GREAT BARRINGTON -- Tuesday night's Drury and Monument Mountain girls basketball game was a player and a coach's nightmare.
To say there was no flow or rhythm to the game would be a gross understatement. The two teams combined for 53 fouls, which produced 72 free throws.
"The calls were a little tough, but they were going both ways," Drury's Morgan Lamarre said.
The Blue Devils were the better team converting their free-throw attempts into points in the second half, which earned them a 51-40 come-from-behind victory.
"I thought it was going to be a game of attrition," Drury coach Jay Meehan said. "I was looking down the bench, going ‘we may foul just about everybody out at this point.' "
After a 27-foul first half, he had every right to think that.
Fortunately for the Blue Devils, they were in the better of two bad situations.
The Spartans racked up 15 fouls in the first half, and that only worsened in the second, where they were whistled for 17 infractions.
Drury was also being called for fouls, but at a much slower pace, particularly in the second half.
Monument picked up its seventh foul of the second half with 6:53 to play. Drury was shooting 1-and-1s with 6:28 left. The Blue Devils were in the double bonus with 5:06 to play. Conversely, Drury's seventh foul didn't come until there was 3:08 left.
"We talked about learning how to play with fouls," Meehan said. "They did a great job. I'm proud of them."
Freshman Sarah Lamarre was the only Blue Devil to foul out, but that didn't happen until there were only 36 seconds left. Monument lost two players before that.
Drury's ability to play cleaner on defense -- including in the frontcourt -- allowed the Blue Devils to continue playing aggressively, and that translated into more trips to the foul line.
In the second half, Drury was 20 of 26 from the line. Most of those came in the fourth quarter, in which the Blue Devils were 16 of 19. Monument attempted only seven free throws in the second half, making two of them. For the game, Monument was 12 of 23.
Drury's key fourth-quarter free throws came from Kasha Wissman and Molly Moulton.
Wissman, who made four free throws in the fourth, tied the game 33-33 with 6:53 left. It was the first time Drury had at least a share of the lead since there was 3:10 left in the first quarter. Her other two came with 45 seconds left and extended a three-point Drury lead to five.
Moulton, a sophomore, made sure the Spartans didn't make a last-minute comeback, hitting four consecutive free throws in the final 30 seconds. She had six free throws in the fourth and finished tied with Olivia Carlson for a team-high 10 points. All of Moulton's points came from the foul line.
"I just had to, as a player, compose myself and try to get the lead up," Moulton said of her mindset at the line in the fourth quarter.
Heather Hassett put Monument up 40-38 with 3:08 remaining, but the Blue Devils finished out the game with a 13-0 run, with nine of those points coming from the free-throw line. Her final basket gave her a game-high 11 points, but they were her only points in the second half.
She wasn't the only Spartan struggling to put up points in the final 16 minutes. Monument, which scored 29 in the first half, managed just 11 in the second.
The foul trouble undoubtedly played a big role in that.
Hunter Cormier was the first Spartan to foul out; she departed with 6:28 left. Vanessa Troiano followed Cormier to the bench with 2:51 left, and Lily Cormier received her fifth with 7 seconds remaining.
"It's tough to get into any sort of flow offensively," Monument coach Chris Unsworth said. "We were getting some decent looks at times, but it was just so ugly most of the time. There was just no flow to it. We didn't get a feel for the game."
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