GREAT BARRINGTON -- Fouls and free throws were to be expected when the Drury and Monument Mountain girls basketball teams met in the first round of the Western Massachusetts Division III tournament on Monday night.
The first two had been foul-happy affairs, with the count holding at 89 entering Monday's game. That number jumped to 144 with the 55 (two technicals) Monday. Much like the first two games, the No. 9 Blue Devils did better to keep their emotions in check, which led them to a 49-39 victory over No. 8 Monument. They play top-seeded Sabis on Thursday for a spot in the semifinals at the Curry Hicks Cage.
"It feels really good. We've been working really hard and we knew we got ourselves a situation and we know we can compete with the teams that we're looking forward to playing," said Emily Moulton (11 points). "I think both of our mentalities were different because we knew we were playing to move forward, but other than that, I feel that, we came in with the same [game plan]."
Both teams came in expecting a physical, grind-it-out type of game -- not because it was the postseason, although that certainly added to it, but because that's what these teams do when they meet.
They had already attempted 114 free throws in the first two meetings, with 72 coming in the first meeting at Monument. The teams nearly matched that, shooting 71 from the line.
Much like the first game, Drury got to the line more and was better from it. Molly Moulton led the way Monday with all 16 of her points coming from the free-throw line (nine in the fourth quarter); she attempted 24. Drury made 30 of 49, compared to Monument's 10-of-22 shooting.
Drury was 33 of 49 in the first game, and Monument was 12 of 23.
"It felt good to have a win under our belts to go into the number one seed," Molly Moulton said. "We knew it was going to be a physical game, so we prepared with fouls hots and just keeping composure."
With all the free throws, it didn't leave too much room for field goals. Drury made only eight, while Monument made 13. For the Spartans, a handful came in transition and in the paint from Heather Hassett, who finished with 13 points before fouling out.
"The things that she does offensively and defensively is just based on what a competitor she is," Monument coach Chris Unsworth said. "At times, our best option was getting the ball to her in the post. A lot of times, she's guarding someone much taller and much heavier than her. But she never stops doing what she's doing."
There were periods of good tempo, but too quickly the fouls returned and the pace slowed. The Spartans took advantage of two such periods to embark on runs that kept them in the game each time.
Monument rattled off seven straight points midway through the second quarter, capped by a Hassett free throw, to cut a 14-4 Drury lead to 14-11 with 3:56 to play before halftime.
Then after Drury scored the next nine between the second and third quarters, the last three coming from Emily Moulton 21 seconds into the third quarter for a 23-11 lead, Monument scored the next eight to cut Drury's lead to 23-19. Vanessa Troiano scored five in that stretch.
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