Busy Berkshire Basketball Week at the Cage

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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The last time the Drury girls basketball team went to Curry Hicks Cage, it needed to get past a Berkshire County foe to set up a date with rival Hoosac Valley in the Western Massachusetts Championship game.

On Tuesday, Drury takes on a different Berkshire County opponent, and the winner very well could face Hoosac Valley in Saturday’s title game.


Blue Devils senior Molly Moulton was a freshman in 2013 who swung up from the JV for the team’s run to the finals.


“It was a good experience,” she said of that Cage run. “The first game against Wahconah, it was really good. The crowd was into it.


“We lost in the finals to Hoosac, but you’ve just got to stay together as a team, and you pull through.”


The Blue Devils and Hurricanes are but two of 10 Berkshire County teams playing in the semifinals this week at the University of Massachusetts. At least two are guaranteed to make it through to Championship Saturday.


One of those two will be determined on Monday evening in the first game of the semis.


The Mount Everett and Lee girls will tip off at 4 p.m. in the Division 4 semi-finals. The second-seeded Eagles (17-4) and sixth-seeded Wildcats (13-9) split two games in the regular season. Mount Everett earned a four-point win the first time around; Lee won by seven points in Sheffield on Jan. 8.


Lee comes into Monday night with a four-game winning streak, including two playoff wins. Mount Everett, which had a bye in the first round of the tourney, has gone 11-1 since that loss to Lee.


Monday’s nightcap in the D4 boys features No. 4 Lenox (12-9) against unbeaten Hopkins Academy (21-0). On Jan. 30, Hopkins earned a 71-54 win over the Millionaires.


Tuesday is the busiest night of the week for Berkshire County basketball fans with a triple-header of games involving county teams.


At 4:30, Drury and Mount Greylock will meet in the D3 girls semi-finals. The No. 4 Blue Devils (15-6) got the better of the Mounties in two regular season meetings — in the Gene Wein Tournament finals back in December and in late January in Williamstown.


But it is fair to say no one goes to Amherst this week with more momentum than the Mounties (15-7).


The lowest seeded team still playing in any division — boys or girls — No. 9 Mount Greylock has two road wins under its belt, including Thursday’s upset of top-seed South Hadley.


Mount Greylock has won six games in a row. Drury has won 11 of its last 13 after starting the season 4-4.


Mount Greylock’s boys take the court for the second game on Tuesday. The sixth-seeded Mounties (16-6) upset the tournament’s third seed, Palmer, to earn a date against No. 2 Easthampton (19-2).


The boys from Williamstown may have nearly as much momentum as the girls team as the Mounties carry an eight-game winning streak that includes a four-point win over D2 Taconic, the Berkshire County North champion.


The Eagles, out of the Bi-County League, have played just one Berkshire County team this season. That came in Friday’s quarter-final win over Drury, a team Mount Greylock beat by four in late January.


Tuesday’s finale pits Pittsfield’s girls against Belchertown in a D2 bracket that so far has gone according to form.


The second-seeded Orioles (16-4) had a bye into semis in the six-team field. No. 3 Pittsfield (17-4) earned its trip to the Cage with a 65-35 blowout of Commerce in the quarters.


Belchertown will be coming off a 12-day layoff, but it has 20 days since the Orioles have lost, a 10-point decision to the No. 2 seed in D1, Chicopee Comp.


Wednesday will be Hoosac night in Amherst.


The defending Western Mass champion Hoosac boys and the defending Western Mass champion Hoosac girls will shoot for a return to the sectional title game.


First up, it will be the fifth-seeded Hoosac boys (13-9), who face No. 1 Sabis (15-6) in the D3 boys semis. The Bulldogs earned a five-point win over the Hurricanes in Cheshire on Jan. 5, right before Hoosac went on an 8-1 run that it capped with a postseason-clinching win over D2 Pittsfield.


The second-seeded Hoosac Valley girls (18-5) are scheduled to tip off at about 6 p.m. as the ‘Canes continue their quest for a fourth straight sectional title. Standing in their way is No 3 Hampshire Regional (19-4).


Three years ago, Hoosac went two overtimes on the road to upset then second-seeded Hampshire in the quarter-finals during the Hurricanes’ first of three Western Mass championship runs.


The Western Mass semifinals conclude on Thursday when Central Mass’ Shepherd Hill takes on Pittsfield in D2 boys play.


The fifth-seeded Generals (14-7) will be flying high after knocking off rival Taconic in the quarters. Top-seeded Shepherd Hill (14-6) had a bye in the round of eight.


Two years ago, Shepherd Hill came west and knocked off second-seeded Pittsfield in the quarter-finals en route to a Western Mass title game appearance.


Tickets to each session this week at the Cage are $10 for adults, $7 for students and senior citizens.

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