NORTH ADAMS -- Drury outscored Hoosac in a quarter for the first time with an 18-point third quarter. The Blue Devils closed on a 7-2 run, to cut a 12-point lead to seven.
In a matter of about 15 seconds, the Hoosac Valley boys' basketball team took all the momentum away. Corey Puccio hit a 3-pointer and drew a foul while on the floor, keeping the ball in Hoosac's possession. Matt Braman then followed it up with a 3 from the top of the key to push the lead to 13, and the Hurricanes rolled to a 61-49 win.
"We put that in just in practice the other day because we knew we got a big basket against them last time we played them on a screen the screener inside," Hoosac coach Bill Robinson said. "So I knew what he was going to do, he was going to pack everything."
Drury did what Robinson expected them to do, playing right into his new play, but with a little wrinkle at the end. He ran Braman, the first screener, back to the top, and he was wide open.
"I saw an opening and they hit me on a diagonal, great pass," Braman said. "I was wide open, took my time and hit it."
The sequence gave the Hurricanes (7-11, 5-6 North) the breathing room they needed to fight through a defensive lull in the fourth and keep their playoff hopes alive. They need to win their remaining two games and hope Pittsfield doesn't win another. That will tie the two teams for second in the North and give Hoosac a shot in the Western Massachusetts tournament.
"Hanging by a thread reight now," Braman said. "But we're just going to keep winning and doing what we can do."
Drury (6-9, 4-7) needs to win its remaining three games for a spot in the post season. It can still finish .500 with three wins, which guarantees a playoff spot.
"[Saturday] we got to come back, we got to rebound," Drury coach Jack Racette said. "We got to win [Saturday]."
Both team struggled through a poor first half. The score was only 8-7 Hoosac after eight minutes.
Drury made just five field goals and had 12 points at halftime. Hoosac made nine and had 22. It seemed if either team could find a way to score 40 points, it'd certainly win.
Then the Hurricanes modified their pick-and-roll offense, and it worked wonders.
Instead of setting the hard screen, they slipped it and broke for the basket. Time and again the Hurricanes had good looks at the basket. Jake Hall made his only two baskets of the game off the play in back-to-back fashion with less than four minutes to play in the third quarter.
"I know coach Racette was yelling at his guys to not jump, to hang onto it," Robinson said. "It's hard to stop when you run it well. If we don't take a corner on that dribble to draw that [defender], and they push us out, we can't do what we did."
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