Drury Boys Come Together, Hold On Against Taconic

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- The Drury High School boys basketball team scored the game's first nine points and withstood an 8-2 run by Taconic to earn a 68-64 win on Thursday night at Bucky Bullett Gymnasium.
The Blue Devils got 21 points from Kareen Beckett and 14 from Justin Girard. But despite leading throughout, they needed two big free throws from Nick Trombley and a defensive stop in the last nine seconds to earn their fourth straight win.
Behind nine fourth-quarter points by Charles Davis, Taconic outscored Drury by a margin of 28-21 in the fourth and got within one point when Abdiel Cotto scored in the last 20 seconds to make it 65-64.
On Drury's next possession, Trombley was fouled and connected on both ends of a one-and-one with 8.6 seconds on the clock. Then he forced a turnover near midcourt to get the ball back.
Taconic was forced to foul, and Doug Sigsbury made one of two shots with 1.4 seconds left to provide the final margin.
"I've got six seniors," Drury coach Jack Racette said. "So they've played together, they know their rolls, and they're really doing a nice job of staying together.
"We could have easily fell apart. That was the team of last year. We fell apart in those games. Tonight we stuck tough, and the seniors over there got us nice baskets when we needed them."
Sigsbury and Trombley are both seniors, as is Beckett, who scored seven fourth-quarter points, including 3-for-4 shooting at the foul line.
Trombley said years of playing together -- and last year's frustrating 5-17 campaign -- have fueled Drury's 8-1 start this winter.
"We're more experienced," he said. "We have five players who have been playing together throughout the whole summer, and we just know what it takes to win now. We've got to make one final push for our senior year.
"We're sick of losing, honestly, so we've just got to turn it into energy and fuel us."
Drury came out with a lot of energy in the first quarter, taking a 9-0 lead when senior Justin Girard hit a 3-pointer midway through the period on his way to a 14-point night.
Taconic woke up and started trading baskets with its hosts, getting the lead down to 10 points at the end of the first quarter and down to three in the final minute of the first half when Davis set up Treyvon Ringgold to make it 28-25.
But Girard fed Beckett for a 3-pointer to give Drury a six-point margin going into the locker room.
It led by as many as 13 in the second half. Triples by Connor Meehan and Ryan Harrington in the third quarter helped make it an 11-point game with eight minutes left, and Beckett and Girard connected early in the fourth to get the lead to 52-39.
Then, Taconic went on a tear, getting 3s from Izaiya Mestre, Davis and Brett Murphy and 8-for-8 free throw shooting in the fourth quarter to get all the way back to within a point.
Forty-five percent of the game's scoring came in the last eight minutes of play.
"That's the game they want," Racette said. "They got it going really fast, and we started to kind of get into that quick shot, not finishing. We missed a couple of foul shots, and they started getting to the basket.
"They're an athletic team. We knew what we were getting into. When the game gets fast, that's their game. The first half, we did a really good job of not allowing that. In the fourth, they got it going fast, and we didn't execute, but we made big shots when we neeeded to."
Drury will put a four-game winning streak on the line on Friday at Lenox -- the first of seven road games in the Devils' next nine outings.
Taconic (6-5), which had a five-game winning streak going into last Friday's game at Pittsfield, will look to snap a three-game losing streak on Saturday at Northampton.
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