Blue Devils Erase 11-Point Deficit to Advance in D5 Tournament

By Stephen Sports
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – After the Drury boys basketball team went to the locker room down by 11 points in Friday’s Division 5 State Tournament opener, you’d expect that their coach challenged the Blue Devils to do better.
But they also challenged themselves.
And then Drury answered the call, outscoring Salem Academy, 19-4, in the third quarter en route to a 57-50 win and a berth in next week’s Round of 16.
The sixth-seeded Blue Devils (14-7) move on to host No. 11 Rockport, a 63-48 winner over Neighborhood House on Friday night.
Jorge Bond led Drury’s offense with 18 points, but it was Drury’s defense that made the difference in the pivotal third quarter.
“We knew we were down big,” said Drury’s lone senior, Dante Dillard, who had seven points and seven rebounds. “We didn’t play our best basketball. We knew we had to play better on defense to translate to offense. And we did that.
“Jorge had a couple of big shots, Myles [Beauchamp], Sammy [Moorman], we all did our thing.”
Beahchamp scored 16, and Moorman added 10 in the win.
Drury coach Jack Racette said he did make some defensive adjustments after trailing, 35-24, at half-time. But the tone was set by his players, who knew they had to turn up the heat on the defensive end.
“They challenged each other in the locker room at half-time,” Racette said. “[Salem Academy] shot the ball well. We tried a bunch of zones, and we just said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to buck up, play man-to-man and dig in. We made an adjustment. We put [Connor] Hinkell on a guard.
“I thought we made some decent adjustments, but these guys really talked about it themselves at half-time. They weren’t happy. And they knew we could play better.”
Racette said that the math was obvious after giving up 35 points in 16 minutes of play: Drury scored 70 points just once all season and could not afford another half like that.
The Blue Devils forced six Navigator turnovers in the third quarter after taking the ball away just five times in the first half. And the four-point quarter for Salem Academy allowed Drury to take a four-point lead going to the fourth.
One thing that was working for Drury in the first half on Friday was the 3-point shooting of Bond and Beauchamp, who combined for five in the first two quarters.
That continued after the break, when Bond started the third quarter with a triple to spark a 9-0 Drury run.
Hinkell (six points, eight rebounds, two assists) hit a baseline jumper, and Bond made his only 2-pointer of the night to get the margin down to four and force a Salem Academy timeout just 2 minutes, 31 seconds into the third.
Out of the timeout, Moorman (10 points, six boards scored in the post to make it a one-possession game.
The teams then traded baskets before a Beauchamp triple sparked an 8-0 Drury run to end the quarter. Moorman’s putback with 40 seconds on the clock gave the Blue Devils the lead for good at 40-39, and another 3 from Bond made it a four-point lead going to the fourth.
The run continued into the fourth with Drury scoring the first seven points of the period, the last three on a Bond 3-pointer to make it 50-39, completely flipping the half-time margin with 6:09 left to play in the game.
Bond and Beauchamp finished with five 3-pointers apiece as Drury got more than half its points from behind the arc.
Racette said he knew coming in that 3-point shots would be critical on Friday.
“We knew [Salem Academy] was going to pack that zone, and they didn’t get out of it,” he said. “The only way you get them out of it is to knock down some shots. In the third quarter, and a little bit in the fourth, you could see they started coming out. We had a nice high-and-low from Hinkell to Sammy for a basket. We got a couple of baskets late when they started getting stretched out a little bit.
“We knew we were going to get shots. … I don’t know what we shot percentage wise, but 10 [3-pointers] is a pretty good number.”
Beauchamp, a junior, raised his average to just fewer than 2.5 triples per game. Bond, a ninth-grader, is averaging 2.3 3s per night while leading Drury in scoring with 12.2 points per game.
“He can shoot it,” Racette said of Bond. “He’s a great shooter. And he knows it. He wants to get as many shots off as he can, and he doesn’t back down. That’s from playing in the off-season. He came in shooting it. We’re trying to get him to the next level, getting into the paint for some dump downs. But if you leave him wide open, I like my chances.
“As a freshman, that’s a good performance.”
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