Drury Steamrolls Over Wahconah

By Robert MangiameleiBerkshires Intern
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass — Good fundamentals and hard-nose defense proved to be an advantage as the Drury Blue Devils demolished the Wahconah Warriors in boys hoops during the Gene Wein Tournament on Thursday night. The final score was 50-27.

Though Wahconah won the tip off, it was Drury's better ball movement and uncontested offensive rebounds that helped the Devils prevail. The game started off slow; midway through the first quarter, the score was only 6-1 in favor of Drury. Tough defense by Drury's Isaiah Pantoja and Joel Giorgi, helped keep the Warriors at bay.

They each had a pair of steals, leading to lay ups or foul shots. And if they didn't get the steal, they surely got their hands on the ball and poked it away for others to fight over control. With them at the forefront, it remained tough for Wahconah's offense to fall into rhythm.

By the second quarter, Wahconah switched to a 2-3 defensive zone. While both teams tried their best to run with the ball and push the offense, neither could maintain momentum. Giorgi showed a lot of aggressiveness on the court and was usually a part of every play, offensively and defensively.

Drury proved it could beat the 2-3 zone and continued to drive hard to the hole through the paint. Wahconah's lack of boxing out led to Drury's 30 total rebounds, many coming on the offensive end, which led to plenty of second chances and field goals for the Blue Devils. Giorgi and Brett Denning led Drury's team with seven boards each. The Warriors had 19 total rebounds.

For Wahconah, things didn't get better. Their leading scorer, Jordan Fiske, who finished the game with eight total points, had to leave the game early in the second quarter because of foul trouble.

Blue Devils starting center, Slayter Aubin, left the game in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle. It looks like he could be out for a few weeks, the team said.

"I think we showed inexperience in some spots but we're going to get better with growth," Blue Devils coach Jack Racette said.

By half time, the score read 26-12, in favor of Drury and they kept their lead in double digits for the remainder of the game. The Blue Devils' man-to-man defense stayed persistent through the first half and they kept going with it in the second half.

Wahconah began the second half with a full-court press. A timeout was called by Wahconah at 2:49 in the third quarter after Drury's Jake Tietgens, knocked down a far three-pointer in front of his bench. By this point, Drury doubled its lead, 38-19. Following this timeout, a three Drury players were fouled underneath their own basket resulting in five quick and easy points before the third quarter ended. It was fouls like these combined with the lack of rebounding that hurt Warriors in the long run.

On the offensive end, Wahconah forced tough shots that hardly fell through. The home crowd at Drury wasn't helping the Warriors through this tough night either and it showed on the agitated faces. Racette used nine out of his 11 players to keep the heavy pace up against the smaller Wahconah team. This consistent rotation by the Blue Devils proved fatal for the Warriors and they struggled to keep up and keep Drury out of the paint. By the end of the third quarter, Drury had a promising lead, 42-23.

The Warriors continued to push the ball up the court but the Blue Devils kept up with them and held Wahconah out of the paint as well. To elude the Warriors 2-3 zone defense, Drury players fed the rock in and out of the paint, weaving the ball until their shots fell or fouls were called. Drury certainly displayed better ball movement and clock control compared to Wahconah.

"We'll come back tomorrow [Friday] against Pittsfield and see how conditioned we really are," Racette added. "But anytime you win is a good time."

CLICK HERE for pictures from the game!
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