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Moorman, Bond Lead Drury to State Quarter-Final

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Sports - Print
08:57PM / Wednesday, March 06, 2024


NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – Sam Moorman had a double-double, and Jorge Bond scored 21 points Wednesday to lead the Drury boys basketball team to a 57-51 win over Rockport in the Division 5 State Tournament Sweet 16.
 
Moorman scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds for the sixth-seeded Blue Devils, who earned the right to go to No. 3 Pioneer Valley Regional in the state quarter-finals.
 
Moorman was a force early on, scoring six points in the low post and pulling down five carroms to help Drury take an 11-6 lead in the first eight minutes.
 
“We watch film,” Moorman said. “We know they’re vulnerable to the high-low, so we just to attack them.
 
“[My teammates] can trust me getting the ball down there. They know I can go to work. And they just proved it tonight.”
 
The game’s first points came on a feed from Dante Dillard (nine points, six rebounds, two assists) to Moorman underneath, and Drury took a 4-0 lead when Moorman converted an assist from Connor Hinkell.
 
“Early on, we got the ball right where we wanted to, got some easy baskets for Sammy and got him going, and I think that was the key,” Drury coach Jack Racette said. “We got off to a good start. Hinkell made some good passes.
 
“But we went a stretch in that first half … Oh, my God, we turned it over a bunch of times. We needed to get to half-time.”
 
Six Drury turnovers in the second quarter helped Rockport pull within one point when Brooks Slingluff (10 points) scored in the post to make it 17-16 with 43 seconds left.
 
But Bond dropped in his third 3-pointer of the quarter to give Drury a 20-16 lead at half-time.
 
“I thought Jorge really stepped up his game tonight,” Racette said. “He made some big shots. And defensively, I thought he did a great job on [Edward Merz]. He was their go-to guy.
 
“He got loose a couple of times, and I think Sammy’s presence in there makes a difference. He’s getting by Jorge because we’re defending the 3, and then you’ve got to deal with the big guy. So, it was a good team defensive effort.”
 
Merz finished with a team-high 20 points for the 11th-seeded Vikings (13-9).
 
It was still a two-possession game through three quarters. Moorman scored seven points in the third to help Drury take a 33-28 lead into the final eight minutes.
 
Early in the fourth, Bond hit a 3 to spark a 7-0 Drury run that made it a 10-point lead, 40-30, when Moorman scored on another feed from Hinkell with 4 minutes, 45 seconds left to play.
 
But Rockport was able to chip away, and it got within five with 2:52 left on a pair of Slingluff free throws.
 
The next time down the court, Bond set up Myles Beauchamp for a triple that pushed the margin back to eight at 46-38.
 
“That was a huge 3,” Racette said. “I think that might have been his first basket of the game. But that’s a shooter, right? When you forget about him, that’s when he gets you. They forgot about him. They were chasing people around and looking for Jorge, and they left him wide open.
 
“You can’t leave [Beauchamp] wide open. He’s going to make them. He’s made some big shots for us this year. And that was a big one. It was five, and [that shot] means it went back to eight, and that makes it a three-possession game, even if they knock down a 3. So that was a huge shot for him for sure.”
 
Beauchamp, who did not have a point until that triple, went on to make some big shots down the stretch to keep it a three-possession game.
 
The junior guard went 6-for-6 at the free throw line from the 1:22 mark to the 41-second mark to give Drury a 54-45 lead.
 
Drury went to the free throw line three more times in the last 22 seconds, and Bond and Moorman combined to go 3-for-6 to keep it a nine-point margin before Rockport hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to provide the final margin.
 
Foul trouble was an issue for the Blue Devils late, and both Hinkell and Dillard ended up fouling out. But Drury’s depth paid off as reserves like James Varrellas and Rommel Alvarez stepped into the fray to provide quality minutes at the end of the game.
 
“James did a great job, and like we talk about at practice and downstairs [in the locker room], he didn’t turn the ball over,” Racette said. “That’s absolutely huge in that situation. … And he defended. They stepped up big.”
 
Now the Blue Devils (15-7) get ready for Round 3 against Hampshire South Division foe Pioneer Valley Regional (17-5), a team that Drury beat in the regular season by scores of 45-42 and 41-33.
 
“I’m not really thrilled we have to go over to play Pioneer, but that’s the bracket we ended up in,” Racette said. “They’ve got a great program. Great coach with Scotty [Thayer].
 
“We’ve got a great league. You look at the league right now, Mahar is still in it, Pioneer is still in it, we’re still in it. That’s pretty good. We’ve been challenged all year with our league. One of us will be representing our league in that Final Four.”
 

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