NORTH ADAMS — The Drury boys basketball team puts added emphasis on winning the Gene Wein Tournament every year. With Wein's recent passing, and the Drury girls' Wein Tournament victory last week, the Blue Devils had a chance to give their fans a special holiday treat with a victory.
Monument Mountain made the task difficult for Drury, holding a lead midway through the fourth quarter, but the hosts showed the poise needed to take the lead late, winning 60-53 on Tuesday. Hayden Bird scored 15 points, taking home the tournament MVP.
"Every year I ask for one game, this year I asked for two," Drury coach Jack Racette said, "Mr. Wein just passed this year, and this is the first tournament [since his passing]. I thought we responded and gutted it out."
The Blue Devils (4-0) continued to shoot from long range, even when it seemed as if they were shooting themselves out of the game. Monument's Branden Perry put the Spartans up one with a 3-pointer with less than seven minutes left in the game. Perry added a layup, and the Blue Devils missed 3-pointers on three straight possessions. Bird ended the drought with a free throw, but Perry answered with a jumper with five minutes remaining, putting Monument up four.
From that point on, however, Drury found its range. Ryan Harrington made a trey off an assist from Reece Racette. After a Monument miss, Cristian Montoya made a baseline three-pointer, giving Drury a two-point lead. Perry again answered with a basket, but the Spartans went cold from there. Harrington's second 3-pointer of the quarter put Drury up for good.
"It would help to close out a little better," Monument coach Mike Saporito said of Drury's late-game 3-point shooting. "There were several close-outs where we didn't get our hands up, but they shot the ball well and got hot. ... When you don't close out and give people clear looks, they're going to hit them." Drury made nine 3-pointers, with six coming in the second half.
In the first half, Monument did a good job attacking the basket and staying patient through Drury scoring runs, Connor Meehan hit back-to-back 3's, followed by a Racette layup, putting the host up by five midway through the second quarter. David Riegal answered with a 3-pointer, sparking a 9-0 run. Racette added a three-point play, but Perry's layup gave Monument a three-point lead at halftime. Perry led Monument with 18 points.
Racette's ability to create off the dribble created chances for him at the rim, and the option to dish to open teammates. He had a team-high 18 points.
"We've been talking about it a lot in practice, we're young, we're not experienced yet put we're starting to get it," Racette said. "We've got guys that know what to do every possession. They stayed poised and stay they course, no matter what the score is."
Perry 8-1-18. Newey 0-0-0, Riegal 2-0-6, Prince 3-0-8, Troiano 3-0-7, Piepho 4-0-8, Aberdale 3-0-6. Totals: 23-2-53.
Montoya 2-0-6, Bird 6-3-15, Racette 7-3-18, Meehan 2-3-9, Harrington 3-0-9. Totals: 21-9-60.
3-point goals — MM 5 (Perry 1, Riegal 1, Prince 2, Troiano 1). D 9 (Montoya 2, Racette 1, Meehan 2, Clark 1, Harrington 3)