Balanced Blue Devils Win Fifth Straight

By Stephen Sports
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Alison Felix had eight assists for the Drury girls basketball team in Monday’s 70-64 win over Mount Everett.
That is not easy to do, but it’s a little easier when you are surrounded with so many teammates who can put the ball in the basket.
“I think that has improved greatly since the beginning of the season,” Felix said “Before, we used to finish kind of so-so. But now we're really finishing on the boards and getting rebounds. And I love relying on my team to finish.”
Felix also scored 16 points, one of three Blue Devils in double figures along with Brooke DiGennaro (team-high 18) and Tessa Zoito (15).
Mount Everett’s Gwendolyn Carpenter scored a game-high 37, but for the second time in three days, Drury (8-9) used a balanced attack to overcome a big night from the Eagles’ star.
“I think that's the biggest improvement we've made: We're not just relying on Brooke [DiGennaro],” Drury coach Ian Downey said. “Alison has had a 20-point game. Hayley Shook has had an 18- and a 19-point game. Tess Zoito has already had a 21-point game. So we really have four people who can legitimately score on any night.
“What's nice is Alison, Hayley and Brooke have been feeding off one another. When one of them is hot, they feed her the ball. That can be something that changes quarter by quarter, half by half or game by game.”
In the second quarter Monday, it was Felix’s turn as she scored eight in the period to help Drury take a 36-30 lead into the locker room.
The Blue Devils erased an 18-12 Mount Everett lead with a 13-2 run that spanned the first and second quarters.
Zoito got things started when she was fouled in the post and sank a pair of free throws to make it a four-point game at the end of the first.
“Their backdoor stuff is what killed us tonight,” Mount Everett coach Scott Rote said. “They killed us on the inside. The first game, they hit eight 3s or something. This game tonight, Zoito and a couple of other girls were slipping underneath on us. We just weren't defending the back side well.”
DiGennaro started the second quarter by converting an assist from Felix, and after the teams traded turnovers, Felix scored on a feed from Shook in transition to tie it. DiGennaro then got a steal out of Drury’s press and scored to make it 20-18, Blue Devils.
After Carpenter put back a rebound to tie the game, Shook knocked down a mid-range jumper from the left wing with a hand in her face, and Cassandra Crosier scored from beyond the arc to put the Blue Devils on top, 25-20, midway through the second.
Drury never surrendered that lead, but the game was never in doubt until the final seconds.
The Devils used a 7-0 run late in the third quarter to take their biggest lead, 55-45, on a basket by Zoito in the post.
But Carpenter hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to get the Eagles (8-7) within seven with eight minutes to play.
And Mount Everett started the fourth quarter without having to deal with DiGennaro after Drury’s leading scorer took a seat with four fouls.
But while the Eagles were able to make it a one-possession game midway through the quarter, the Drury did not let them get over the hump.
“One thing that we've done a really good job of this year is playing a lot of people,” Downey said. “So there's a lot of girls who have gotten a lot of minutes this year against good teams -- whether it's against pressure or running our half-court sets. I feel like girls have been put in that position already in games.
“Brooke doesn't play the whole game. She comes out every quarter. She gets a break every quarter. So at some point every quarter, we have to play without her anyway. ... It wasn't ideal, that's for sure.”
Carpenter scored five straight, and Madison Ullrich (10 points, 15 rebounds) put back an offensive rebound to get Drury’s lead to 59-57. But Felix fed Anna Dix for a basket in the paint, and Shook got a steal at one end and a basket in the other to push the lead back to six points before DiGennaro returned at the three-minute mark.
Mount Everett made one more run, getting within one point on the last of Carpenter’s eight 3-pointers to make it 63-62 with 1:55 on the clock.
But Thomas scored off a pass from Zoito, and, after a DiGennaro steal, Felix found Shook open on the left wing on a baseline inbound play to make it a five-point game with less than a minute on the clock.
A Mount Everett turnover with 28 seconds left meant the Eagles had to start fouling, but they still had three fouls to give to get Drury in the bonus. Finally, they sent Felix to the line with 17.7 seconds left, and she made the front end of a one-and-one.
At the other end, Shook pulled down a rebound, and Zoito ended up on the line with 2 seconds on the clock. She sank both ends of her one-and-one to push the lead to 70-62.
Drury goes to Lenox on Thursday, while Mount Everett hosts Mount Greylock.
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