The Drury Blue Devils girls basketball team moved two games over .500 Thursday night, topping Lenox 40-30.

Drury (4-2) ran out to an early 8-3 lead behind Kayla McGrath who had a pair of early baskets and three steals in the opening four minutes. Both teams struggled early on to find their shooting legs as the Devils left their homecourt up 16-6 at the half.

The Devils stretched the lead to 30-15 with 7:38 to go in the game. Lenox, though, roared back eventually climbing within two, 30-28, with less than four minutes to play.

Drury coach Ian Downey felt as though the team lost its composure down the stretch and described the overall performance as “Jekyll and Hyde.”

“We got into some foul trouble and it had an adverse affect,” Downey said. “We can’t get back on our own heels. We need to do a better job keeping our composure.”

Downey, in his fifth year as head coach, had anticipated some inconsistency as the team had a nine-day stretch without game action.

Drury’s trademark full-court press showed some holes down the stretch as Lenox guard Tabor Paul’s free throw at 3:58 finished off a 13-0 run which had Drury reeling. Four big free throws by Drury freshman Jacinta Felix, sandwiching a steal by Brooke Bishop, kept the Devils afloat. Bishop added a free throw with 2:32 to go and Felix buried a jumper on the ensuing possession, allowing the Devils some breathing room. Drury rediscovered the suffocating defense it employed early in the game to close out Lenox’s spirited late effort.

Felix, playing in just her fourth varsity game following last year’s abbreviated season, has been thrusted into a starting role but she showed Downey poise down the stretch.

“I was impressed she made the free throws at the end,” he said.

Felix went 7 for 9 from the charity stripe overall. Most importantly, though, were the last four, plus her 15-foot jumper with 1:47 to go to ice the victory. After the game she said playing down the stretch was “a little nerve-racking. I took a deep breath and just did what we do every day in practice, kept it as simple as I could.”

“I give our girls a lot of credit for hanging in there,” Lenox coach Nicole Patella said. “We got back to within two at 32-30 and I’m really proud of our effort. We did a lot of good things.”

McGrath and Felix each finished with 12 points to lead Drury. McGrath chipped in with a team-high nine steals and registered three blocks on the night. Alyssa Russell added eight points including a pair of 3-pointers in a key early run where Drury jumped out to a 14-5 lead.

Lenox, led by Paul’s 10 points, all from the free-throw line, went to 1-4 overall.

After a first quarter in which both teams were unable to find their rhythm offensively, the Devils broke out to a 12-2 run over the first five minutes of the second.

A jumper at the third-quarter buzzer by Lenox’s Kelsey Kirchner brought the Millionaires to within 12 at 27-15.


LENOX (30)

Doyle 0-0-0, Patel 0-0-0, Pignatelli 0-0-0, Fairfield 2-1-5, Paul 0-10-10, NIchols 0-0-0, Kirchner 2-0-4, Upton 0-0-0, Ano 3-0-6, Nicotra 2-0-5. Totals 9-11-30.

DRURY (40)

McGrath 5-2-12, Sarkis 0-0-0, Davis 1-0-3, Houghtaling 1-0-2, Felix 2-7-12, LaCasse 0-0-0, Bishop 2-1-3, Russell 3-0-8, Harnick 0-0-0. Totals 13-10-40.

Lenox 3 3 9 15 — 30

Drury 4 12 11 13 — 40

3-pointers L 1 (Nicotra); D 4 (Russell 2, Davis, Felix).