones who only have one year to learn a new offense, learn a new defense, learn new terminology, learn the way that I want to play. And both of them were extremely good at making sure the rest of the team was taken care of -- not worrying about themselves, not worrying about how this is going to affect them.
“It is hard. The rest of the girls get the whole next year, get the offseason to work on stuff with their AAU programs and stuff like that. I knew going into the year it could be tough on the seniors, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
On Monday, Greenfield stormed out to a 22-2 lead behind a dominating post game from Raegan Hickey and Samantha Smith.
Drury actually held its own most of the quarter on defense but second-chance points piled up for Greenfield. Hickey ended with nine rebounds to go with a game-high 27 points. Smith grabbed 16 rebounds, scored 13 points and blocked three shots.
After absorbing an initial blow from Greenfield in the first quarter, Drury rallied.
The Blue Devils went on a 10-5 run that started with a Tessa Zoito free throw at the end of the first quarter and continued when Brooke DiGennaro (nine points) knocked down a 3-pointer to open the second. Alison Felix (team-high 12 points) hit a pair of free throws, Zoito converted a DiGennaro assist, and DiGenarro scored in transition as Drury trimmed a 22-2 deficit down to 27-12.
But that was as close as the Blue Devils came.
Greenfield quickly pushed its lead to 19 points when Kirsten Ward (12 points) hit a foul shot to make it 31-12, and the Green Wave led by 23 at half-time when Ward’s buzzer-beater made it 44-21.
An 8-0 third quarter run erased all doubt, pushing the lead to 33 points when Racquel Provost scored in the post to make it 62-29.
Even though the die was cast, Drury refused to go away, scrapping for every possession and making Greenfield earn its points deep into the fourth quarter.
“I thought, typically, in most of the games we played this year, we’ve been the hardest-working team whatever the score is -- whether we’re up by a lot or down by a lot or a close game,” Downey said. “It’s been the thing that I’ve gotten compliments about my team is how hard they play.
“And from a coach’s perspective, that’s the ultimate compliment. I don’t care how our offense looks or how our defense looks, when you tell me that my team plays hard, that’s the ultimate compliment.”
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