Blue Devils Close Out Season with Home Loss to Braves

By Ryan
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Drury honored their 3 seniors before the game.  More Photos

NORTH ADAMS, Mass  —  They say timing is everything, and so Tuesday night must have been the worst time for the Drury boys' basketball team to lose one of its most valuable players. 

With senior point guard Cody Wemette out of the lineup because of the flu, the Blue Devils didn't have their floor leader to match up with a talented Taconic team that had just beaten them by 26 points less than two weeks ago. Jack Racette's team hung around with the Braves for a little while, but a 21-1 run in the second quarter put Drury in a hole it couldn't climb out of the rest of the game. Taconic went up by as much as 24 points at one point before pulling off of the gas in the fourth quarter on its way to a 64-53 win at Bucky Bullett Gymnasium. 

"Without Cody out there, we really struggled," Racette said. "The score doesn't really resemble any way that the game was played. We were just undermanned. In all of our games, when we got in trouble, it was because Cody Wemette wasn't on the floor to handle the pressure, run the offense or just keep people together." 

Tuesday night was supposed to be meant to honor the three Drury seniors in the Class of 2011 but unfortunately for Wemette, his Blue Devil career ended one game too soon. After a fairly even first quarter in which Drury  trailed 11-8, the hosts came out in the second and scored the first four points of the quarter to take their last lead of the game. Wemette's absence was felt the rest of the way as the Devils turned the ball over five possessions in a row. Taconic (13-7), meanwhile, then caught fire on offense, hitting four 3-pointers in the second quarter alone to spark a 21-1 run heading into halftime. The Braves hit seven of their nine triples in the first half, led by three from Corey Decker (12 points) and two from Chris Bush, who scored 10 of his game-high 17 points in the first half. 

"We wanted to try and push the ball and get as many open looks as we could in transition," Taconic head coach Bill Heaphy said. "That starts with our defense, and I thought our defense was pretty good. We forced them into some turnovers, and we capitalized on the other end."

Braves guard Lamar Phillips (15 points) kept the visitors rolling after the break, scoring six of his team's first 10 points in the third quarter to open a 39-15 lead. Drury finally began to settle down on offense after that, though, and finished the game by outscoring Taconic 38-25. Senior forward Tyler Benoit closed out his Blue Devil career by scoring 14 of his game-high 17 points in the second half. Benoit led his team in scoring this year, averaging more than 15 points a game. 

Benoit, who hit three triples on the night, combined with fellow senior Mike Tatro to hit three straight threes late in the fourth quarter, helping Drury close the game out on a 13-1 run. Tatro only scored one basket on the night but did a good job on defense, shadowing Bush, a 1,000-point scorer for the Braves, whenever he was in the game. Junior forward Robert Jutras was the most consistent Blue Devil all game long, scoring 13 points to go along with a game-high eight rebounds. 

The loss in the final game of the season left Drury's record at 7-13, the first time Racette has had a losing mark since taking over the program back in 2005. This year was a much different one for the Blue Devils head coach, who has made it to the Western Mass. semifinals in four out of the five years he's been with the school.

When asked if there was anything he's learned from this season, Racette said, "The kids have to play in the offseason, and I told my guys that it starts with me. Last year was the first year I really didn't do stuff in the offseason with the boys. I always had my son [Justin and his classmates] playing all summer long, but last year I worked with my daughter. I left it up to themselves to do something and obviously they didn't. You could just tell because we were outmanned in every game this year." 

With a little more offseason training and experience, however, Racette feels like has some positive pieces coming back to the team next year. 

"[Alex] Bush and [Nolan] Bird were two sophomores who played a lot of minutes for us this year," Racette said. "I have two more years with them. Tonight they both got six points, but next year they'll be getting 10 and 10. When they're seniors, they'll be getting 16 and 16. If we can get a couple of guys to go along with the 10 and 10, I'm hoping we'll improve. We have no size coming up and there's not a lot of inside game to look forward to down the road, but we'll take the good with the bad and hopefully we'll get better." 

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