Recap for the game: Lee vs Drury on Feb 14
Blue Devils Fall Short in Upset Bid Over Lee
By Ryan Holmes
11:21PM / Monday, February 14, 2011
NORTH ADAMS, Mass — The Drury girls' basketball team played one of its best and most inspired games of the season on Monday night, but even that wasn't enough to knock off the defending Division 3 state champion Lee Wildcats.
The Blue Devils rallied from an early 12-point deficit to pull within one point early in the fourth quarter, but Lee made more big shots down the stretch, outscoring the hosts 15-8 to close the game on its way to 46-38 win at Bucky Bullett Gymnasium. The Wildcats improved their record to a perfect 15-0 but not before receiving a healthy scare from a Drury team that lost to them by 26 points just two weeks ago.
Maybe it was the Senior Night excitement or perhaps it was the confidence they received from playing Lee even in the second half of their last game together, but there definitely seemed to be a different bunch of Blue Devils on the court the second time around.
"Before the game, we said we have to believe in each other and that we can do it," senior captain Kelsey Ouimet said. "Tonight really proved that every single one of us played our hearts out. We just have to keep it up through the next two games, so we can get a top seed in the [Western Mass.] tournament."
As good as an effort as Drury (12-6) displayed against one of the best teams in the state, another slow start can be blamed for its second loss of the season to the Wildcats. Just like in the game two weeks ago where they fell behind 13-4 after the first quarter, the Blue Devils again found themselves digging out of an 11-3 deficit after the first eight minutes of the game.
Drury head coach John Franzoni mixed up his defenses up in the first half, using a zone mostly to try and slow down Lee's potent attack. His strategy worked mostly against sophomore Steph Young, who burned the Blue Devils' defense for a career-high 25 points the first time around. Young got into foul trouble early on Monday night and was held without a point in the first half before chipping in with seven points after intermission.
"I thought we executed our game plan," Franzoni said. "We did a great job of withstanding their runs throughout the game. We were trying to change defenses a lot in the first half, but in the second half we went a little more exclusively to box-and-one defense on Young. Danielle [Racette] has done a great job all year of defending the other team's leading scorer, and she did another great job tonight holding her to seven points. Danielle was the main person, but it was a team effort as well. We had good help, we boxed out and we talked about having good ball toughness tonight and limiting them to one shot.
"I thought we did that for the most part, but we played a good game, and they're just a very good team."
Lee proved its poise and experience early in the first half when Young was forced to the bench with two fouls. With point guard Tara Dooley exploring ways to beat Drury's zone defense, the visitors eventually began to settle in, breaking out to leads of 13-3 and 20-12 early on. Sophomore Camryn Biasin did a nice job off of the bench in place of Young, subbing in to score all seven of her points in the first half alone.
"We move too slow and sometimes we're hesitating," Wildcats head coach Gary Wellington said of his team's offense in the first half. "We know where we want to go, but sometimes someone steps out and we hesitate and slow the ball down. We wanted to attack the paint and finally got the ball going into the middle. Cam is stepping in for an injured Alex Young. She's learning and coming through as a sophomore. She's making progress, though, and she's going to help us out."
After a lay in by Dooley put the Wildcats ahead by 12 points midway through the second quarter, Franzoni called a timeout to settle his squad down. The hosts then responded with a 7-0 run to finish the half, highlighted by a fast-break finish by Ouimet, which put the score at 20-15 heading into the locker room. Ouimet had one of her best games of the season overall, scoring a game-high 13 points (seven in the first half) to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds.
After scoring just two points and grabbing no rebounds in the first meeting between the two teams, Franzoni couldn't have asked for a better effort from one of his senior captains on Senior Night.
"I realize that I need to step it up for my team," Ouimet said. "I've been kind of in a slump, so I just need to get back into it. I rebounded because I had to tonight ... and I have to every night. That's just how I have to play every game."
The Blue Devils cut Lee's lead down to three points two separate times in the third quarter but still went into the fourth trailing by five. Ouimet then scored off a putback to start the quarter, while senior classmate Meagan McCarthy followed with a driving lay-up right after. She was fouled on the play, but missed the ensuing free throw that would have tied the game. The Wildcats responded after that, first with a bank shot from sophomore Megan Gaul and then a huge 3-pointer by Eileen Dooley from the right wing. Eileen finished with a team-high 11 points to go along with three rebounds and four steals, while sister Tara finished with 10 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Young then got going at just the wrong time for Drury. She first hit two foul shots after a drive to the basket before scoring off an offensive rebound to push her team's lead to seven points. Tara Dooley then nailed a baseline jumper with just over two minutes to go, and a late 3-pointer by the Devils' Cassie Lincoln came too little, too late with the Devils down by nine. The Wildcats took good control of the ball in the final two minutes of the game, never allowing Drury the chance it needed to pull off the big upset at home.
"I was proud of the way the team competed tonight," Franzoni said. "We had some opportunities and a couple of shots to take the lead, but to their credit they came back and scored five points in a row. Our kids battled back, however, and we didn't back down the whole night. I think this game is the reason why Berkshire County teams are good in the tournament because they play these tough games every night. But we told the kids tonight, 'Don't be satisfied with playing a good team close.'
"We're proud of our effort, but we know we have work to do Friday down at Monument and Monday at Wahconah. Our goal is to get a home game in the tournament so if we're going to do that, we're going to have to go and compete on those two courts the next couple of games."
Ouimet, McCarthy, Lincoln and fellow captain Kendra Hinkell all celebrated their Drury careers before the game with Senior Night festivities. McCarthy ended up with four points and 10 rebounds, while Lincoln chipped in seven points, five rebounds, two steals and one assists in what could be these player's last game on their home court.