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Felix Leads Drury Girls in State Tourney Win

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Sports - Print

10:24PM / Friday, March 01, 2024


NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – The Drury girls basketball team Friday played smothering defense in the first half and let its offense catch up in the third quarter of a 54-25 win over Neighborhood House in the first round of the Division 5 State Tournament.
 
The Blue Devils forced 24 first-half turnovers and took a 25-13 lead into the locker room.
 
In the third quarter, Jacinta Felix scored 10 of her team-high 16 points as the Blue Devils ballooned their lead to 26 points.
 
“One of the things as a coach, when you talk to your team, whether at home or on the road, you never know how you’re going to shoot,” Drury coach Ian Downey said. “But defense can’t ever take a night off.
 
“And that was the biggest thing when I looked up at half-time and realized we only gave up 13 points. You can’t be upset with that. Obviously, we left points on the table that could have made it more than [a 12-point lead] at half-time. But I was very happy with our defense.”
 
No. 14 Drury (9-12) advances to Tuesday’s Sweet 16 round game at No. 3 Lenox (19-3), who blew out Smith Academy, 66-10, in their first-round game on Thursday.
 
Previously unbeaten Neighborhood House Charter (19-1) out of Boston made a game of it most of the first half despite its difficulty maintaining possession against the Blue Devils.
 
The Legends trailed by just five, 18-13, with a little more than two minutes left in the second quarter.
 
But Drury scored the last seven points of the half to grab a double-digit lead it never relinquished.
 
First, Delaney Hayden (six points) got to the line and converted one free throw. Then, Elise Daly was fouled putting back an offensive rebound and completed the and-one to make it 22-13.
 
Finally, Lily Mirante set up Ashlyn Hayden for a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the half to send Drury into the locker room on top, 25-13.
 
“My biggest concern coming in was rust because we hadn’t played since Thursday,” Downey said. “I don’t care what you do in practice, it’s different trying to do whatever – break a press, run an offense, play defense against another team. I don’t care whether it’s the 19th seed, the 43rd seed or the one seed, it’s just different in a game.
 
“So I thought that first half, we were just making silly mistakes, turning over the ball over. And that was my message to the team at half-time: Slow down, take care of the ball, and we’ll be fine, and that’s what we did in the second half.”
 
After committing 16 turnovers in the first half, Drury had 10 after the break, including a fourth quarter dominated by its bench.
 
The second half started with a triple by Norah Wood, who went on to score all seven of her points in the period.
 
Back-to-back buckets by Wood made it 34-15 with 3 minutes, 24 seconds on the clock.
 
Then Felix took over, getting to the line four straight times and making all eight of her free throws to stretch the lead to 42-15.
 
Delaney Hayden capped the run with another free throw to give Drury a 28-point lead.
 
In the fourth quarter, Brooke Bishop (seven points, 11 rebounds, five steals) knocked down a 3-pointer before she and the rest of the starters headed to the bench.
 
Drury’s attention now turns to Lenox, a 40-32 winner when the teams met back on Jan. 3.
 
“We’re excited to stay in Berkshire County,” Downey said of Tuesday’s rematch. “Obviously, we played them once. We’ve already played them there. Unfortunately, we only scored one point in the fourth quarter. I think they only scored eight. But it was enough for an eight-point win for them.
 
“They’re a familiar foe. We know what they’re going to do. I’m sure they know what we’re going to do. So I’m excited to face them.”
 

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