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Recap for the game: Renaissance vs Drury on Mar 01

Bird Boosts Blue Devils in Tourney Win

By Ian Downey Sports
12:05AM / Wednesday, March 02, 2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Junior Hayden Bird scored a career-high 37 points and added nine rebounds to lead the Drury boys basketball team to a 74-71 overtime win over 10th-seeded Renaissance School in the first round of the Western Massachusetts Division 3 tournament on Tuesday night.

Bird scored 10 points to help lead Drury to a 13-12 lead after the first quarter but did most of his damage in the second half and overtime, totaling 25 points while going 12-for-14 from the line. No shot was bigger then his layup with 39 seconds left to tie the game.


For Drury (12-9), Reece Racette scored 15 points and Connor Meehan chipped in with 11 points, including two clutch 3-pointers in the second half. Conner Clark also had eight rebounds to help keep the undersized Blue Devils from getting beat on the boards.


“We rebounded the ball as well as we have,” Drury coach Jack Racette said. “Connor Clark, I can’t say enough about him. His rebounding was huge for us.”


After the strong first quarter, Bird and Drury went cold, and Renaissance caught fire, hitting three second quarter 3-pointers to outscore the Blue Devils 19-7 in the quarter, giving the visitors a 31-20 lead heading into halftime.


“Our game plan was to see if they could shoot it on the road, and they did. We just didn’t score down the other end,” Racette said. ”I thought we could have went into half time down 31-26 but once they started getting their groove going you could see it. They started knocking down more shots and started getting to the basket. But we held tough”


For Renaissance (11-10), Jason Winters led a balanced Phoenix attack with 22 points while Tawana Caldwell added 12 points and Arvon Gordon & JJ Algarin chipped in with 11 apiece.


After the break, both teams came out of the locker room sharp trading baskets for the first five minutes of the thirrd quarter. Freshman Reece Racette scored six of his 15 points in the quarter to help keep Renaissance from running away with it.


Renaissance maintained its double-digit lead until Meehan hit a momentum shifting 3-pointer with 2:48 left to cut the Pheonix lead to 48-41. After a Renaissance turnover Bird converted a layup in transition, cutting the lead to four, 50-46, and giving Drury momentum heading into the fourth.


Renaissance carried a 51-46 lead heading into the fourth behind Winters, who scored 14 of his team-high 22 points in the second half including eight in the fourth quarter.


In the fourth, Drury cut the lead to one, 60-59, with 3:17 left after Bird went 1-of-2 from the line. Renaissance answered and eventually took a 65-59 lead after a Winters basket with 1:52 to play.


Drury crawled back into it after a series of foul shots to cut the lead to 65-63 with 1:13 to play. On the ensuing possession, Renaissance turned over the ball, giving Blue Devils the a chance to tie with 50 seconds left. Drury, as it did all night, got Bird isolated on the wing. He took his defender into the post, spun baseline and laid the ball in tying the game at 65 with 37 seconds left.


Drury had a shot to win it after a steal by Clark, but Bird’s last second shot was off the mark.


In overtime, the teams exchanged baskets until Renaissance took a 69-67 lead after a Caldwell layup. On the next possession Meehan hit the biggest basket of the game when Bird found him open in the corner for a 3-pointer to give Drury its first lead since the first quarter, 70-69.


Drury went on to take a 74-71 lead after a pair of free throws from Bird. Renaissance got a shot to tie it with 3.9 seconds left, but its 3-point attempt was short giving the Blue Devils the win.


“It was the play that we drew up. We got Deon Charles, a great 3-point shooter, a quality look, but it didn’t drop,” Renaissance coach Neal Creeden said. “But we didn’t lose it on that shot. I really got to give it to {Drury} they came out in the second half.”


With the win, Drury moves on to the quarterfinals to play second-seeded Easthampton on the road Friday night at 7 p.m.

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