Monson Girls Top Lee in Sectional Semi-Final
AMHERST, Mass. -- The Monson Mustangs Monday rode a smothering pressure defense and a dominating performance by Sydnie DeVries to a 65-24 win over Lee in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 semi-finals at Curry Hicks Cage.
DeVries finished with 22 points and 18 rebounds for top-seeded Monson (20-2), which moves on to Saturday morning's sectional final against either Ware or Lenox, who played in Monday's other semi-final.
Olivia Chrzan scored 15 and pulled down 11 rebounds as Monson utilized its size and athleticism to full advantage in the win.
"I knew that coming in," Lee coach Rick Puleri said. "I watched a lot of game film, and I thought we might have our hands full. Honestly, Monson played really well tonight.
"You've just got to keep trying to get a body on [DeVries]. She's very active. She's long. She's got long arms. She's a solid player. She's a good player. We tried to take her away early, but they got into transition, and before we knew it, it was 10-, 12-0. Playing from behind against a team like that is tough."
On Monday, Monson scored the game's first 12 points and led 23-3 before fourth-seeded Lee (13-10) got its first field goal of the game.
Monson forced turnovers on seven of Lee's first 10 possessions, including several that came against the Mustangs' full-court press.
DeVries got fouled attempting to put back an offensive rebound in the fifth minute and made one foul shot to give her team a 12-0 lead.
After Lee got free throws from Lydia Simone and Hannah Simmons on back-to-back possessions to get on the booard, Monson ran off the next nine points to go up by 19.
Moments later, it was a 12-point lead when Lena Simone hit a jumper from the elbow for Lee.
But Monson answered with four-point possessions on two of its next three trips -- both started baskets in the post from Olivia Chrzan who was fouled and went to the line and both finished by DeVries on putbacks.
DeVries finished the first half with 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Monson had a 37-11 lead.
Lee gave its fans a lift coming out of the locker room with back-to-back 3-pointers by Lydia Simone and Caroline Maloney to get within 20.
But Monson answered with a 10-0 run to lead, 47-17, going to the fourth.
Caroline Maloney finished with nine points and six rebounds to lead the Wildcats.
Lee graduates just two seniors, Hailey Bartini and Kaden Kelly. And Puleri said that the experience of getting to the CObage will help his younger players down the road.
"Obveiously, experience is valuable in anything," Puleri said. "It should hopefully bode wellfor us now that you kind of know waht to expect, so it's not so new and exciting. I mean, it's always exciting, but it's not so new anymore.
"We'll see. We've got a lot of core players coming back. We're going to miss our two seniors, for sure, with their leadership. But we've got a nice core coming back, so we'll see."
Video: Lena Simone Scores for Lee in Monday’s Western Mass semifinal loss to Monson.