Recap for the game: Mount Greylock vs Drury on Feb 08
Drury Outlasts Greylock, Snaps Long Losing Streak
By Ryan Holmes
12:01AM / Wednesday, February 09, 2011
NORTH ADAMS, Mass — The Drury boys' basketball team's playoff chances might still be on life support, but at least the Blue Devils still have a heartbeat after earning a 54-47 win over Mount Greylock at Bucky Bullett Gymnasium on Tuesday night.
Jack Racette's squad made things interesting in the fourth quarter, losing a seven-point lead and going down by three only to outscore the Mounties 11-1 to close out the game. The victory was Drury's first since January 6 and broke a long seven-game losing streak in the process. At 6-9, the Blue Devils need to go 4-1 in their last five games in order to qualify for the Western Massachusetts tournament.
Although the odds are stacked against them, the Devils don't plan on going out quietly.
"I definitely think we can [make the tournament]," said senior captain Tyler Benoit, who led Drury with a game-high 20 points and seven rebounds. "We have to play hard and our next games are tough, but we can definitely beat anyone. We just have to keep working hard and hopefully we can get those 10 wins."
To get their first win in over a month, the Blue Devils had to take down a determined Greylock team (4-11) that was playing without three starters. Led by point guard Nate Majumder, the visitors opened up a 12-8 lead after the first quarter of play. Majumder hit two 3-pointers on his way to nine points in the first half and finished with a team-high 15 points for Eric Dean's club.
"He had a great game," Dean said. "He always plays hard and he's playing injured, too, so he's really sucking it up for me. He's a tough kid. I thought I was going to lose him after he took a pretty hard foul in the Hoosac game, but he wants to play and he shows it on the floor."
Early on Majumder traded baskets with Drury point guard Cody Wemette, who scored eight out of his team's first 11 points to open the game. Benoit then got going in the second quarter, scoring seven of his nine first-half points to lead the hosts into the locker room with a narrow 21-20 lead at halftime. Junior forward Max Quinn then came off the bench to spark the Blue Devils in the third quarter, scoring six quick points with some nifty work down in the paint. The Mounties' shooters were hot, however, and players like Avery Cunningham (three treys) and Kyle Byrnes (two triples) were hitting shots from downtown to keep the visitors within three points heading into the fourth quarter. Overall, Greylock sank eight 3-pointers to just three for Drury.
The hosts appeared to be sitting pretty shortly after the final quarter began thanks to a basket from sophomore Nolan Bird (five points, six rebounds, two assists) and a 3-point play by Benoit put the Devils up 42-34. The young and inexperienced Mounties kept coming, though, and went on a 12-1 run to open a three-point lead with just over three minutes left in the game. Cunningham and Eddie Dufur both hit threes during the stretch, while Majumder and Byrnes also hit shots to put one big scare into Drury late in the game.
"This is the kind of basketball I want to coach," Dean said. "Good team play, and looking for the open cut. At the end, we had three sophomores on the floor, and I'll take that. They work hard, they play hard, and I honestly have no complaints."
With their backs against the wall, the Blue Devils, who have already lost five games this season by seven points or less, found a way to respond to Greylock's run. With his team down 46-43, junior guard Joel Giorgi stepped to the foul line and missed both of his free-throw attempts. On the Mounties' next trip up the court, however, Giorgi picked off a pass on the right sideline, dribbled through traffic and found a streaking Benoit, who made a layup while being fouled and converted the 3-point play.
"Our defense was definitely a big part of getting this win tonight," Benoit said. "That was a big play by Joel. He definitely didn't get down on himself. He hustled back, made a good play and then hit me for the and one. The younger guys were definitely getting nervous toward the end, but Cody and I got them together and told them we need to calm down because there's three minutes left and that's plenty of time when we're only down three. We just came back, made our foul shots and won."
After Bird made 1 of 2 foul shots to give Drury a one-point lead, Wemette made another great defensive play, knocking the ball out of Majumder's hands and out of bounds to give the Devils the ball back with just over a minute left to play. Bird then connected with Robert Jutras for a fast-break layup to push the lead to three points and although Greylock's Jason Pilot got a pair of key offensive rebounds in the final minute, he was unable to finish the putback to cut into Drury's lead. Benoit and Giorgi then combined to go 5 of 6 from the foul line to ice the game away.
"We couldn't cash in and a lot of it was inexperience at the end," Dean said. "We called a timeout, and I wanted to the ball to go inside because they had nine fouls on them. They got those open three looks, and they wanted to put up the 3-ball. You can say that now but if it goes in, they're heros and the coach is wrong. Either way, I'm very happy with the effort tonight."
Racette was also happy with the way his team handled itself down the stretch. It's something the Blue Devils will have to keep improving on if they plan on making a run into the postseason this month.
"We got some stops and they missed some shots," Racette said. "They took a lot of threes, so that's a double-edged sword. We got a couple of rebounds that we needed, but again we're not going to blow teams out. We're not that kind of team. Every game is going to be a five, four or three-point game. We're going to have to make foul shots and execute, and we haven't been able to do that in the other games.
"We have five tough ones left, but there should be no reason that we shouldn't be in every game. We're young, and we don't have any varsity experience in tight games. We're not playing with confidence yet. We're going to have to play with confidence if we're going to win some more games."