NORTH ADAMS >> It wasn't a perfect offensive game by the Drury High School girls basketball team, but a strong defensive effort coupled with the timely baskets by senior guard Molly Moulton propelled the fourth-seeded Blue Devils past fifth-seeded Greenfield High School, 47-36, in a Western Mass. Division III quarterfinal game on Thursday.
Drury (15-6) took a commanding 13-point lead in the first quarter and had the chance to really bury the Green Wave (19-2) early, but poor free throw shooting by the Blue Devils (2-of-10 in first half, 11-of-26 for the game) allowed Greenfield to stay in the game.
"What were we, 1-for-100?" joked Drury coach Brian Flagg of the team's free throw shooting.
While the Green Wave was abysmal offensively in the first half, turning the ball over more times than it took shots, Drury also had some offensive lulls that also contributed to the game remaining in reach for the Green Wave.
"Turnovers due to physical play by their defense," Greenfield coach John Hickey said. "Our schedule does not prepare us for a game like this. Next year we will have the same schedule, but our four independents will be teams like this. I'm going to play the South Hadleys, the Mount Greylocks, the Drurys."
Greenfield was never able to capitalize on any of its chances to make a run and close the gap, and part of the reason was the play of Moulton, who came up with big shot after big shot en route to her team-high 11 points. The Green Wave looked like it was going to go into the fourth quarter down seven points (29-22) but the senior sent up a prayer of a hook shot in the lane with 1.4 seconds left, making the basket and drawing the foul, to push the lead to 10 entering the fourth.
Then, when Greenfield cut the deficit to six points (37-31) with three minutes, 25 seconds left in the fourth, the closest the Wave had been since the start of the game, Moulton went coast-to-coast and scored on a drive through the lane. Jenna Moulton then stole the inbounds pass and laid in an and-one, for a five-point Drury swing in three seconds, pushing the lead back to 11. Greenfield never got closer than 8 points the rest of the way, and Molly Moulton went 3-for-4 from the foul line down the stretch to close out the win.
"There's a reason that she is one of only three in Berkshire County to make the Senior All-Star game," Flagg said of his point guard. "She's got it (in her head), and she's got it on the floor. And I told her, 'Where are ya, I need our senior point guard,' and she said, 'OK coach, I got it,' and she took care of it for us."
The first quarter was all Drury. A basket by Greenfield center Molley Duclos one minute into the game tied things at 2-2 for the Green Wave, but that was the last time the visitors were within a half-dozen points, as Drury went on a 13-0 run over a nearly 6-minute span to take a 15-2 lead.
Drury followed that up by going scoreless for nearly six minutes, but the Drury defense was able to limit Greenfield to just six points in that span, and a 3-pointer by Katie Toomey ended the drought and spurred an 8-2 run to end the first half.
The Blue Devils advance to Curry Hicks Cage on the campus of UMass for a semifinal date with Berkshire rival Mount Greylock on a date to be determined.
Katie Toomey and Brooke DiGennaro each scored seven points for the Devils, while Jenna Moulton and Sarah Lamarre tossed in 5 points apiece.
Duclos led the Green Wave with 12 points, 10 of which came in the second half as she battled foul trouble for much of the first half. Raegan Hickey netted 10 points in the loss, and Samantha Smith and Kelsey Roberts (the lone senior for Greenfield) each notched 6 points.
Duclos 6-0-12, Hickey 3-3-10, Smith 3-0-6, Roberts 3-0-6, Ward 1-0-2, Howland 0-0-0, Kennedy 0-0-0, Silk 0-0-0. Totals 16-3-36.
M. Moulton 3-5-11, J. Moulton 2-1-5, Carlson 3-2-8, Toomey 3-0-7, Lamarre 1-2-5, Wissman 1-0-2, DiGennaro 2-1-7, Shook 1-0-2, Crews 0-0-0. Totals: 16-11-47.
3-point goals — G 1 (Hickey). D 5 (DiGennaro 2, Lemarre, Toomey).