Phillips Leads Short-Handed Taconic Girls Past Drury

By Kevin Sports
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. - Ahliyah Phillips scored 27 Monday to lead the Taconic girls basketball team to a 58-42 win over Drury.
It wasn’t the best of starts for Taconic (5-4) with too many turnovers and missed shots, but the reigning state champs turned that around quickly after going down 4-0 and no baskets in the first couple minutes.
Taconic started to settle in and work the ball around the press and zone of Drury (7-2). It was able to make two and three passes to unlock the defense and get open looks at the rim. The visitors closed the first quarter up 16-12 and a big factor was offensive rebounds.
“We did a great job getting to the boards,” Taconic coach Matt Mickle said. “Our schedule has helped us play teams that are very aggressive all the time, but it’s helping us get more active on the boards.”
Taconic continued that theme and upped the intensity of defense as well, pushing it to a 5-0 run right at the start of the second quarter. The active hands on defense lead to easy breakouts. Taconic outscored Drury in the second quarter 19-6 and really separated itself from any comeback Drury was going to try. Taconic went into the break up 35-18. 
Both teams came out ready to play in the second half and countered each other well, but that first half deficit made it hard for Drury to get any type of comeback. Taconic weathered the storm in the third quarter and maintained a 17-point cushion. Taconic continued with more of the same in the fourth quarter and saw the game out with the same intensity that got them the big lead.
Maddie Winn finished the game with 14 points and Brenna McNeice added six as Taconic ended a two-game losing skid for Taconic and now will look to build off of this performance for the remainder of the year. 
“We had great intensity tonight,” Mickle said. “It was nice. We were a little short-handed with a couple girls out, we talked about it before the game and the girls knew it and they stepped up.”
Drury coach Ian Downey agreed that Taconic’s intensity was key.
“We couldn’t match the intensity that Taconic played with,” Downey said. “I give a lot of credit to their girls for how they played without Faith [Cross] there. I felt like they knew they needed to step up in her absence, and they did.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed with the outcome, but I told the girls that it’s a long season, and as long as we learn, it’s OK to take one on the chin and move on. We have two huge league games this week, so we need to learn, turn the page and get back on track.”
Drury hosts Belchertown on Thursday.
Taconic will have a quick turnaround as they face Holyoke at home on Tuesday.
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