AMHERST -- The Drury girls' basketball team has relied on its defense all season long.
Hoosac Valley found a way to break Drury's defense in the third quarter of Saturday's Western Massachusetts division II championship game. Drury's offense kept up for a bit, but then fell silent for more than five minutes. That edge was enough for Hoosac Valley to take advantage, winning its first Western Massachusetts title, 47-35.
"We knew [Hoosac] wanted to push the ball in transition," Drury coach John Franzoni said. "We had a couple of scores in a row where we got beat down the court in transition. There is no excuse for that. It's something we don't do, and I really don't have an explanation for it."
The teams matched each other point for point to open the quarter. Both squads scored more points in the first two minutes of the third than they did in the in each of the first two quarters. Franzoni called a timeout to slow things down with 5:04 to play and Hoosac took advantage. Drury didn't score again until Shannon Garvey hit a shot with 50 seconds to play.
"When we were getting stops in the second quarter we weren't scoring and when we were scoring we weren't getting stops," Franzoni said. "I'm proud of my kids. They battled hard, it wasn't our best day. Give Hoosac the credit, they did a good job and won the game."
The Drury offense also fell silent to close the second quarter. With a five-point lead, the Blue
"We just got real stagnant offensively in the last few minutes of the second quarter," Franzoni said. "We came out and did offensively what we wanted to do. But, we got beat back in transition a couple of times. That's not something that has happened to us all year. You have to give credit to Hoosac, they played hard and made the big plays today."
Hoosac's controlled chaos on defense seemed to cause problems for the Blue Devils all game long. Danielle Racette was covered tightly by Hoosac's Meg Rodowicz. Racette wasn't able to make anything happen offensively. She scored just four points -- all on free throws -- and contributed just three assists. She averaged close to seven assists a game this year.
"The key to our press right now is Megan Rodowicz up front," Hoosac coach Ron Wojcik said. "She is just relentless on the ball. She's tall, she's long and she is just all over it. She tips all the balls."
Rodowicz came away with four steals and teammate Emily Rosse had six on the night.
"They did a good job with pressure," Franzoni said. "That was a spot where not having Morgan [Lamarre] was tough for us. We had an opportunity to attack their pressure and take a lead and we just couldn't do it."
Rosse contributed eight points and had 14 points. Jen Gale had a game-high 16 points.
Garvey led Drury with 10 points. Her fourth-quarter 3-pointer was the only field goal for the Blue Devils in the final frame. Amber Iacuessa had a big not off the bench for Drury, recording eight points.
Lamarre was out with a shoulder injury for the Blue Devils. Drury players were not available following the game for comment.
Drury will lose Racette, Garvey and Tatro to graduation this year.
"I don't think words can describe what Danielle has done in her four year for our program," an emotional Franzoni said. "And what Shannon and Ali have meant to this program. They are special kids. It's been an honor to coach them.
"I couldn't be more proud of our seniors. I'm just sad we won't be practicing tomorrow."
To reach Sam Monroe, email email@example.com. On Twitter: @NAT_DigitalSam.