NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Drury girls basketball team Monday moved on to the Elite Eight with a win over No. 23 seeded Hull, 49-31.
No. 23-seeded Hull was looking to repeat last week's performance with another upset win over a top-10 team in Division 5, and for a brief moment things were looking good.
Hull started out the gates with a 7-2 run thanks to Lucy Peters, who had eight points in the first quarter. That lead would last about three minutes before Drury finally got going itself.
The Blue Devils answered back with a 12-0 of their own with some good shooting from beyond the arc. Five different Drury players scored during their run in the first quarter, and they were able to connect on three 3-pointers.
Alyssa Russell and Kayla McGrath each had 15 points on the night and despite early foul trouble for Jacinta Felix she was able to add in six. It was clear what the game plan was for the Blue Devils and that was getting the ball and going. They were able to get out in transition all game long finding themselves on the easy side of baskets.
“The girls put 32 minutes together and were the harder working team and I’ll take that 10 times out of 10,” Drury coach Ian Downey said. “I thought we executed our game play extremely well. We talked about pushing the ball and getting transition points and running our offense. I thought we pushed the ball very well and got a lot of good looks off our set plays.”
Drury finished the quarter up 17-11 and kept that distance lead all the way till halftime. Hull found it difficult to stay with Drury in the open court, but more importantly in the half court sets. Drury was able to go at Hull with plenty of different looks on the offensive end and it slowly wore them down.
The first two minutes of the first half and the last two minutes is where Hull did most of their damage scoring 12 points in those four minutes alone. Drury did a great job in shutting them off from deep and for the better portion of the half they were successful in holding them to just five points.
“Defensively, we knew who their shooters were, and we didn’t want to give up uncontested 3-pointers,” Downey said. “After they hit the first one at the beginning, I told the girls to start making them drive or at least make them take deeper shots which obviously is tougher to convert on.”
Drury continued with that mentality in the second half beating Hull to loose balls and getting things going again in transition. Just like in the first quarter Drury knocked down three 3-pointers including two of Russell’s five 3-pointers on the night.
Drury extended the lead in third and had a big play from McGrath that got the crowd going after she knocked down a 3-pointer while getting fouled. She finished the four-point play off and Drury cruised into the fourth quarter with a 42-29 lead. Drury held Hull to just two points in the fourth quarter and started to get ready for the state quarter-finals, where they will play either No. 2 seeded Springfield International Charter School, a 52-27 winner over No. 15 Monson on Monday night.
The date for that game is yet to be announced.
While the Blue Devils are moving forward this week, their thoughts were at least partly going back to a different postseason run.
“You don’t typically dedicate wins to people but this one felt pretty good for the soccer team,” Downey said. “If you remember, when the final [state tournament] seeds came out, they got pushed to 17th and instead of having a home game they had to go to Hull, and they got beat up pretty good. This win is for those soccer players who had to make that long trip.”